Married lesbian couple rescued 40 teenagers from drowning during Utøya shooting

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77 Responses to “Married lesbian couple rescued 40 teenagers from drowning during Utøya shooting”

  1. rdbrewer says:

    So… lesbians really are nice people!

  2. jtegnell says:

    > but perhaps some of those scared or crazy people will have their hearts softened by this incredible example.

    I’m not holding my breath.

    • Gulliver says:

      I’m not holding my breath.

      With respect, some will and some won’t have their hearts softened. Scared and crazy people do not move as one monolithic group. Humanizing those to whom they are opposed chips away the distance people put between themselves and the objects of their scorn. For some it will never matter, but for many such appeals to their conscience wear down their resistance to reevaluate those they’ve blindly dismissed.

  3. HubrisSonic says:

    Lesbian boaters are badasses…

  4. tofagerl says:

    Not that it matters, but I should point out that these people have in no way been given any press in Norway. Not because they’re lesbians, but because noone cares that they’re lesbians. It’s a non-issue.

    Americans are, as always, weird :)

    • dculberson says:

      “these people have in no way been given any press in Norway.”

      That’s sad because they really did do an amazing thing.  Even if the press chooses not to cover their sexual orientation or marriage, certainly their deeds are worthy of press coverage!

      • tofagerl says:

        No, the people who helped have been given attention, just not these specific people. Hundreds of people helped out after the attacks, it’s not feasable to give every single person newspaper coverage. 

    • Raul says:

      Shouldn’t they get press, REGARDLESS of the fact that they’re lesbians? 

      • Gulliver says:

        I think so…at least I’d vote with my eyeballs by reading it anyway.

        But there is another significance to who the rescuers were. Not only does it contravene stupid stereotypes, it also flies squarely in the face of the bile promulgated by the wacko who caused the harm from which they helped save his victims. That’s a pretty powerful juxtaposition that says something not only about how wrong he is or how blind those stereotypes are, but also how much Norway, Europe and humankind can resist being defined by misanthropic ideas.

    • Kelly McCammon says:

      I googled them and Torill has indeed been mentioned in NRK and a couple of local newspapers.

  5. Rob van Ham says:

    “Why does it matter that they’re married?”

    What i was wondering was, why does it matter that they’re lesbian? Why not just say ‘married couple’?

    Anyways, they’re awesome.

    • I hate when people ask “Why does it matter that they are x?” or “Why do they have to be y?”.

      When I tell a story, I would like to include as many details as possible.  The story would be infinitely less human and interesting if it was “Person of Non De-script Race and Origin Save Children.” 

      Isn’t exactly an article I’d read or a story I would want to hear told.  Life is in the details people, get over it.

  6. Chuck says:

    But if you portray homosexuals positively in the media, then the terrorists have already won.

    Uh, wait…

  7. langeslag says:

    Point taken. To be honest, though, I feel that drawing attention to the sexual orientation and/or marital status of the couple is a huge step backwards, since it suggests the appropriateness of it is up for debate at all. Two people showed bravery and laudable humanity in rescuing two score teenagers, that‘s the great news here, as I’m sure you’ll agree. No boinger is of the opinion you are looking to criticise, and taking that opinion to task here awards it far more attention than it deserves. I find it a little shocking to read ‘lesbian couple’ specified in a 2011 headline where orientation and marital status really have no bearing on the real news value of the events, though again your point is entirely valid, and it’s true that bans on gay marriage in certain jurisdictions are ultimately responsible for keeping this debate topical, a situation which you are merely and laudably looking to end.

    TL:DR: you’re entirely right; I just wish we lived in a world in which there was no need to draw attention to these things.

  8. muptup says:

    While I am heartened to hear stories like this I really don’t feel comfortable with people making political points from this horror.

    Reactionary tangential rhetoric is used in terrible ways so often, so even for a good cause personally I think it’s unpleasant.

  9. nageth says:

    Yes, all those stories about various minorities fighting in various horrific wars as evidence of their patriotism should be shunned too because we should completely ignore what is going on lest we hurt societies sensibilities. If we ignore things well enough the people who seek to take away the rights of others will no longer exist.

    I can understand not caring due to exasperation but I do not understand ignoring as a method of teaching. You don’t help the child failing in math by hoping they’ll read a math book and figure it out on their own.

  10. gjk says:

    You go, girls.

  11. I take heart in knowing that we are at that akward phase in society where people are discussing whether or not we need to push this idea anymore. Not too long ago it was HUGE that Ellen “came out” on her show. Then it was HUGE that there was a show with main gay characters, to use another TV example.

    Now there’s shows where it hardly matters. And they aren’t the comedy relief or a stereotypical outrageous feminine gay. Will there be a point in my life where it’s not notewothy? Probably not, i grew up with too much of it being important when I was young to not note it when I find out. But its pretty awesome that I really don’t find it suprising that a black man or woman, or a woman, or really ethinicty is in a position of power on shows. I think the last time I was like “wow” to something like that was when President Palmer on “24″ was black.. and btw, an AWESOME president at that. Now we have a black president. I’mn just saying that this thread is proof that, at least amongst, what i have found to be generally educated and well informed people/commenters on boingboing, that the discussion of whether or not we still need to push lesbians into the public conciousness as normal, even good people, has begun.I think this always starts with the educated people in society with less predjudices brought about by lack of education, and trickles down to effect the values of the society.I’m excited… do you guys think it’s time yet? I dont know, my friends still can’t get married here in California.

    • bruckelsprout says:

      “I think the last time I was like “wow” to something like that was when President Palmer on “24″ was black.. and btw, an AWESOME president at that. Now we have a black president.”
      I think more than race and gender (which I will say are still factors), more shocking characteristics would be: sexual preference, lack of wealth, and non-Christian religious preferences.  If a poor, single, homosexual, Hindu woman got elected president I will mess my pants in shock.

  12. Teller says:

    The act speaks to their individual character and courage – an admirable feat in no need of monkeying. Hetero fireman saves baby from fire.

    • TooGoodToCheck says:

      When was the last time a significant public figure, someone who might be described as a moral leader for millions of people, described hetero firemen as “intrinsically morally evil”

      • Teller says:

        I have no idea what the Pope thinks of hetero firemen. He did say homosexuals were “intrinsically disordered” not “intrinsically morally evil.” Although he quotes some scriptures to say the act of homosexuality, not homosexuals, represents an “intrinsic moral evil.” Either way, he doesn’t condone it. He also said in the same document: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are
        the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment
        deserves condemnation from the church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It
        reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most
        fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of
        each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.”

        Regardless, an act of valor is neither defined by, nor in spite of, one’s sexual preference.

  13. That this is even important (which it clearly is) makes me mad as hell. The humanity of gays, just like the wetness of water, ought not to belong to the realm of opinion. And it should certainly not be necessary to illustrate it with examples (with the added danger of the spin that they are heroes despite being lesbians).

  14. Bevatron Repairman says:

    Says more about their being Finnish than about their being lesbians.  Read a few books on the Winter War and you’ll soon realize that the Finns are incredibly brave when they have absolutely no reason to think they’re going to win.  They’re like the Honey Badger of world politics.

    Also, hurrah for these guys.

    • rbrhood says:

      Oh please. I’m a Finn and I’m quite tired of the myth of the Winter War getting trotted out in this kind of context. The Winter War took place 70 years and three human generations ago. Both of my grandfathers served in that war and that says precisely nothing about my braveness. It was a case of a small nation pulling together and fighting for its survival, and the invader being woefully ill-prepared for that and a fight in the borealic forest in exceptionally harsh weather conditions, despite the much bigger army and bigger number of weapons.

      As for the moral character of the Finns, we, as a nation, did a bunch of less than admirable things during WWII, such as letting Soviet prisoners of war starve to death in prisoner camps during the early stages of the war, invade Soviet territory during the Continuation War, and even ship a small number of Jewish prisoners of war to Nazi Germany (with the knowledge of what was going to happen to them) when Finland was allied with Germany.

      While we are on the topic of adding to the stereotypes, judging by their names Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen are finlandssvensk, i.e. members of the 5 % Swedish-speaking minority in Finland, which seems to collectively bat above the Finnish average in a lot of things (in the Boingboing context the most famous export being Linus Torvalds). I believe the positive effect of living in a tightly-knit, relatively well-educated minority culture that is suffering little or no discrimination has been observed elsewhere in the world, too.

      • Kirsi Loponen says:

        I don’t think they are Finnish at all, otherwise it would certainly have been mentioned in the article, and on the covers of our tabloids. Judging by their names, they are Norwegian or Danish.

        And yes, even if they were Finns, their actions would have nothing to do with the Winter War, just like the “success” of Winter War has little do with us being extraordinarily courageous.

    • kafox9 says:

      They are Norwegian, not Finnish. The hometown newspaper of one of them ran the story about their heroism, so there was some media coverage (in Norwegian): http://mobil.helgeland-arbeiderblad.no/nyheter/article5681862.ece

      There were so many people helping, so many rescuers, so many volunteers risking their own necks. This couple were just two of many.

    • kafox9 says:

      Except that these two ladies are Norwegians, among the many Norwegian civilians in the area helping out – at risk to their own lives – that evening.

  15. I’ll preface what I’m about to say with the following:

    What these two did was nothing short of heroism and I would hope, were I presented with the same set of circumstances, I would react with the same level of selflessness and bravery.

    -

    “This just in: Single heterosexual male rescues kitten from tree.”

    This is the same mentality that causes these types of news articles to pop up all over: 

    ‘First (ethnicity/sexual orientation/age/etc) (gender) to (achievement) in (place)’.

    Apparently we are at a place in the world where we can’t recognize individuals for their deeds alone; we have to categorize and pick apart every aspect of their personal lives in an attempt to find some hidden meaning in their actions.

    Can’t it just be people do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do?

  16. EH says:

    Pam Geller’s head just exploded.

  17. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    *pulls up a chair and waits*
    Don’t mind me, I’m just waiting for the crazies to invent a story how these Lesbians were off on a recruiting trip and refused to rescue anyone who did not convert to being a homo.

    Half of me has hope it won’t happen… but I’m playing the odds.

    They did something amazing, we have seen all types of people take on amazing actions while others stood by.  They are regular people who acted to help others in their time of need, and that is something that should be in everyones hearts.

    Hopefully their story being covered more will raise a little questioning voice in the back of the heads of people who refuse to think outside of what their “leaders” tell them to think.  Actions should speak louder than words, what do these actions say compared to what your leaders say they are?

  18. There’s nothing wrong with the writer wanting to shine a positive light on this heroic couple based on their being gay and married. But perchance were they both lefthanded as well? Certain jurisdictions associate that trait with deviant behavior and wish it expunged from society. It may seem base of me to compare one’s sexual orientation to the hand one writes with, but my point is to me they’re both meaningless. A hero is a hero.

    • TooGoodToCheck says:

      If left handed people are treated as well as gay people, then you either live in one hell of a gay-tolerant neighbourhood, in a country which has granted a lot of rights that are not yet ubiquitous in the US, or you’re living in some complete hellhole where the word “sinister” can still start a fight.

    • Gulliver says:

      I think the point is that this is an overwhelming object lesson that presents mad/terrified people with the fact that the ability to act morally and even heroically is not tied to sexual orientation. If lots of people still believed the left-handed nonsense, that would be worth illustrating too. The article isn’t saying married lesbians can be heroes so much as its pointing out an extraordinary example of the fact that morality and heroism have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

  19. Vnend says:

    The fact that they are married and lesbians is headlined because the English language source of the story chose to take the original Finnish paper’s story and cast it in that light.  The original source’s headline translates, more or less as “These heroes saved a couple of score campers”.  Their orientation and marital status may (or may not) have been part of the original story (I don’t read Finnish).

    • Lauri Alanko says:

      The original story in Helsingin Sanomat didn’t say anything at all about their orientation. Also, these people are not “from Finland”. A Finnish paper just happened to write a story about them.

  20. methystic says:

    what exactly is the rationale for stipulating the sexual preference of a married couple in such a post! It has just as much impact when saying “Married couple…” thought Boingboing was a bit more forward thinking then general news sources!

  21. Jack says:

    If the rescuer had been one lone fisherman on the island, with his wife a thousand miles away, you would STILL know by the end of the story:

    a) if he was married, and
    b) how many kids he had

    ” … a married father of three …”

    You’re going to pretend that that doesn’t sound familiar?

  22. I prefer the term ‘hero’ for this kind of person, and leaving ‘heroine’ for the helpless damsels. Which these two are not.

  23. JohnBerry says:

    I wonder if it had been a camp with anti-gay beliefs if people would have refused the ride to safety?

    • AnthonyC says:

      My grandpa used to say there are no atheists in a foxhole. I wonder what it says about that tate of modern religion if some believers whose creeds support such discrimination take the opposite approach of “Screw you, $deity, I’m going with them.”

  24. Rich Keller says:

    Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen are amazingly awesome for going back four times while under fire. People get medals for this kind of thing during wars. I’m sure there were many equally courageous acts done by others that I’ll never learn about. As to their orientation, I think people are focusing on it because they’re part of an oppressed minority in so many parts of the world. I don’t think that they were thinking of that when they were saving lives, though.

  25. Karen Sylte says:

    It has been my experience that in fact there are many people who are not supportive of GLBT rights who change their minds when confronted with enough evidence that GLBT people are just PEOPLE, and that many of them are good and fine people.  A news story alone won’t change someone’s mind but it might be another ounce of evidence to add to the pile, you know?  Usually what changes peoples’ minds is meeting their GLBT neighbors and discovering they like them.  It is harder to deny rights to the nice ladies next door who snow-blow your sidewalks all winter than it is to deny rights to some mythical, evil, queer person.

  26. snagglepuss says:

    Glenn (“Pigfucker”) Beck says something hateful and ignorant about those brave dames in 3…2…

  27. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Oh, look. A thread full of heterosexual males trying to get somebody to stop talking about people being gay. That’s novel.

    Once again, the fact that GLBT people around the world are second class citizens, from not being able to marry in California to being threatened with the death penalty in Uganda, doesn’t seep into your privileged little brains. You don’t have to deal with it, so it doesn’t exist.

    Fact: You’re the problem.

    • bruckelsprout says:

      I don’t necessarily agree with the sentiment here in this thread – and mostly I agree with the bottom paragraph of the article on why it’s important to highlight their homosexual marriage in this context.

      However, I can see the logic process in most of the posts in this thread: If you single them out as lesbians (even good ones) and make that an issue, you’re bringing your argument down to the level of those who would marginalize the LGBT community.  You’ve chosen to fight their fight on their terms simply by participating and defending against their attacks.

      I don’t agree with that – I don’t see how things can change if we take a passive role.  People on the side of dehumanizing the LGBT community are taking a very active stance on these issues, and ignoring them would only allow them to trample over everyone.

      But that was a way-harsh reaction to these posts… posts that were essentially agreeing with their rights, humanity and heroism.  Just in a different way.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        But that was a way-harsh reaction to these posts… posts that were essentially agreeing with their rights, humanity and heroism. Just in a different way.

        Except that every time the subject comes up, there’s an avalanche of comments about how they don’t want to hear about the gay. If we shut up every time that straight people said that, we would never have won any rights in the first place.

        There is nothing in the least bit helpful or positive about saying, “I’ll allow you to be the way you are but please don’t mention it to me.” The heterosexual firefighter comparison is a typical attempt to derail the discussion. If Dick and Jane Smith had rescued somebody from a fire, you can bet that the media would refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. So why is this different?

        • Teller says:

          Well, if it said Married Couple Saves Lives and it had a picture of the two women, isn’t that really what the goal is?

        • MachineElf says:

          At @Antinous_Moderator:disqus – I think you’re mischaracterising the main argument here. Most people are fine with the media referring to them as lesbian, or a female couple, or whatever. I think what people are taking issue is with making that the headline of the story: “Married lesbian couple rescued 40 teenagers”. Not because any of those people might have an issue with them being lesbian, but because it lowers the debate to the level of the other side, trying to points score by making an issue bigger than the actual headline that should be written (“couple saves 40 people!”).

          As is often the case, more positive impact may come from gently surprising people rather than ramming a point down their throat. Anybody reading the story *for the sake of it simply being an amazing story of heroism* would then find out within the story that these two wonderful people are also, as it happens, gay. That may just offer more of a ‘teachable moment’ than waving flags and blowing trumpets in people’s faces…

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            If the headline says “Couple rescued 40 teenagers”, then everyone assumes that it’s a straight couple. And they’re unlikely to be surprised to discover that they’re lesbians because people mostly don’t get beyond reading headlines.

            Waving flags and blowing trumpets in people’s faces is the only reason that this subject is even permissible today.

          • Kirsi Loponen says:

            The headline says “Hero couple rescued 40 teenagers”. It starts with “Hege Dalen and her partner Toril Hansen”, and later addresses them as a ‘couple’. We don’t have don’t have gender specific pronouns in Finnish, so the readers are to make the connection to lesbians by the photo or by recognising their names as females. Luckily it’s quite obvious from the picture that they are women.

  28. Had a conversation with a friend about this story recently.  My POV was that putting their sexual orientation in the headline was demeaning, like saying “look, lesbians did something right for a change”.  His was that lesbians get such a bad press that any positive news with a GLBT slant should be pushed for all it’s worth.

    I’m not sure either of us has a clear-cut case.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If they were a straight married couple, do you think that there’s the slightest possibility that you wouldn’t know that after reading an article about what they did?

  29. @Andy Pixel:

    By now a blackened, sooty, homosexual figure, Lassally set the Widmans
    down a safe distance from the house just as firefighters were arriving,
    and he collapsed on the lawn, exhausted and gay.

    ROFL

  30. travtastic says:

    Apparently the fastest way to achieve full rights for LGBT peoples is to pretend that they don’t exist.

  31. Gulliver says:

    If I was a member of a group that was routinely trampled on and for whom basic liberties of free association were the exception, not the rule, even in liberal democracies – and that was a step up from committing members to prisons or asylums – I would find the argument that pointing out membership in that group while discussing good deeds is somehow demeaning to be pretty pretzeled logic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljjkO5rZNcI&feature=related

  32. Whoa, I am a gay man living in the current gay marriage frenzy capital of the world, NYC. You know how I read it? I have more heroes that I have something in common with. Positive visibility increases acceptance. It lets other GLBT know they are not alone. I would love to live in a world where it is OK for all gays to be out, but instead I live in a city where it is better. Let the world know we have everyday HEROES! These women ROCK!

  33. Repurposed says:

    I understand the opposition to gay marriage derives from the fear that they will gain Wonder Twin-esque powers. This story just reinforces that they can turn into water once their powers are activated by wedding rings.

  34. GrrrlRomeo says:

    As a lesbian, I get very happy when I read about lesbians doing good things. I read a lot about how people think gay people suck and do not have anything to contribute to society (especially in my small town local news paper) and this is my antidote.

    So thank you for this nice BoingBoing post. I appreciate it.

  35. GrrrlRomeo says:

    By the way, pretty much the same reaction on the Rachel Maddow blog with straight people insisting that it need not be mentioned that gay people are gay. So it’s not just here. It’s very annoying.

    Like hell, if my sexual orientation really did not matter, then I should be able to get married.

    (And folks, if numerous gay people tell you something you THINK is supportive is actually annoying, you should probably heed it.)

  36. knoxblox says:

    It strikes me that one way the couple’s sexual orientation could have been newsworthy is if 28 of those kids happened to be Michelle Bachmann’s.

    On second thought, nah. She’d never let them succumb to indoctrination.

  37. francoisroux says:

    They SAILED the boat…lol

  38. Jonas says:

    What they did surely is worth press. For most people, the fact that they are lesbian possibly is irrelevant and in this case I don’t see why it is a problem to mention it.

    For those people who care about it, I think we can say that they probably have a problem with homosexuality. And in this case, they would have cared as well if the mad guy who killed all these people had been gay. Then I think it is not that bad to make them realize that all homosexual people are not the same, and are not fundamentally evil. 

    I mean that racist people would write that a black guy killed somebody, and would not mention the skin color if it was a white guy. Another racist people would notice that it was a black people in the first case, and would not think about it in the second. As a result, he could think that black people often create problems. Mentioning that a black people made something really good can “balance” this a bit, and make the racist people realize that good or evil is not dependent of the skin color.

    We’re not saying here that homosexual people are better. And if they were totally accepted in our society I would think it is weird to mention that they are homosexual, just as if we mentioned that they are white people.

  39. loroferoz says:

    I am not homosexual, and call me a reverse discriminator. But I feel more at ease about safety and civility around lesbians and gays. They do tend not to be religious fanatics, racists, xenophobes, hooligans or thugs.

    The only problem being that they might “hit” on me. But no! Be polite and they will be nice even about your turning them down.

  40. Onot Achance says:

    Those were some seriously brave actions.  I salute you ladies.

  41. Valkyrie607 says:

    Moderator, your comments are right on. What is going to be served by pretending that we don’t notice that these are two women who are married instead of a man and a woman? The only people who will gain from that course of action are the bigots who would have us pretend that gay people don’t exist, or, if they do, it’s solely according to THEIR (immoral, depraved, etc.) definition.

    In other words, folks, I don’t care if you mean well or not. The FACT is that by calling for the media to STFU about the gayness of a couple of incidental heroes, you ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. So stop it.

  42. Valkyrie607 says:

    “Not because any of those people might have an issue with them being
    lesbian, but because it lowers the debate to the level of the other
    side, trying to points score by making an issue bigger than the actual
    headline that should be written (“couple saves 40 people!”).”

    Hear that people? Noting that a couple of people who are generally treated as second-class citizens in most countries, who are member of a discriminated minority, have performed some admirable heroics and saved many lives, is “LOWERING” the “DEBATE.” (Seriously, what debate?)

    Apparently talking about a couple saving lives is a HIGHER sort of conversation, but noting that a lesbian couple saved many lives is LOWERING the conversation.

    This comment further demonstrates how correct Antiochus Moderator’s comments on the subject are.

  43. bruckelsprout says:

    If it’s not important to mention that they’re lesbians and married, then it would not be important to even mention that they were a couple or where they were from.  I completely neutral headline wouldn’t read “Couple Saves 40 People” and would read more like “Good Samaritans Save 40 During Utøya Shooting.”
    On the current topic at hand, though, the outrage is here is getting really thick.  Personally, I think people are misreading each other.
    (Below are simply opinions – mine.)
    1-What the people in this thread who are saying “don’t put ‘lesbian’ in the headline” are saying is NOT “be quiet, I don’t want to hear about homosexuals.”  What they’re saying is “If we’re trying to treat each other as equals, then it shouldn’t matter to us if they’re lesbians or not, just that they’re good people.”  Being a LGBT is a facet of a human being, not the human’s entire identity.  By having their sexuality in the headline, it frames the story as having their sexuality be the story, rather than their actions being the story.

    2-Their sexuality IS the story in this case, because as it is stated in the bottom paragraph – many people in this world consider homosexuals to be of a substandard moral character.  This shows that, not only can homosexuals be moral, but they can go above and beyond that and be heroes.  These women were brave and selfless, and most importantly, they acted while I’m sure many others were content to stand on the sidelines and be worried.

    3-It would be nice if we could get to the days when it does not matter to point out that people are LGBT, and we can just appreciate their accomplishments and their character as their whole selves.  But we’re not there yet.  So the idea of “the most equal thing to do would be to not mention it because it doesn’t matter” is only valid to people on an individual basis.  As a world-wide cultural issue, there are many many equal rights that homosexuals do not enjoy, as well as many active discriminations (up to and including state endorsed executions.)  It would be like if Jane Doe gets elected president of the United States, the headlines will read “Jane Doe Elected First Woman US President” even though a better headline would be “Jane Doe Elected US President.”  We’re just not there, even though many of us would like to be.

    4-Telling people they are not helping, or you don’t want their help, don’t want their input, or they’re part of the problem just shuts down lines of communication.  It doesn’t matter that some of the people with opinions are heterosexual males.  Many heterosexuals support gay rights.  Many white people support the rights of non-whites.  Many men support the rights of women.  And many people in Poland support the rights of Chinese people.  You don’t have to be a member to have an opinion.  I am a heterosexual mixed race male, and I whole heartedly support LGBT rights (against the fact that I live in an anti-homosexual household in an anti-homosexual community – this last election I was handed a piece of paper listing all the ways I was to vote when I went to the polls – needless to say, I was told to vote down gay marriage even though I did not.)  I have a very close, very dear homosexual male friend in his 40s, that I think is a very good person and he is adamantly opposed to gay marriage.  We can’t draw the lines across stereotypes and characteristics.  And the least we can do is not tell each other our opinions don’t matter and our help isn’t wanted.

    Sorry for the novel, people.

    • Gulliver says:

      That was excellent and thorough, bruckelsprout. Thank you for taking the time to express an opinion on each position in this thread. It was an eloquent novel :)

      I agree that the dissenting commenters here – and I can’t speak to the thread GrrrlRomeo mentioned on the Rachel Maddow blog as I haven’t read the comments there – were not expressing annoyance at LGBT publicity, but rather at the idea that there is a need to defend the morality of LGBT people.

      I also agree that they are wrong, and that there is a need just as there is a need to defend the humanity of all oppressed peoples, and to wave flags and blow trumpets whether one is among the oppressed or not. But I do not assume their input was given in bad faith and I respectfully disagree with Antinous that they are the problem. At the same time, I can understand why the initial reaction of many LGBT commenters would be to perceive them as trying to shoo the issue back into the closet, given that that is an all too common reaction in societies online and off.

      It is better to have open discussion than not.

  44. steev says:

    Believing homosexuality is morally wrong does not mean they can do no good.  That conclusion is ridiculous. 

    • GrrrlRomeo says:

      Steev, it may be a ridiculous conclusion (as is the conclusion that homosexuality is immoral), but historically homosexuality was defined as pathological. In some countries it still is considered pathological. In some right-wing American groups it’s still argued that homosexuality is pathological. 

      Many people who oppose homosexuality do so because they believe homosexuality corrupts a person and turns them into monsters, or at least criminally insane. If you think I’m being hyperbolic, you should check the arguments in countries where they execute gay people, and look at the history of the UK or the US when homosexuality was criminalized.

  45. Valkyrie607 says:

    Even well-intentioned calls for silence are still calls for silence. The negative effects of silencing outweigh the good intentions people may have in expressing their discomfort at seeing a couple described as lesbian as well as married. If they are truly well-intentioned, then now they know that asking people to NOT pay attention when LGBT folks are in the news in a positive way isn’t helping, and can modify their behavior accordingly.

  46. Ivan Herndon says:

    “those who object to it say that gay marriage is associated with low moral character and a general erosion of public ethics”

    If you ask me, it’s the exact opposite. Gay and lesbian couples have morals and ethics, while those who have multiple partners are the ones without those qualities. But, the same would be true of straight people too.

  47. This would not matter anywhere in Europe.
    It matters here because so many Americans NEED TO BE TAUGHT!

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