Christianity Today: In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level? (Pretty much the same question that put Miss California on the national hot seat. Watch out Joe!)
Joe the Plumber: At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary--it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do--what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. (And he fumbles. Golden Joe down for the count.)
I have a fundamental problem with godly sorts who hold up the dictionary as if it's the Bible and insist there's nothing wrong with calling someone queer. (I have an equal problem with religious publications that print interviews of this sort and promote it as spiritually relevant.) Honky, on the other hand, a word that I bet wasn't on anyone's mental list, makes Joe the Plumber righteously indignant. Really? Honky?
Now, I've heard many slanderous things shouted in the heat of the moment, from the playground to the locker room to the gay bar (that's right, sissy queers can sling hash with the best of them.) But never in my whole life, have I heard anyone use honky, with the exception of television characters on Norman Lear sitcoms. And even if someone were to let that pearl drop, would it hurt me to my cracker core? Probably not. I imagine I would be stunned by its impotence.
Joe the Plumber says queer isn't a slur. So, I guess I shouldn't take it personally when it's hurled at me with relish and ferocity. And even though my dictionary adds that queer is offensive slang, he might be on to something. From now on whenever someone yells queer or faggot or cocksucker (words that probably were on your mental list), I will not accept it as invective. But rather as a subtle caress. A chuck on the cheek. A butterfly kiss of affection for my homoness.
Now, America, you may not embrace all of us behind the lavender curtain. However, with Maine and Vermont and even Midwestern I-o-way jumping on the gay marriage band wagon, there are certain hard facts that you must face. The momentum behind opposite opposite marriage is undeniable and stopping it is as futile as stopping women's rights, the black vote, or Pam Anderson's next sexcapade.
Look at the backlash that's occurred to those who have recently spoken out against. Now, I'm sure both Miss California and Joe the Plumber have some lovely honky qualities, you probably would want to invite them over for a barbecue, but someone should have taught them not to reach into a heated political oven with only a dictionary, spay on tan and the rules of their church to protect them. Let's face it, gay marriage bashing is just not cool right now.
A quick shout out to Joe the Plumber's friends who are actually homosexual...that is, if you really exist. I am a parent. My children are surrounded by people of all ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, political stances. And I'm teaching them that being a friend is an all or nothing, total acceptance kind of pact. (There may be disagreements, but acceptance and respect are key.) If Joe the Plumber doesn't respect you enough to have you "anywhere near" his children, thus putting you on the same footing with murderers, lepers and pharmaceutical CEOs, then I think it's high time to rethink your actual friendship.
The documents our forefathers wrote apply to all Americans, not just those we tolerate. I'm not saying this is easy for the collective US, but I feel it's on par with electing our first African American president. You may not like his policies, but don't we all share some pride that our country, with it's turbulent history has opened the door, even if it's just a little, to allow the next chapters to be written?
Okay, we've marinated enough. Rip up those mental lists, throw them away and read the following from the Declaration of Independence...
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.