The “Civilities” column written by gay “Mr. Manners” Steven Petrow in The Washington Post carried another uncivil attack in Tuesday’s paper. Petrow devoted his “advice” column to celebrating the Supreme Court gay-marriage mandate and how the opponents aren’t reacting well: “many of these folks are afraid of what they don’t fully understand. We — LGBT individuals and our allies — are the ambassadors for acceptance.”
But then Petrow and the Post promoted the idea that “some nut will walk into an LGBT center with a gun and mow people down just because.” That’s funny: in real life, it was Floyd Corkins the LGBT center volunteer who walked into the Family Research Council in 2012 with a gun to mow down conservative Christians and rub their dead faces with Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Here’s what the Post had the audacity to publish:
Q: The Supreme Court said I’m normal, and that’s priceless. But I know we haven’t won the battle of public opinion, and I live in fear that some nut will walk into an LGBT center with a gun and mow people down just because. Are you worried about a backlash?
A [Petrow]: Actually, we have won the battle of public opinion: A June 2015 Pew survey reported that 57 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, with 39 percent opposed.
Am I worried about a backlash? Yes — and in fact it began in advance of the court’s ruling. Michelangelo Signorile has documented well the rise of anti-LGBT hate crimes and violence in his recent book, It’s Not Over. And the efforts to pass “religious freedom” laws and legislation that allows magistrates to opt out of marrying same-sex couples are a direct response to our recent achievements.
After the horror in Charleston, S.C., a few weeks ago, I understand where your question is coming from, which is why it’s crucial to pass a federal anti-LGBT hate crimes law soon. We also need to continue to connect the dots between hateful language, bullying and violence.
Let’s never forget Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard and the many others whose names we don’t know who were killed or maimed in this struggle. Please, let’s not add more names to this list of martyrs.