As abrupt and nasty as those words sound, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is delivering that exact message to same-sex couples who want to marry.
A Casey spokesman said in a pitiable statement yesterday – in response to my inquiry as to why our powerful Pennsylvania senator opposes marriage equality – that Casey has supported civil unions and will be watching carefully the proceedings as U.S. Supreme Court justices decide whether to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states and allow federal benefits for legally married same sex couples.
Dancing around the issue continues to trivialize the continuing fight for civil rights and hurts countless people who are otherwise good citizens in good standing in America.
Some states put more restrictions on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people than others. Pennsylvania, for example, allows gay couples to adopt children. Ohio does not. New York allows gay couples to legally marry. Pennsylvania does not.
When it comes to consistency, the United States is a confederacy of dunces where “Stonewall” Casey and his socially awkward colleagues in oppression tell us that, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Be gay – just not too gay.
In many ways, bigotry is the Northeastern Pennsylvania norm, a tribal custom where gay people join women as one of the last acceptable targets of allowable discrimination.
Come to think of it, some Jews in our community likely still feel the coal field sting. Ethnic slurs have not disappeared, either. Coloreds also know the feeling.
How’s that word sound, by the way?
People who mean well still call my radio show and call African-Americans “coloreds.” Benevolent racism rules and they truly don’t understand why complimenting “the nice colored fellow at work” solidifies the simple ignorance that allows the wall to climb higher rather than being torn down.
Some people around here also see no problem calling mixed race people mulatto – as in “The president has done all right for a mulatto.”
And, in many ways, Democrat Casey is to blame. As one of two senior senator role models in Pennsylvania, he helps set the standard high or low. That’s why his continued tuxedoed presence at the annual segregationist Lackawanna County Friendly Sons of St. Patrick dinner shows the world that 1,200 smiling men can’t be wrong when it comes to barring certain people from certain places where the elite gather to crow (Jim?) and congratulate each other on their success.
After more than 100 years of dinners, except for servers (waitresses, as the lads call them) women - even female political candidates - are still banned from the gala event. Yet Casey’s cold Irish eyes keep smiling even though they’re blind to the harm he does by continuing to support such blatant discrimination.
The same goes for Democrat rookie Congressman Matt Cartwright. Although he says he supports marriage equality, he attended not one but three male-only St. Patrick’s Day dinners this year. That means a nice gay couple of kiss-me-I’m-Irish gay men can show up and maybe even share a table with our “liberal” congressman but a couple of lesbians right off the boat are banned the way their ancestors were banned in America with “No Irish Need Apply” or “Irish And Dogs Keep Out” signs hanging on doors where jobs and hope for the future was offered to others.
Like scarlet fever, discrimination is catching and can be deadly. The legacy of Matthew Shepard and others who felt the fatal blows of bigotry turned to hatred gone wild cries out for justice thus far denied.
Casey and Cartwright will no doubt reject my analysis of the damage they do to some of the people they represent in this supposed land of the free.
But, maybe, just maybe, somebody each man loves will one day come their way and ask why they persist in helping to deprive good people the unalienable rights guaranteed under the banner of decency under which honorable leaders march.
I hope it is not too late for Casey and Cartwright. I hope they never lose the love of a friend or relative they coldly and cavalierly turn away. I hope love one day turns to respect and respect turns to liberty and justice for all. I hope that maybe we will one day hear strong, loving words coming from their hearts that will truly help take America to the next level of power.
We love you. We care for you. We accept you. We respect you - equally.