Friday, February 03, 2006

Hate Crime in New Bedford

There was a horrific attack at a gay bar the other night in New Bedford, MA. You can read about it at Dan Harper's blog:

The perpetrator is still at large, and three men are seriously wounded, one critically. I was disturbed by a quote that appeared in the AOL article on the attack, wherein a witness says, "I'm not surprised. It was either this or a firebomb through the window."
Read it here, at the very end:

Seems to me that this quote was not essential to the story and only provides more suggestions for violence. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I'm wondering about the comment offered by a representative for the Marriage Equality Coalition of the South Coast, who said, basically, that the denial of the right to marry has given some people the impression that gays are second class citizens (and ostensibly open targets for violent attacks).

I have to say that although I can understand the representative's desire to connect marriage equality with violent hate crimes against gays, I think it was a mistake in this case. Violent homophobia has been with us long before the fight for marriage equality, and it seems somehow out of place and maybe even a bit disingenuous to connect this attack to marriage equality. When someone comes into a bar and machete hacks and shoots gay men, it's not about marriage rights, it's about the right to be alive.

The police found Nazi and anti-Semitic literature in the perpetrator's room. I think if there had been a Jewish bar in New Bedford, he may just as easily decided to commit his acts of violence there. Hatred is hatred. It could be that this guy was motivated by the recent Massachusetts marriage equality battle to start collecting Nazi propaganda, and that the marriage equality issue in the news fanned the flames of his homophobia to psychotic heights, but I tend to doubt it.

All of which leads me to ask, and I'm embarrrassed that I don't know: is there an existing gay rights movement that isn't tied into marriage equality? Are there gay rights organizations, in fact, that aren't working on marriage equality issues? And that don't even support marriage equality? Twenty years or so I remember a level of in-fighting (or perhaps arguing is a better word, or struggling) about the issue among gay groups, but things might have changed a lot by now.

There's an interesting article in this month's Out magazine about the gay male community's single-phobia, which I found particularly interesting (of course). And I would like to officially thank Fran for the gift subscription.


Blogger Jamie Goodwin said...

There are a ton of issues and groups that have to do with gay issues, it seems however that "The Marriage Issue" is the only one getting the news.

Things like housing, equal oppurtuanity, public affection, threats of violence, work harrasment are all still major issues.

For orgainizations the biggest is the HRC (human rights campaign) but every community as some. In my community, one of my favorite is Gray Pride for over 50 GLBT peoples. I am only 31 but I really support their ideas and issues.

Blogger The Emerson Avenger said...

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