Yesterday, Jenna over at Camp Bitchalot asked an important question in response to the political button you see here (I’m Straight Not Narrow): “How come straight people who support gay rights often feel the need to say that they’re straight as a precursor before talking about gay rights?”
There’s an attempt by extremists on the right to claim to speak for heterosexual America – but the truth is that they don’t. They speak for a part of heterosexual America, a shrinking part.
It’s important for people in the constituency that they claim as their own to contradict them, especially on the issue of marriage equality. The right wing argues that same sex marriage will destroy heterosexual marriage. When heterosexual married couples point out that it’s no skin off their noses if gays and lesbians marry, it strongly undermines the right wing’s arguments.
Let me put this in the context of another issue. I’m a non-Christian, and I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. I’m extremely concerned about the many ways in which Christianity has insinuated itself into federal, state and local government. However, I also know that the majority of Americans are Christian, of one sort or another. Therefore, I welcome it when I see a message like “Christians for Separation of Church and State”, because that message contradicts the assumption that the Religious Right depends upon, which is that all Christians are pro-theocracy.
It’s not that it’s necessary for a straight person to declare being straight before supporting GLBT causes. On the other hand, such statements have an important place.
We have a lot of items for marriage equality, and other GLBT issues, that aren’t predicated upon someone being straight first. But, we think that this button is an important one to have in the mix. People need to know that a lot of different sorts of Americans support equality under the law, even if they’re not part of a particular group that’s being discriminated against.