Phillipines Elections Commission, ‘Manhattan Declaration’ authors, Oklahoma state Sen. Steve Russell top this year’s list of anti-gay turkeys
It’s that time of year when we think about turkey — or in my case, turkeys.
In honor of the season, I’m highlighting many people, at home and abroad, who’ve recently behaved like turkeys.
I realized I didn’t know what to call a group of turkeys, a drawback when writing about multiple foul fowl. I searched the Internet for the proper term, and came up with a surprising number of distinctive options: rafter, gang, gobble, flock, brood and bale.
The turkey is a wordy birdie.
So let’s take a look at our first rafter of turkeys, which requires leaving these shores for the Philippines.
• A gay rights group called Ang Ladlad (Out of the Closet) wants to run in next year’s national elections. But the Elections Commission decided the group can’t register as a political party because it advocates immorality.
The Elections Commission is a gang of turkeys. A gobble of gobblers.
The commission stated Ang Ladlad "tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs" and exposes youth to "an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith."
The nation is largely Roman Catholic, but the commission generously cited passages condemning homosexuality from both the Bible and the Quran.
The leader of the gay rights group has filed a petition asking the Elections Commission to reconsider its ruling, which he points out was based mainly on religious grounds, not legal ones. We can only hope that some commission members start thinking for themselves and stop being birds of a feather.
• More than 150 Christian leaders make up the next flock of turkeys.
Roman Catholic bishops, conservative evangelicals and others issued "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," a document outlining their opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion and promising to protect religious freedoms.
These folks do a pretty good Turkey Lurkey.
The document claims that legalizing gay marriage could lead to marriage rights for "polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships."
The sky is fixin’ to fall. Just like Henny Penny said.
The authors try to sound compassionate, but the sentiment falls flat: "We acknowledge that there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships, just as there are those who are disposed towards other forms of immoral conduct."
The statement continually couples gayness and polyamory. Is homosexuality so unthreatening these days that the authors felt the need to amp up the fear level? Or is there some meaningful movement for polyamory that I’ve missed? If it’s the latter, I need to shake my caruncle — the fleshy growth on a turkey’s head — and wake up.
• Our final dirty bird is in Oklahoma. State Sen. Steve Russell, a Republican from Oklahoma City, is all aflutter over the new federal hate crimes law protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a press release, he claims the law "far exceeds" the power of the federal government over states according to the 10th Amendment. Russell further frets about harm to freedom of speech and religion. He’s introducing multi-pronged legislation to "protect" the rights of Oklahomans.
If you’ve never heard the call of a turkey, it sounds like this: "Basically, if Oklahoma decided a case that the Feds later wanted to overturn, they would be on their own — we would not share evidence or manpower."
Russell flipped gays the bird when he told the University of Oklahoma’s student newspaper, "Sexual orientation is a very vague word that could be extended to extremes like necrophilia."
At this time of year we ponder what we’re thankful for. These turkeys — the Philippine Election Commission, "The Manhattan Declaration" backers and state Sen. Russell — don’t make the cut.
Leslie Robinson is a freelance columnist who lives in Seattle. E-mail LesRobinsn@aol.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 27, 2009.