Back in our April 2 issue, I wrote in my Editor’s Note column, “Marching backward to the beat of a despotic drum,” that attempts to write discrimination into state constitutions across the nation could — and, in fact, already have — very easily transform into harsher and harsher forms of discrimination against LGBT Americans.

From my column:

All the while, some states continue to face the threat of draconian measures to strip such rights away from their citizens. At press time, a bill to add an anti-gay constitutional amendment to the Indiana Constitution had made its way through a senate committee there. Right here at home, Republican legislators in the North Carolina Senate hope to pass their own anti-gay constitutional amendment.

Such measures are, no doubt, a form of tyranny. They enforce a religiously-motivated despotism whose aim is singularly focused on stripping away, layer by layer, the humanity of LGBT people. First it’s marriage. Then it’s healthcare and visitation rights. Next on the list is LGBT-inclusive bullying policies and laws. Then adoption. Where would it stop? Would we eventually revert to those “good ol’ days” when queers were burned and stoned to death?

The column was, admittedly, facetious — at least, in part. I’m more optimistic than to think our nation is completely headed to hell; unlike Tea Partiers, Birthers and other similar ilk, I believe our nation is ultimately on the right track, primarily because I still believe in the power of our democracy, the power of people to make change and the power of right to triumph over evil. I’ve often taken Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous words to heart: “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

Regardless, a reader left this comment in response to my column, which I’ve reprinted in full below:

You sound like a lunatic. This article represents one of the many reasons why the vast majority of Americans oppose gay marriage (and yes, they do, despite the bogus polling a few firms have decided to release). A radical conservative, the opposite from you, could just as easily create a nightmare fantasy scenario describing what may happen if gay marriage or homosexuality in general were to become more accepted in our society. Of course, that would be silly, just like all the nonsense that you wrote.

The vast majority of americans support anti-discrmination and hate crime laws, and probably some limited form of relationship recognition as well. That is the reason why there will be no “stoning and burning” of gays, just because most people believe that marriage itself has a special meaning and purpose that should be retained. How dare you make these kinds of claims?

I am gay, and I oppose gay marriage, as do many normal gay people. I will work hard to have my point of view heard here in NC, so that we can finally pass a marriage amendment here. I grew up in Massachusetts and really don’t feel like seeing my new home state slide downhill as well.

Instead of trying to scare people into agreeing with you, maybe you should start having a responsible dialogue with people. This article is not responsible, and quite frankly is despicable because it represents one of the worst forms of fear-mongering and smearing of political opponents that I have ever seen.

The only true bigot is you, and those like you who continue to try and paint anyone who doesn’t agree, including good Christian people, as tyrants. I am confident that the truth will win out, and that North Carolina voters will overwhelmingly pass a marriage amendment in 2012. I also predict that eventually, Iowa and New Hampshire will repeal their gay “marriage” laws as well, since the people there never wanted it in the first place.

I really hope that you can open up your heart and mind and become a better person. You have demonstrated in your article that you are not tolerant of others, just like most gays on the radical left. The result, of course, is that most Americans are not tolerant of us, either. Please grow up, and stop harming the gay community with your rhetoric.

Me? I’m harming the gay community? Ha!

Sometimes it’s necessary for me to call people out when they are off-the-wall crazy or just downright wrong. (Our commenter, in this case, seems to be both fomer and latter.) Once more, I’ve been vindicated. Our commenter would like to think all is peachy-keen in our nation. Unfortunately, LGBT equality remains under attack, in very real and substantial ways.

The State of Arizona, you see, already made their LGBT residents second-class citizens when they passed their own anti-LGBT constitutional amendment in 2008. They just couldn’t stop themselves when it came time to strip away even more rights. From the Human Rights Campaign:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2011

HRC Condemns AZ Governor Brewer for Signing Discriminatory Adoption Bill into Law
Senate Bill 1188 Puts Discrimination Ahead of Children in the Adoption Process

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, condemned Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the Republican leadership in the state legislature for passing and signing into law SB 1188, which gives preference to married couples in the adoption process – at the exclusion of same-sex couples and single adults who wish to provide a loving home to children. The bill applies to public and private adoption agencies.

“Arizona’s children and youth suffered a major defeat when this discriminatory bill was signed into law,” said HRC Family Project Director Ellen Kahn. “At a time when far too many children are in need of a loving forever home, this new law limits the number of families available to them. Child welfare experts agree that adoptive parents should be judged by their character and their ability to raise a child, not on their marital status or sexual orientation. It’s shameful that politics trumps the needs of children. In Arizona, approximately one-third of qualified adults adopting from foster care are single parents.”

The Child Welfare League of America, the nation’s oldest and largest child welfare organization, opposes restrictions on adoption and believes that applicants should be assessed on their ability to parent a child, not on their marital status or sexual orientation. The North American Council on Adoptable Children opposes laws and legislation that restrict the consideration of prospective foster and adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation.

Kahn, a professional social worker, added: “Arizona’s children deserve better. We must do everything possible to remove barriers to permanent families, and Governor Brewer just built a new wall. Years of research, public opinion, and the child welfare profession conclude that these discriminatory laws are not in the best interest of the children. They simply delay or deny access to stable, loving homes and force kids to languish in the foster care system.”

A map detailing adoption laws across the country is available at www.hrc.org/documents/parenting_laws_maps.pdf.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.