By: Nicole Lashomb*/TRT Editor-in-Chief-
Recently, I signed on to my personal Facebook account and was annoyingly disturbed by what I saw. In a status post from a friend of mine, she posed an innocent and important question to her Facebook network. As an employee of my alma mater, her office was being visited by the Governor of New York, Gov. Cuomo. She asked, “What would you do if the Gov. of New York were visiting your office tomorrow?” That mere question alone opened the door for reprehensible homophobic rhetoric to begin, particularly from two individuals, one that was an ordained minister from Texas. These hate mongers referred to the passing of gay marriage as sickening and perverse. As a matter of fact, the minister added, “Ask the pervert why he allowed gay marriages.”
Other comments were milder in nature, but homophobic nonetheless. Some referred to their resentment that New Yorkers were denied the right vote on this important legislation. To me, comments like that are equally offensive. It is astonishing that those people who are not oppressed seem to believe that it is justifiable to vote on another’s civil rights. If equality was voted upon, no under-represented group would have ever advanced. Women would not have won the right to vote and who knows if slavery would have ever been abolished. The law and legislative process is here to protect citizens, according to our very Constitution, even if it is a much less than an expedient procedure. These inalienable rights simply cannot be voted upon.
When others are in a disadvantaged position, regarding race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., the vote of the “majority” or those in power, will often go against basic human rights, which is why equality can’t be voted on in the first place. While I am in favor of a full democracy, putting social issues to a popular vote that involve human rights is the exact opposite of heading down the right path to attain equality. However, for those discriminatory New Yorkers who demand a vote, the good news is that nearly 60% of New Yorkers support gay marriage. Therefore, apparently this “vote” would have been against their stated opinions, regardless. I knew there was a reason I love New York.
This situation was a learning lesson in many regards. First of all, it reminded me of how much work there is to do in educating others about our lives and families. It also re-enforced how often hatred is spread from the pulpit. Although certain people, like ministers, should be spiritual advisers, they are often the conduit to spread hate, all in the “name of God.” And lastly, it affirmed that Facebook is a pseudo-realistic world in which cowards can hide behind computer screens and profess their uninformed and ignorant opinions about anything. But remember, somewhere, someone is always paying attention and it just might come back to bite you.
*Nicole Lashomb is a seasoned journalist and graphic designer. She holds an MBA from Marylhurst University and a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Potsdam. To send a letter to the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.