Tonight A&E announced that they would not be suspending Phil Robertson, the (now) infamous patriarch of Duck Dynasty who last week derided gay men and inferred that black people were a-ok in the Jim Crow South. Understandably the LGBT community was horrified, with many LGBT people taking to social media and denouncing A&E’s decision.
From the Christian Right’s announcement that they would be holding a “Chick-Phil-A” Day to support Phil Robertson’s “right to free speech” (because clearly, that was violated here), to GOP members from all over the country coming to the defense of Phil Robertson (including Sarah Palin, who actually admitted that she didn’t even read the interview with GQ that cause all the ruckus), the voices of bigotry seem to have won. It is still socially acceptable to call gay people sinners and that we are “full of murder” and must change our sexual orientation.
But have they won?
This week we saw two more states added to the list of states which will recognize the legitimacy of our marriages. I have seen people I know, people who I never thought would be on our side, being vocal allies against the oppression that we face as a community both legally and socially. Religious groups are starting to recognize that the love that we have for our spouses, partners, significant others, is just as a valuable as the love that a heterosexual person manifests. The culture is coming to our side.
Is it coming as fast as many of us want? No. I personally find it shameful that A&E would rather make money than to do the right thing. I find it shameful that in the majority of States we STILL can be fired for who we are, that we STILL are restricted from marrying the person we love, and that in all but two States, LGBT children can be forced into professional therapy which tries to change their sexual orientation. But where we are now, in comparison to where we were ten years ago, is stunning.
We are winning the hearts and minds of Americans. The bigots may scream. They may yell at the top of their voices that we are persecutors. They may demand tolerance for their hate. But they are losing, and because they are losing, we are seeing the dying breath of the anti-equality movement.
And that should make us all proud.