Maryland gay marriage activists are practicing discrimination, harassment, bullying, and hate speech towards traditional marriage supporters while they accuse their victims of hate.
The DC based gay newspaper, The Washington Blade, posted in full the list of about 110,000 citizens who signed the referendum petition against gay marriage in Maryland. The list is part of public record, but must be purchased on CD from the Maryland Board of Elections. It includes all the information the signers provided as required in order for the elections board to be able to verify the signer against voter registration data. This includes full name, date of birth, and address. Not much that many people don’t already willingly post on Facebook.
However, The Washington Blade has taken this information and posted it on its website in searchable form, along with an interactive map of Maryland showing the areas with the highest concentration of signers. No explanation was provided by the newspaper of why they chose to post the information. The comments by Washington Blade readers below the article are a bit more forthcoming about its intended purpose, with some suggesting that gay activists should visit the signers.
Tom Lang, Director of Knowthyneighbor.org, who takes credit for being the first paper to publish petition signers names online in 2005, had the following to say: “To LGBT and allies, look to signers in Maryland and you will find friends and family members, people you employ and owners of establishments you patronize. Now and in the years to come, you will find also, politicians running for office who may or may not have a good enough answer as to why he or she signed this initiative to take away rights. And know…once you see names your recognize…your true work begins.”
“Rob” posted: “All of these bigoted scumbags should be forced to wear a scarlet “B” for bigotry so they can’t hide amongst decent people.”
Other websites jumped on the Blade’s shame-the-haters bandwagon and posted the list as well, adding more inflamatory name calling.
While I don’t believe most gay marriage supporters will act on this list beyond making a mental note of people they know, the Maryland Marriage Alliance which led the petition effort has released a letter by a petition signer who was contacted by a gay activist due to an internet posting of the list. Her composure over the incident is impressive and serves as a model for us all. Her letter is posted below.
“This morning in front of my house I was approached by a man whom I had never met who asked me if I was [xxxxx] and then asked me if the house I was standing in front of, citing my address number, was my house. When I said yes, he said that he wanted me to know that my name, my address and a map to my house were posted on the Internet as a ‘hater.’
“When I asked as a hater of what, he said of gay people and gay marriage. When I said I don’t hate gay people, he said that I must because I signed the petition for the referendum on gay marriage and that my name is on the Internet for having signed the petition. When I continued to look puzzled he went on at length about his being gay, being with a partner for 20 years, etc. etc. and that I was hurting him by opposing gay marriage.
“He repeated several more times that my name and my address and even a map to my house were posted on the Internet and that I was listed as a hater and I had only to look it up to see. “He finally left and I reported the incident to the police. The police told me to call them again when the man, who lives in the neighborhood, returns home.
“In the meantime, I do not intend to look my name up on the Internet, but if this is true that someone or some group has posted petition signer names on the Internet and labeled the list as people who hate gay people and provided names, addresses, and maps to people’s houses, then I think this goes beyond a personal threat and becomes a case of organized intimidation on a larger scale.”
Can you imagine the reaction if traditional marriage supporters started visiting gays at their homes, calling them names, and dropping veiled threats?
I believe marriage supporters will stand their ground and not allow themselves to be intimidated by prejudiced people who seek to silence the citizen’s voice in government. Our best recourse is to call them out and let everyone know who the real bullies are.
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