By Katie Kieffer
Gays can be leaders. Women can be leaders. Without realizing it, I think gays and women inadvertently work against their own objective of equality when they force private organizations to support gay and female leaders.
As I wrote here, gays and women are already equal before the Constitution, which defines us by our humanity, not by our sexuality, and is silent on most personal matters like marriage. Furthermore, the more the federal government defines our rights, the less free, equal and human we all become.
Here is what generally happens when minority groups confuse social acceptance with equality and push their views on private organizations:
Step one: A group of individuals hold beliefs that a minority group disagrees with. These individuals happen to have an organization—social, religious, political or professional—where they formally express their beliefs.
Example: Some nuns are unhappy that the Catholic Church exclusively ordains male priests.
Step two: Minority groups launch a soft campaign of public assaults against this organization in an attempt to change its mission. If the organization holds its ground, the campaign often advances into slanderous accusations and lawsuits.
Example: Some gays are unhappy with the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay membership and leadership. So, they lobbied for the organization to change its views. But even when national Scouts officials predict that the organization will change its policy and allow local chapters to decide whether or not to include gays, some gay activist groups are still unhappy.
Step three: Politicians and the media become involved in a private matter of free speech and expression. Suddenly, something that should be a non-issue becomes a public issue.
Example: LGBT rights activists are unhappy that the CEO of the private quick-service chicken restaurant Chick-fil-A openly supports traditional marriage through his public statements and his company’s charitable foundation. Various politicians such as Rahm Emanuel make public statements condemning Chick-fil-A.
Step four: Neither group is equal. One group becomes an aggressor, using force to extort its victim into adopting its beliefs.
Leadership is not sexual
Apple CEO Tim Cook. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. These are three openly gay individuals who are leaders in their professional fields. They are good at what they do and it has very little to do with their sexuality.
DeGeneres did not need a special membership card to be accepted by the heterosexual housewives who have comprised her core television audience for nine years. Hollywood initially rejected her. She told Parade that it took a great deal of hard work to convince producers she was “a funny woman who happens to be gay.”
Likewise Thiel and Cook did not achieve success in business because their peers made a point of officially accepting them for being gay. Rather, they both worked hard and the people around them rewarded them with trust and responsibility.
To lead or help others, you must first be confident in your own self-worth. Thiel, Cook and DeGeneres do not derive their self-worth from forcing other people to adopt their views. They simply focus on doing what they do well and this self-confidence translates into the ability to lead.
Equality requires freedom for all
If gays and women want to freely exercise their beliefs, they must respect the right of others to do the same. If you use force such as legislation or defamation to restrict another’s free speech, then you are heading down a dangerous path. You are essentially saying that morality is relative and might makes right.
There is nothing wrong with a private organization setting its own rules, whether it is the Catholic Church excluding priestesses, or the Boy Scouts of America excluding gays. Neither the Boy Scouts of America nor the Catholic Church use force against gays and nuns. So, gays and nuns are not victims unless they make themselves victims.
Gays who want to lead young boys may start their own clubs; they are free to exclude heterosexuals. Likewise, women who want be priests may establish their own church where they are priestesses; they are free to exclude males.
Take it from South Park
The “Cripple Fight” episode of South Park explains why the force of law is not the proper way to convince other people to accept your moral beliefs:
Colorado Supreme Court Justice: “In the case of big Gay Al vs. Mountain Scouts of America, it is the ruling of this court that the Scouts must allow Big Gay Al and all gays into their club.”
Big Gay Al: “Thank you all very much. But I don’t want this.”
Crowd: “What? What’d he say? Huh?”
Big Gay Al: “Look, …this isn’t what I wanted. I’m proud to be gay. And I’m proud to be in a country where I’m free to express myself. But freedom is a two-way street. If I’m free to express myself, then the Scouts have to be free to express themselves too. I know these men. They are good men. They are kind men. They do what they think is best for kids. No matter how wrong we think they might be, it isn’t right for us to force them to think our way. It’s up to us to persuade and help them see the light, not extort them too. Please, don’t cut the Scouts’ funding. The Scouts help, and have always helped, a lot of kids. That’s why I love them! I will continue to persuade them to change their mind. But this is the wrong way to do it. So, I am hereby dropping my case and allowing the Scouts their right to not allow gays into their private club.”
I think that gays and women should strive for equality—not social acceptance—by using their freedom to form their own private organizations and live as they see fit without violating the rights of others to do the same. As Big Gay Al points out, the goal is equality and it is impossible for an aggressor to be equal to its victim.