The recent campaign against Ellen DeGeneres by the American Family Association epitomizes the total intellectual bankruptcy of the anti-gay movement. Even though their so-called “One Million Moms” project failed to find any plausible reason why she shouldn’t be the new spokesperson for J. C. Penney, they didn’t let that stop them – they went right ahead and said she’s wrong for the job simply because she’s gay. No further explanation was needed beyond that. She’s gay, and that’s bad, and that’s all there is to it.
According to these million moms, just hiring someone who’s gay is so intolerable to “traditional families” that they supposedly won’t want to shop at J. C. Penney now. That’s not just offensive to gay people. It’s offensive to those families, because it implies that this entire category of people is so uniformly homophobic that they can’t even bear to do business with a company that employs gay people. What makes them think every “traditional family” would agree with that?
They further demand that J. C. Penney “remain neutral in the culture war.” But since when does neutrality require the total exclusion of gay people from jobs just because they’re gay? How could that possibly fall under any imaginable concept of what it means to be neutral? It sounds more like they’ve tried to redefine “neutral” as only doing what they want, and to do otherwise must be a departure from that. How else could someone believe it’s neutral to discriminate against gay people for no reason whatsoever?
After their attack on Ellen backfired tremendously, they sent out an email claiming that “Ellen is attempting to indoctrinate our children.” Apparently she’ll be doing that via her role as a department store spokesperson, in which she’ll naturally be serving as an exponent of sexual morality. Clearly, that must be what J. C. Penney hired her to do. If they did decide to replace her, do those million moms expect that someone more representative of “traditional families” would use their position to instruct people on how they should be having sex? “Attention shoppers: Please don’t be gay! It makes a million moms really sad!”? How is this even tangentially related to their job? Are company spokespeople supposed to be a source of moral guidance now?
But they didn’t stop there. The American Family Association’s radio host Fred Jackson was unusually revealing when he said, “What makes Ellen DeGeneres dangerous is that she’s a nice person”. And he’s right: Ellen is dangerous. Not to the rest of us, of course. No, she’s dangerous to these people. She provides them with no way to use her as an example of the alleged depravity, sickness and misery of gay people. She’s proven that an openly gay woman can be accepted, appreciated, and even admired by middle America and “traditional families”. She absolutely overturns their reality in a way they cannot respond to without retreating to simple prejudice.
The sheer breadth of her achievement incinerates their claims that gay people are doomed to a life of isolation, desperation and ostracism. The only way they can try to rescuscitate their failed perspective is by working to force that exclusion and disapproval upon Ellen herself, as if to prove that life must really be that bad for gay people – and if it’s not, they’ll do their damnedest to make sure that it is. This is their last resort: trying to roll back progress by hand.
And how dare these “million moms” suggest that motherhood must mean shielding children from the fact that gay people can be successful? Fuck everything about that! Children deserve better than to be told that happiness and accomplishment are off-limits to anyone who isn’t straight. I’d rather have my kids “indoctrinated” by Ellen, because they should know that the world can be theirs no matter who they love. And I bet there actually are a million moms who agree with that.