Those of you who aren’t science fiction geeks have probably never heard of Orson Scott Card. But those of us who love stories of possible futures and pasts that never were, he’s one of the legends. He’s won the Hugo, the Nebula, the Locus and a slew of other awards.
He’s also an irrational anti-gay bigot.
Card has written extensively against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, even going so far as to suggest that legalization of same-sex marriage would be sufficient justification for armed overthrow of the government.
“Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy,” he wrote. “I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”
He’s claimed that “the dark secret of homosexual society — the one that dares not speak its name — is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.”
One wonders how Mr. Card knows the “dark secret of homosexual society,” but we’ll leave that aside for the moment. Lately, however, there was some evidence that Mr. Card has come around — or has he?
He wrote a piece that appeared in Entertainment Weekly, in which he stated that the recent Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act has rendered the gay-marriage issue “moot.” He said, “The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.”
So far, so good, and probably legally correct. But he went on to say: “Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”
Well, I have good news for you, Mr. Card. I’m reasonably sure that there won’t be a French Revolution style Reign of Terror against you and people who think like you. No guillotines, no tribunals.
I’m even willing to bet that there won’t be any kind of movement to deny you and your beloved the things you’d deny to same-sex couples — everyday things such as being able to cover your spouse on your health plan, pay hospital visits as a matter of right, be considered next of kin for health care decisions, inherit without a will, etc.
You get to keep doing all that stuff. You don’t have to get divorced and gay married now, and your children can still “expect to marry in their turn.” And you can still write whatever you want. Feel better?
As it turns out, though, that’s really not what Mr. Card means when he talks about “tolerance.”
See, “Ender’s Game” is being released as a movie, and there are some pro-marriage-equality groups who have put forth the proposition that since this Card fellow has spent a great deal of time, creative energy, and money supporting causes that directly oppose interests vital to their well-being, maybe they shouldn’t help support him with their own hard-earned shekels by paying for tickets to see the movie.
I can see their point, although I personally have always been of the opinion that the artist’s work should be judged on its own. Let’s face it — there have been some artists who have done great works despite being generally awful people.
The brilliant poet Ezra Pound was a Fascist and a Nazi collaborator. Jackson Pollock was a wife-beating drunk. And so on. But I don’t boycott them. Of course, those artists have the advantage of being dead, so I don’t have to worry about the money I spend enjoying their art being used against the interests of people I care about.
So will I go see “Ender’s Game: The Movie”? I don’t know. I still haven’t made up my mind. But I certainly won’t blame those who make the choice not to help the career of someone who’s worked, written, and spent money to deny them the things they hold dear.
“Tolerance” doesn’t require people to help pay for the shine on the boot that’s been kicking them.