CNN hosted an on-air panel yesterday looking at the gay-rights movement and the fight for same-sex marriage. We started getting a headache the minute we heard the question put to gay African-American commentator LZ Granderson by CNN anchor Carol Costello: “Are gay rights the same as civil rights?”
Oh Carol. Carol, Carol, Carol.
There’s no such thing as gay rights. There’s nothing we gays get to do that everyone else on the planet doesn’t get to do, too. There are just rights—and gay people want ‘em.
Granderson gave an acceptable response: “Absolutely,” he says above. “I think people get confused—I don’t think that it’s equal to the civil-rights movement. I think they’re different movements… This notion of ‘what is civil rights’ is not just in the U.S.A.. and it’s not just tied to the [African-American] civil-rights movement.”
Then our good buddy Roland Martin—the guy CNN suspended for tweeting that guys who were excited about David Beckham’s underwear ad should have the shit smacked out of them—weighed in. At first Martin actually clarified the dialogue: “The question is wrong—It’s not a question, ‘Is gay rights civil rights.’ Is the gay-rights movement the same as the black civil-rights movement?” he said. “That is the distinction.”
Yes, that’s likely what Costello was trying to get at—but that’s a ridiculous question, too. Because what it’s really asking is “Who’s had it worse”?
And that is a question with no answer.
That didn’t stop Martin from answering—he explained that white gay men enjoyed greater rights in the pre-civil-rights South than blacks. “We had African-Americans in Jim Crow who couldn’t vote, who couldn’t stay in hotels,” he opines.
We’re not really sure what to say about that, except that a gay man caught having sex would have been jailed or lynched, regardless of his race.
Yes, gay men were not systematically enslaved for centuries, and some could pass for heterosexual. But black children were not rejected, abused or even murdered by their own parents because of their race.
But, hey, no—we’re not gonna play that foolish game.
At least Roland conceded that, “A women’s movement, a disabilities movement, a gay movement, a black movement—those are different movements, but the umbrella actually comes under civil rights.”
But why was he there to begin with? At the time of his twitter controversy, in February 2012, GLAAD stated the comments “weren’t an accident — they are a part of a larger pattern for Martin.”
It’s true: He has defended Tracy Morgan’s “stab my gay son” joke, stood up for Miss California Carrie Prejean’s attack against marriage equality, and praised reparative therapy—which his wife practices.
And yet, there he was, weighing in on our rights.
Gee, CNN, was Allen West busy?