Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gay in Public, a question of Tolerance

While listening to a popular comedy routine by Stand Up comedian Ron White, a thought occurred to me that I allowed to wander through my brain for several weeks. His routine was centered around a story of a time he was arrested for being "drunk in public"; humorously, after he was physically tossed from a bar. This made me wonder precisely WHY the crime of "Public Intoxication" is, indeed, an offense. Rather, what reasons could have been given in order to justify making the simple fact that you are obviously and openly drunk, offensive when observed by the public in a public place?

Surely it is no crime to be drunk at home, nor drunk in a place where it is socially or culturally accepted to be intoxicated. Further, it is no crime if your "public intoxication" is not observed by an offended member of the public, or law enforcement official who finds your crime warrants an arrest or citation. It is also not a crime to be "intoxicated" or drunk and NOT cause a disturbance or disruption to the general public welfare.

Obviously the answer lies in the society we inherit form our parents; and from the society we create for ourselves. Public Intoxication is something the majority of us simply DO NOT WISH TO SEE, nor do we desire our children be exposed to such open displays of abnormality. You see, we view only the public display of intoxication as abnormal in our society. Sure, some would see the disease of alcoholism as blight regardless of the location of its display, but I am not inclined to discuss that here. We have come to accept alcohol and its effects so, in the interests of a perceived good, we shield our children and ourselves from as much of the results of our acceptance as possible. We tell them drinking is bad and misdirect them from the public display of intoxication so that they do not become indoctrinated into a false culture of drunken acceptance.

Picture a family walking down a popular public street after a nice dinner out. The father sees an obviously drunk man staggering ahead of them so he quickly distracts his children, even covering the eyes of the youngest, in order to keep them from seeing this man. The father holds no animosity toward the drunk man. In fact, he likely pities him in some way. Still, he would rather not have to explain alcoholism, and its devastating effects, to his young children; nor should he be expected to. The drunken man is, for the moment, an aberration on their families peaceful evening out and the simplest course of action is to avoid the situation.

Now, should the man become a nuisance, start to follow them or speak to them unkindly, then the drunken man needs toe be removed from society for, at least, the time he remains intoxicated. The visceral desire to protect our loved ones, and ourselves, from unwanted contact with abnormalities is precisely WHY we can accept the private drunk but not the openly, in your face, public nuisance.

Satisfied that I had reasoned why it was illegal to be Drunk in Public, I began to reflect on my families trip to Cape Cod a few years ago. This was the last time I could recall that I had shielded my young children (then 5 and 7) from anything in a public place. No, we did not see a drunk man or woman staggering toward us. As the title of this post indicates, what I misdirected my children around was, for Hyannisport at least, socially acceptable (even encouraged) public displays of same sex affection.

At the moment of that realization I began to ponder the similarities between what I had done to my children and what the fictional man who avoids the drunk does to his. Like the man, I hold no personal ill will toward the couples I witnessed showing each other their affections. I simply wished to avoid the public display of their affection, and chose to misdirect my children away from it, because I did not feel them old or capable enough of truly understanding what they could have witnessed.

After less than an hour we choose to leave Hyannisport, opting to eat elsewhere on the Cape. We would have done the same had we encountered seven to ten openly drunk, and visibly proud to be so, individuals crowding the streets. Mardi Gras parties in New Orleans are not typically attended by 5 and 7 year old children because it is simply not appropriate for them to be there and, similarly, I found the excess of public displays of affection inappropriate for my children.

Now, I know that some people will see no correlation and, in fact, accuse me of bigotry or hatred for the admission of these actions. Those most militant about their "freedoms" rarely care for the freedoms of those with whom they disagree. I'm not writing this to provoke anyone, though I know I undoubtedly will.

The discussion, or argument if you prefer, boils down to a drastic change in our society, which has occurred over the last 30 or 40 years. Whether or not this change is beneficial I will leave to greater minds than mine. What concerns my thoughts today are the reasons behind the absence of "Public Homosexuality" laws. No, I am not advocating such a law be passed, nor would I rationally expect such a law to be constitutional. I have no personal hatred for any person who can love another. Still, it is clear to me that American society has quickly reversed its moral foundation; allowing and encouraging behaviors that our elders would have, rightly or wrongly, discouraged.

There are many REASONS given as to why two men or two women would love each other. Whether biological, environmental, psychological or a combination of factors the fact remains that homosexuals exist in our society. Without accepting their choices or circumstances, I can accept their humanity. I recognize that people of their orientation are PERSONS, from conception to natural death. In fact, if there were to be discovered a "gay gene" that could be detected in the womb, I believe even gay liberals would instantly become PRO LIFE. But I digress....

What bothers me, eventually leading me to write this post (which I appreciate you reading!), is the fact that, while they are a minority of our population they act and demand to be seen, heard and objectified. This small group of people maintain a powerful, and sometimes militant, faction that offers a clear "we want you to know we are gay, deal with it and accept it" message that, to me, degrades our moral society as a whole. No, we shouldn't discriminate because we find out another person is gay, any more than we should discriminate against a black person, an Asian, a woman, someone who is vertically challenged, or others et al. Discrimination is wrong, even against the unborn, and should not be tolerated by a morally bound society.

Tolerance, however, does not give you the right to put your views, beliefs and lifestyle choices IN MY FACE, or the faces of my children. Indoctrination begins with tolerance but it does not end there. If it did, if only tolerance was taught, we might have a chance at true equality. Instead, however, we are taught by T.V., News and, sadly, in classes at Public Schools, that our obligation of tolerance only applies to certain groups or classes. We are not taught to be TOLERANT of a devout Christian or Jew, when they read or talk about their beliefs in public. In fact we are told to laugh at and criticize certain groups while idolizing and accepting others, often because we are supposed to feel guilty for said group who has, presumably, been abused for millenia. We are quickly moved from acceptance as a human right, to acceptance as a politically correct agenda.

We accept homosexuality as a normal division in the human chain of life, rather than the abnormality that some see it is. Our tolerance has become so great that we even allow this certain group to display their homosexual affections toward each other in the public square. I wonder how long I could stand in Hyannisport reading my Bible out loud, in public.

As for me, I have no desire to watch men swapping spit or women grabbing each other in lewd places. In fact, even heterosexual displays of affection are often unsuitable for children and, until they are old enough to understand I will continue to misdirect my little ones from whatever I, as their father, feel is not good for them to see or hear. We will probably not be returning to Hyannisport, though I love Cape Cod. Maybe, when the kids grow up, we will all go to New Orleans and celebrate Mardi Gras together. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll get arrested for "Public Intoxication".

God Bless you!


Definitions of used:*
Public intoxication, also known as drunk and disorderly conduct, is a summary offense in many countries rated to public cases or displays of drunkenness.
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior among members of the same sex,

*(Information derived form Wikipedia.org, Dictionary.com and other reliable sources.)


  1. Good job! Did I ever share the article with you - the one that resulted in my leaving the Kingston City Schools?

  2. "Tolerance, however, does not give you the right to put your views, beliefs and lifestyle choices IN MY FACE, or the faces of my children."

    Surely, then, since you are not a bigot, you view this as a general principle and do not advocate one set of rules for gays and another for straights. Surely you would agree that any display of public affection acceptable among straight (holding hands, for instance) would be acceptable for gays as well.

    If not, then it would seem that you are asking for "special rights" while gays are only asking for equality.

  3. There is a great difference between holding hands and out right dry humping in the streets. I have determined that tongue kissing with obvious passion, and other forms of sexual acts, are not suitable for my children, regardless of who or what is performing them.

    What bothers me is the open desire to make certain that their acts are seen. This desire likely comes from a right to gain acceptance. For me it has the opposite effect.

    Drunks, drug users, pedophiles and other societal anomalies would surely seek similar acceptance. They are who they are and, under no circumstances are they responsible for what they have become. We must accept them all or we must accept none.

    Fear not, however, for Tolerance is winning and my battle ground is small. I can only keep my children away from such displays of immorality while they remain young. As they enter public life without their old fashioned father they will have only what I have left them. I pray what I leave is enough.