Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stop. This. Madness. NOW.

This is a picture of Mark Carson. He was 32 years old.

Last Friday night, Mark Carson and a friend were walking in Greenwich Village in New York City, when he was approached by a man, Elliot Morales. Morales asked them, "Are you afraid? Do you watch the news? Do you know what happened in Sandy Hook?" according to the New York Post.

He then asked Carson, "Do you want to die here?" Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Police said Morales called Carson a "faggot" and a "queer" before shooting him in the cheek. Mark Carson died.

Morales rolled around "laughing on the ground" and proudly told officers "Yeah, I shot him in the head" as he was arrested five blocks away from where Carson was killed. Morales is being charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.

This is Nick Porto and his partner, Kevin Atkins.

In early May, they were assaulted on Eighth Avenue, between West 34th and West 35th Street at about 5 p.m. Porto said that he and Atkins were walking arm-in-arm down Eighth Avenue after a leisurely brunch when a group of men he said were in their early-to-mid 20s and wearing Knicks jerseys started shouting slurs at the couple.

"They called us faggots," said Porto. When he turned around and asked why they were shouting at him, the group of men knocked the pair to the ground and began to violently kick and punch them, he said. Porto was left with a broken nose and severe headaches.

This is NYC nightlife promoter Dan Contarino. Last night, Contarino was jumped at Avenue D & 4th Street. Allegedly, witnesses are reporting the assailant was yelling "faggot" as he was kicking and beating Dan. Neighbors rushed to Dan's aid and chased after the attacker but unfortunately he got away.

Contarino had to have emergency surgery, although his life is not in danger.

Around 5:20 a.m. this morning, a couple, ages 41 and 42, were walking on Broadway near Prince Street when two men began yelling anti-gay slurs. A physical altercation ensued and one of the victims suffered an eye injury, police said. Fabian Ortiz and Pedro Jiminez were arrested and are being charged with third degree assault as a hate crime.

When does this stop? This rash of violence is alarming. But what is more alarming is the behavior that fuels these attacks. While in this day and age people expect the Westboro Baptist Church to blame "the fags" for every major disaster in our world, what isn't acceptable are the lawmakers and clergy and athletes and sportscasters and others who believe that gay people are somehow less worthy than "regular" people.

Take Pastor E.W. Jackson, who said that gay people are psychologically sick. "Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality. When they talk about love they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex. So they can’t see clearly."

Pastor Jackson is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia.

Gay people are not less than, not inferior, not unworthy, not abominable, not sick, not anything more than human beings. No one deserves to be attacked or screamed at or shot or killed for who they are, something they cannot change. But the more our society continues to give those who speak with tongues of bigotry and ignorance and hatred and small-mindedness a voice, a pulpit, a platform, a job representing us, people out there will take those words as a reason to foment violence.

I've said it so many times before, but I will not stop saying it. WE DESERVE BETTER. And we need to demand it. People's rights are not up for debate. And people's safety shouldn't be dependent upon whom they love or how they walk or dress or anything.

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