Newt Gingrich is the latest person to pretend that getting media blowback for being a homophobe is the same thing as being denied equal rights and living under the constant threat of violence for being an LGBTQ person.
It is the actual most bananas thing that you could possibly think. These things are not the same. But people like Newt Gingrich keep saying they are the same. What is going on with this? (Seriously, what is going on?)
Here is how Gingrich made his point: Former Giants running back Derrick Ward got really mad this weekend when ESPN showed Michael Sam kissing his partner to celebrate being drafted to the St. Louis Rams. Ward then fired off a series of tweets that basically amounted to, "What about the children? Children just saw two men kissing. What will happen now? Something very terrible probably." Then he said Michael Sam kissing his partner was disgusting. Some people on Twitter called him a bigot. But some other people on Twitter told him that he was standing up for his beliefs and being a righteous truth-teller.
So Gingrich says to this panel on CNN's "Crossfire," "Doesn't it worry you that he is apparently getting death threats?"
Now, of course, no one should threaten Derrick Ward for being a bigot. That is wrong.
But Gingrich, like all of the other people who have argued this same point about the "intolerance" of LGBTQ people and the LGBTQ rights movement, ignore the systemic forces that make a person being a meanie on Twitter to Derrick Ward entirely different from the institutional and culturally embedded discrimination faced by LGBTQ people. We are not living in a country where former Giants running backs are violently assaulted and murdered for being former Giants running backs. Former Giants running backs are not at risk of losing their jobs if they put a photo of their partner on their desks. States across the country are not advancing legislation that enable businesses to discriminate against former Giants running backs.
These things are not the same. It is ridiculous to pretend that they are. Why does this count as serious thinking right now?
You can watch Gingrich try to make his very ridiculous point here:
h/t Media Matters