Utah: The next Auschwitz?

It was just an innocuous sounding statement in a story that ran in The Salt Lake Tribune Feb. 15, so why am I bringing it up now? “We’re the new Jews,” said Paula Wolfe, director of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Utah.

To Zion, pussycat!

I’ve never wavered in my opinion that gay and lesbian couples deserve to live in state-sanctioned civil unions with all the perks of a nice, straight married union, and I won’t divert from that.

But I do take severe umbrage with stupid, inflammatory and off-the-cuff remarks like those designed to garner attention via sound bites. I’ve never been gay, but I’ve been Jewish my whole life, and I know my three aunts and two uncles who died in Auschwitz didn’t do so because they favored lavender. This isn’t to condone the rampant homophobia and elitist religious rhetoric spouted from marriage advocates, but ignorance begets ignorance. Comparing homosexuals to Jews is like comparing “Schindler’s List” to “In and Out.”

Talk to me 11 million deaths later. Talk to me after watching an entire group of people continue to heal from the worst act of murder ever committed on Earth’s soil. I agree that having a death tax is wrong, but I think we agree for the wrong reasons.

Nobody needs to convince me that gay unions can be just as enduring, wonderful and fulfilling as any boy-meets-girl scenario, but please don’t try to enter the arena of victim of a hopeless murder campaign.

Words, which are so important for gay rights advocates, can’t be thrown around casually from insiders just because they feel jilted, and if they are, those people have no right to complain about whatever the other side has to say.

I don’t think Wolfe fully thought about the ramifications her statement might have had on other sensitive communities in her area-or at least I hope she didn’t think about it.

But whether she did or did not, the point is irrelevant. The power journalism has is that it takes thought-provoking and dumb statements and places them side by side in the public record. Ms. Wolfe, your words are there to stay, so don’t bother to apologize if you were planning to. Fighting fire with fire only results in varying degrees of burning, and the scars they leave tend not to heal very quickly.

The gay community has enough enemies in its midst-most of whom I believe are wrong. Unfortunately, they seem to be a festering and rapidly growing bunch that needs to be dealt with head-on with civility, respect and fairness.

I won’t be satisfied until Utah and other states realize just how right Massachusetts was in its Feb. 6 ruling upholding the right of homosexual couples in civil unions, but I’m disappointed at the knee-jerk reaction of leaders in the gay community like Paula Wolfe. Maybe Wolfe never heard of the Holocaust, or maybe she thinks gay rights on par with genocide. Either way, I would hope a member of the gay community would be a tad more sympathetic when it comes to messages relating to widespread persecution.

I’m proud to declare myself an ally to nearly all the causes in front of this brave community, but only if sanity, common sense and a modicum of respect show up to the party as well.

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