Illinois State Representative Jeanne Ives has some pretty extreme and offensive ideas about her gay constituents and the recent movement towards marriage equality in Illinois, as revealed during a radio interview last week.
"It's a completely disordered relationship and when you have a disordered relationship you don't ever get order out of that"
"Essentially what they're trying to do is not just redefine marriage; they're trying to redefine society. They're trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools because this gives them some sort of legitimacy. And we can't allow that to happen."
Hear her words for yourself over at Jeremy Hooper's blog.
Now, unless Rep. Ives was using this interview to satirize the outlandish beliefs of marriage equality opponents, and clearly she was not, there is no context that could make these statements not offensive; not just to LGBT people but to their friends, relatives, allies, etc. She called gay relationships "completely disordered" and said gay people were "trying to weasel their way into acceptability" meaning, obviously, that gay people are unacceptable.
There is absolutely no room for interpretation here.
So … any guesses as to what she's saying now?
"It is unfortunate that certain comments I made recently in regards to the redefinition of marriage on a Catholic radio program have been misinterpreted."
This is the same garbage we hear every time someone like Ives gets caught saying what he or she truly believes to what they assume is audience of exclusively like-minded people. Ives now says "I have no comment on a person's sexual orientation or personal relationships."
Calling those personal relationships "completely disordered" sounds an awful lot like a comment on those personal relationships, doesn't it? And accusing gay people of trying to "weasel their way into acceptability" certainly feels like a comment on sexual orientation.
If the Illinois media allows Ives to get away with saying that her comments were "misinterpreted" then it has failed its audience. It is a fact that she said those things. Now she must be asked if she stands by them. Here's how it's done.
Rep. Ives, you called gay relationships "completely disordered." Do you stand by it?
Rep. Ives, you said gay people are trying to "weasel their way into acceptability." Do you stand by it?
Like anyone who has made mistakes, Rep. Ives should absolutely have the opportunity to recant.
She can say "No, I made those comments in the spur of the moment and I do not stand by them. I still do not support marriage for same-sex couples, but I do not believe that those couples are 'completely disordered' or that gay people are trying to 'weasel their way into acceptability.' I apologize to any of my gay constituents for having made those comments."
Or she can say "Yes, I stand by them. Those comments reflect how I truly feel about the gay community and same-sex relationships."
But the media cannot allow her to pretend that people who are offended are 'misinterpreting' her original statements. That is a statue of Honest Abe outside the State Capitol building, after all. There is no room for interpretation. Either she stands by the things she said or she doesn't.
It is the media's responsibility to hold Rep. Ives accountable for her comments.