When—if ever—is it fair to call another person a bigot? Leave your comment below.
A flashpoint in the debate over Minnesota's new marriage-equality law was the use of the words "bigot," "bigoted," or "bigotry" in reference to opponents of making same-sex marriages legal.
After the state Legislature approved the bill, the group Minnesota for Marriage said in a statement:
Over one million Minnesotans will be forced to either affirm what they believe to be false or subject themselves to prosecution and insult as “bigots” ... under our law with the passage of this bill.
'You're a Bigot'
On Monday at the state Senate, Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) took exception to accusations that opponents of the same-sex marriage bill are bigots. Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville) has also voiced objections to the term (click on YouTube thumbnails at our desktop site, or see clips at YouTube.com).
- "I can't tell you how many letters I've gotten that said, 'You're a bigot.' Or tweets: 'You're a bigot because you disagree.' Really? Really? I'm trying to be a nice guy, but I have a different opinion. And so now you're labeling, name-calling me."
- "They’ll call me a bigot, they’ll call me a hater, they’ll spit in my face, like they did a friend of mine last Thursday. There are things in life, members, that are worth standing up for, even to be persecuted for."
Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, asked before the historic legislative votes:
"Are we really going to punish and treat people as bigots who simply believe what societies all across the world have believed about marriage throughout human history?
Use of the term "bigot" predates this year's marriage-law debate. In 2011, as the Minnesota Legislature was about to approve a ballot referendum to ban same-sex marriage in the state Constitution, a Star Tribune editorial carried the headline "Don't put bigotry up for a vote." That inspired a counterpoint column: "Traditional marriage is not bigotry."
Is it OK to call someone a bigot? Leave your comment below.
Nor is use of "bigot" limited to the same-sex marriage issue. In 2012, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said the Republican Party's platform plank on Islamic Shariah law “is an expression of bigotry.”
Two Points of Reference
Merriam-Webster.com defines "bigot" as:
a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
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When is it acceptable to call another person a bigot? Leave your comment below.