Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Same-sex marriage foes join flat Earthers, birthers

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Wed May 14, 2014
The Rev. Tony Larsen and his partner, Craig Matheus, are refused a marriage license by Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen, right, in the clerk's office in Racine, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 13. The county does not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a judge's ruling that the state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The Rev. Tony Larsen and his partner, Craig Matheus, are refused a marriage license by Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen, right, in the clerk's office in Racine, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 13. The county does not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a judge's ruling that the state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
HIDE CAPTION
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • LZ Granderson: Facts have disproved claims of racists and birthers
  • He says politicians against same-sex marriage say it contributes to a lower birth rate
  • Granderson says the opponents fail to cite any evidence to back up statements
  • LZ: Ultimately those opposing gay rights will be defeated by the facts

Editor's note: LZ Granderson is a CNN contributor, a senior writer for ESPN and lecturer at Northwestern University. Commentary by the former Hechinger Institute fellow has been recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Remember the birthers?

Those people who would appear on national television claiming President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. They didn't have any facts to support their claims, just a gut feeling. And even in the face of more and more facts that proved the contrary, media continued to validate birthers by allowing them to occupy the same space reserved for people taking part in intelligent debate.

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

Then one day, the madness stopped.

That's not to say all the birthers went away. Only that their brand of irrational thinking had been escorted to the same space we put other silly debates. Like whether women are intelligent enough to vote or if the Earth is flat. You may laugh but for a time, those opinions were the basis of policies and their merits housed in the same space reserved for intelligent debate. Then the public was presented with facts, and the madness stopped.

It's hard to remember, but there was a time when well-meaning politicians warned that the military would collapse if gay people were allowed to serve openly. That hasn't happened, and people have stopped saying it.

We thought big-time sports was not ready for an openly gay male player, and then the Brooklyn Nets signed Jason Collins and life went on. The latest scare tactic is to try to blame gay people for the country's falling birthrate.

True there has been five consecutive years of decline. But it is also true we're coming out of the greatest turmoil in our economy since the Great Depression.

Some in the GOP stuck on 'birther' issue
Cheney: Daughters' feud 'unfortunate'
Catholic: Marriage is not about love
Granderson: Kiss a sign of NFL progress

According to Pew research, the recession contributed to more than a third of people 18-34 going back to school and nearly one in four moving back in with their parents. Neither situation is ideal for having a lot of children.

Also, women are waiting longer to start a family. In 1960, more than 80% of new mothers had a high school diploma or less. By 2011, only 34% had a baby before college. I guess women's desire to pursue a college education is also gay people's fault.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear recently filed an appeal in federal court, attempting to defend his state's ban on same-sex marriages by repeating Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's rationale citing the importance of a stable birthrate. But neither Beshear nor Herbert presented facts that showed causality.

Only fear-mongering -- and more and more Americans are saying enough already.

Whether it's HGTV canceling the Benham Brothers show or the NFL fining players for tweeting negative remarks regarding Michael Sam's kiss, what we're witnessing is not a liberal assault on freedom of speech, religious intolerance or political correctness run amok. It's just people saying the world isn't flat.

Again, facts alone are not enough to stop silly people from having an audience.

Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" and two months later some people still voted for him. But as with the birther phenomenon, there comes a point at which stupid ceases to occupy the same space reserved for intelligence and the need to hear a so-called other side yields to facts.

There wasn't a need to talk to members of the KKK to hear their thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington because we now recognize racism is an argument that falls short in the face of facts. As does sexism. And day-by-day, the irrational fear that is homophobia loses its grip on society, much to the chagrin of those who believe same-sex marriages cause Category 5 hurricanes.

Perhaps one day, when all of this silliness is behind us, the public will be ready to talk about what actually does cause Category 5 hurricanes. Until then, I guess we'll continue to allow science-deniers to call reports of a rising ocean a distraction as Antarctica melts right before our eyes.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
updated 6:48 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
updated 4:49 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
updated 10:19 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
updated 2:59 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
updated 5:37 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
updated 5:10 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT