Just Like That, Parody Becomes a Hate Word
Parody. First known usage, 1607. A rather common, more or less, well known word. One that brings smiles or frowns to our faces when debating such earth-shattering decisions as “should we see the new Forbidden Broadway, or no?”
But alas sweet parody, it turns out, we may not know you at all.
To begin, the Merriam-Webster definition:
- a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule wrote a hilarious parody of a popular song
- a feeble or ridiculous imitation; a cheesy parody of a classic western
Sounds right. Seems similar to our old familiar friend, absolutely reminiscent of the word decades of gay communities have aided and abetted, from 1607 until December 2017, assuring it a necessary place in the vernacular. Yes, sometimes overused, sometimes overlooked, sometimes misunderstood, and sometimes spot on, parody remained our artistic clap back.
And now it’s changed. In 2018, South Carolina’s House Bill 4949, is brought forward: “[T]he State of South Carolina shall no longer respect, endorse, or recognize any form of parody marriage policy because parody marriage policies are non-secular.”
And just like that, parody becomes a hate word.
A weapon to be used by people in power, who wish to mock, defile, dehumanize, and ultimately destroy the sanctity of an LGBTQ+ union.
And if that isn’t ugly enough, the bill continues, “Marriage between a man and a woman arose out of the nature of things and marriage between a man and a woman is natural, neutral, and noncontroversial, unlike parody forms of marriage.”
Apparently. so-called “straight marriages” are noncontroversial, while we are now a burlesque show.
The six, yes SIX, sponsors of the bill are Reps. Steven Long, William Chumley, James Mikell Burns, John McCravy III, Josiah Magnuson, and Richard Martin, who introduced the bill.
According to GoUpstate.com, the group is quoted as saying, “… that while there has been no ‘land rush on gay marriage,’ it has had other detrimental effects. Specifically, “the persecution of non-observers,” and an effort by believers and practitioners of “parody marriage” to “infiltrate and indoctrinate minors in public schools to their religious worldview, which is questionably moral, plausible, obscene.”
But wait, there’s more. Valentines’ Day, 2018. Wyoming House Bill 0167 is introduced by State House Rep. Lars O. Lone. It states, “All forms of parody marriage erode community standards of decency, and this state has a compelling interest to uphold community standards of decency as set forth under the Wyoming Constitution.”
Two new bills. Two declarations of parody marriages. Just like that. Hmmmm. And yes, there is a link.
The Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act, as both are known are the brainchild of anti-LGBTQ activist Chris Sevier, who spends his time trolling state courts and filing outlandish suits intended to mock marriage equality.
His best-known gag claimed his sexual orientation is “machinist” and thus it is discriminatory for Alabama, Colorado, Texas, and Utah to prevent him from marrying his computer. In the Alabama suit, he alleged it was “procedurally arbitrary” for the state to issue “marriage licenses to individuals who self-identify as homosexual” and yet refuse the same relationship recognition to “zoophiles, machinists, and polygamists.” And apparently, his “bride,” the laptop.
Oh, and in his spare time, Sevier has been accused of stalking both a 17-year-old girl and country music star John Rich, whom he has compared to Adolf Hitler. He reportedly assaulted his ex-father-in-law during a custody dispute in which he is alleged to have attempted to kidnap his own child.
And yet, six state representatives, elected officials of South Carolina thought better to align themselves with Sevier and his deadly spawn, than turn their backs.
HRC President, Chad Griffin, points out, “If an LGBTQ couple drove from Maine to California today, their legal rights and civil rights protections could change more than 20 times at state borders and city lines.”
So what can we do? First, stay vigilant. Take a look at the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Index (http://www.hrc.org/blog/hrc-releases-2017-state-equality-index). We are lucky to live in a state with tremendous advocates and allies. So support CAMP Rehoboth, and say thank you to Joe Biden, Jack Markell, Pete Schwartzkopf, and especially Steve Elkins. You don’t have to agree with every decision they’ve made to understand that without them, and their tireless efforts, we would not have made the strides we have.
Be visible. Let people know—Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Pastafarian—your support of us as equal neighbors, friends, and couples, matters greatly. And within our own community, stand strong. Don’t differentiate between the letters of our alphabet. If we don’t have equality for all, we don’t have equality.
Vote with your pocketbook. Do not support those who would knowingly do us harm.
OUR LIVES ARE NOT A PARODY.
Stefani Deoul is the author of the YA mystery novel On a LARP from Bywater Books. Contact Stefani.