"Gays are different."
How many times have we heard that the basic human right to love whomever one pleases extends to everyone except gay people? How is it that "live and let live," "love thy neighbour" and "god loves everyone equally" all seem only to apply to the morally upstanding straights?
But it's not just the anti-gays who think that gays stand out; the pro-gay folks don't really improve matters when they make statements along the lines of "you can't lobby against the gay lifestyle just because they're different from you."
The word which I think needs to fall into disuse is "different." Gay people aren't different. They're the same.
In your country, how recently was it argued that women were "different" and so should not be permitted to vote? In your country, how recently were people without white skin granted permission to vote? Or even permitted freedom?
Women, African-Americans, Aboriginal Australians, Native Americans were all "different." Their differences prevented them from having basic human rights. US president Barack Obama has discussed that on the day his black father and white mother were married in Hawaii, they would not have been permitted to do so in Texas. Why? Because they were "different" from each other. Interracial marriages were a no-no; it would only create a new breed of "different" half-casts, right?
My aunt is sixty years old and left-handed. In her school days, nuns would cane her for using a pencil in the wrong hand, because she was "different." In her case, it wasn't merely because she was a lesser person by virtue of her skin-colour or double-X chromosomes; no, left-handers are, in fact, possessed by Satan himself. The Latin word for left-handed is "sinister."
Fast-forward to the twenty-first Century. In nearly every country, and certainly every developed country, left-handed people are not considered to be possessed by Satan nor any other entity. Women have the same jobs and voting rights as men, blacks can sit in the same cafés as whites without being arrested, native-Americans can marry Europeans without interference from any lobby or law.
These groups are no longer different, are they? Does anyone really say, "we embrace African-Americans, even though they're different?" They're not different any more than a 5'9" man and 6'2" man are different, and we all seem to agree on this, not just socially and legally, but even in religious circles, with a handful of now-shunned exceptions, all of these demographics, once defined for their differences, are now considered to be merely part of the diversity that is the Human Race. Not "different" at all.
But not gay folks. No, we still need someone to hate. Someone on whom we can blame society's ills, our loss of morality, our loss of good ol' Christian values. Let's blame the gays. What are they gonna do? Hit us with their handbags?
It wasn't long ago - only about one generation, actually - when it was okay to exercise one's bigotry against all manner of ideology or lifestyle. Nowadays, it's not Kosher to preach that interracial marriage is immoral. But same-sex marriage is still an easy and politically correct target, so let's focus our fears, frustrations and personal failures on the poofs.
Because gays are still officially "different."