Chuck Hurley and Keith Ratliff: Iowa's Dynamic Duo of Bigotry
The Des Moines Register profiles Chuck Hurley and Keith Ratliff, who have found a common cause in their quest to rid the world of same-sex marriage:
"Ratliff and Hurley have been two of the loudest voices in this legislative and cultural fight, organizing rallies against same-sex marriage and lobbying the Legislature to let Iowans vote on its legality. They take different approaches to the same argument. Ratliff's approach echoes the Old Testament: God has spoken, and His laws are etched in stone. 'It's in God's word,' Ratliff said. 'We feel this ends the discussion.' Hurley's tone is more New Testament. He speaks of the same-sex marriage debate in parables. He makes analogies relating the issue to the big picture of human salvation, framing the debate not around what two people do in their bedroom but around our culture's descent into a moral abyss. Their views often are expressed in sound bites that seem full of hate. But Hurley and Ratliff insist their argument has nothing to do with hate and everything to do with speaking the truth in love. 'It seems (hateful) at first blush because of their self- justification for their behavior,' Hurley said. ' 'Who are you to tell me I'm doing something wrong?' It's just kind of a visceral reaction.' Their dissonant approaches harmonize into one argument. What is at stake, Hurley and Ratliff believe, is nothing short of the destruction of humanity's first institution."
Hurley is the bigot who organized the "prayer walk" in mid-January to try and put pressure on Iowa's highest court to force the legislature to take up the anti-gay marriage amendment.
Hurley's and Ratliff's crusade originates from a primitive, ignorant place:
"And part of their argument also hinges on homosexuality being a choice. Sure, some people are predisposed toward homosexuality, Hurley and Ratliff believe. Here, they make an analogy with alcoholism. Some people are genetically predisposed toward alcoholism; each time they take a drink, however, they are choosing a destructive behavior. It's the decision to engage in the behavior — not the predisposition toward the behavior — that's the sin. This is where Ratliff becomes agitated. Gay-rights activists sometimes compare their movement to the civil rights movement. That, Ratliff said, is off-base. Blacks were discriminated against because they were born with a certain skin color. But homosexuality, Ratliff believes, is a behavior, not an innate human trait. And it's a behavior that, by choosing to follow the word of God, can be avoided."
In related news, a new poll from the Register found that 62% of Iowans feel that marriage should be between a man and a woman: "Thirty-two percent believe same-sex marriages should be allowed, while 6 percent were unsure. Iowans are split, however, on whether the state constitution should be changed to ban gay marriages. And more than half of Iowans who responded to the poll support Iowa allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. About four in 10 Iowans oppose civil unions, and 4 percent are unsure."