Yeah, I know, Joe the Plumber is so passé, and we shouldn’t be giving him the time of day, but I can’t resist reprinting this quote from his interview with evangelical Christianity Today (h/t Alex Koppelman):
At a state level, [same-sex marriage is] up to them. I don’t want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it’s wrong. People don’t understand the dictionary — it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do — what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we’re supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they’re people, and they’re going to do their thing.
Mr. the Plumber, I think it’s you who doesn’t understand the dictionary. I give you the OED:
Although originally chiefly derogatory (and still widely considered offensive, esp. when used by heterosexual people), from the late 1980s it began to be used as a neutral or positive term (originally of self-reference, by some homosexuals; cf. QUEER NATION n.) in place of gay or homosexual, without regard to, or in implicit denial of, its negative connotations. In some academic contexts it is the preferred adjective in the study of issues relating to homosexuality (cf. queer theory n. at Special uses 2); it is also sometimes used of sexual lifestyles that do not conform to conventional heterosexual behaviour, such as bisexuality or transgenderism. [emphasis mine]
I know it’s somewhat pointless of me to point out that Joe the Plumber is stupid. We all knew that. But the thing is that he’s getting those opinions from somewhere, and folks like Christianity Today are giving him the time of day. If there are crazy people saying crazy homophobic things out there, we can write them off as loonies, but we still have to be louder.