DC Comics recently announced their new digital exclusive series, “Adventures of Superman,” hyping a list of creators that would make any comic book fan excited beyond reason. Then came an additional name, one that DC had to have known would, at least, cause uproar and, at most, cause a full-on boycott.
Card is best known for his science fiction novel “Ender’s Game,” which is currently being adapted for the big screen with a release date for this November. Card is now equally known as a political commentator and outspoken opponent of homosexual behavior and the legalization of same-sex marriage. And I don’t mean that he’s the lazy type of opponent, like a distant family member who complains about “the world today” in between drinks at Thanksgiving. Card’s anti-gay stance is quite aggressive; he’s literally on the board of directors for the National Organization for Marriage, an organization whose primary goal is keeping same-sex marriage illegal. At this point it’s safe to say that Card’s legacy is equal parts sci-fi author and marriage equality opposer.
Some comic journalists, and undoubtedly hundreds (if not thousands) of comic readers don’t see the big deal. They’ll rationalize that there are tons of comic book creators whose opinions don’t match theirs, yet they still buy their comics. Some have even gone so far as to say that members of the LGBT community don’t even have a right to be angry, because Card is an author and not an activist (which, if you still think that’s true, please go back and read the previous paragraph). There are two very real reasons why Card is not fit for the job, and why everyone has a very real right to be upset.
1. Bigotry is not an opinion
Orson Scott Card’s belief that legalizing same-sex marriage will destroy our country and his insane viewpoints on the origin of homosexuality (ones that I will hide behind a link because I don’t want to type them here) are not merely opinions. They are bigotry.
Imagine if Card had previously made comments about how great segregation was, or how he believes it’s his right to own slaves. Imagine if Card had gone on lengthy diatribes about how all women should be expunged from the work force and shoved back into their kitchens, where they belong. What if Card was on the board of directors for a group dedicated to keeping interracial marriage illegal? At one point in the past, the majority of society could, disgustingly, view every single one of those statements as a valid opinion. This is where history has proven to be on the side of progress and equality, and it’s here where every argument against gay marriage and LGBT equality is obliterated. History holds the truth. So why are anti-gay beliefs so easily dismissed as mere opinions whereas similar beliefs against people of color labeled as racist and are therefore, rightfully so, looked at as reprehensible?
However politicized gay marriage has become in this country, I remain firm in my belief that it is not a political issue. Taxes are a political issue — this is a human issue. Orson Scott Card has the right to hate whomever he wants, and he has the right to fight for inequality all the livelong day. But when an opinion crosses the line into actively damaging the quality of life of a sizable chunk of the population, it becomes indefensible. It becomes bigotry.
2. His viewpoint means he cannot do the job
Orson Scott Card can write all the science fiction he wants, creating the worlds from scratch and molding new characters to fit his outlook on life. That’s his prerogative. He should not, however, be allowed to come anywhere near pre-established superheroes like Superman, who possess a single, unifying trait: an overwhelming compassion for all human beings and the desire to fight for their survival and rights. This is not a political statement. This truth goes beyond political leanings.
I know that it’s highly unlikely that Card will use his brief story to attack the LGBT community. But can you imagine Superman, the greatest champion for truth and justice, sitting on the board of NOM (National Organization for Marriage)? Can you imagine Superman saving a gay couple’s lives on their wedding day and then, while looking them in the eye, telling them they’re an abomination? Writers seldom have everything in common with their characters. I’m sure Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan love Mexican food as much as Deadpool, but would probably think twice about inflicting the level of physical violence the character dishes out monthly. I don’t expect writers to share the darker aspects of the characters they write. I do, however, like to think that the writers look up to, relate to and hopefully strive to emulate the very best qualities of the characters they write. I cannot imagine that Orson Scott Card, believing the things he believes, can ever put himself firmly into Superman’s mindset as a protector of the human race.
When you think about it, Card’s views about the LGBT community are actually more akin to those of a super villain. He has a good bit of his heart devoted to hate, judgment and derision. He opposes progress and equality. He literally sits on the board of an organization whose entire reason for existing is restricting the rights of other human beings. This is the man that is writing a Superman story?
This entire fiasco wouldn’t be so WTF Certified if DC hadn’t gone to such great lengths to court the LGBT community and push our culture towards equality and acceptance. DC Comics still publishes “Batwoman,” the only comic with a gay lead at either of the big two. They regularly introduce gay characters into their ensembles. They have Gail Simone on the payroll, a writer who is the biggest proponent for diversity and LGBT activist in comics, in addition to being one of the best writers in the business. How big of a draw is Orson Scott Card that DC is fine with contradicting al the great work they’re doing? Are there no other big names out there to court? It’s a good bet that Card was hired so a trade paperback of “Adventures of Superman” with his name on it would be on the shelves in time for the “Ender’s Game” film’s release. But really, is there no one else you can try for, maybe one whose bigoted beliefs don’t contradict so many things you’re trying to accomplish?
There will, of course, be boycotts and petitions, but I don’t think those are worthwhile methods of protest. Instead, I encourage people who choose to boycott this issue to donate to the Human Rights Campaign. It’s important that everyone, from the fans to the journalists to the comic companies, realize that supporting human equality isn’t something we can pick and choose with. Bigotry is not an opinion, and bigotry is not something that our superheroes would defend.