Editorial: Anti-gay comments paint a troubling picture
At the end of Oscar Wilde’s novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” the eternally youthful title character, after decades of hiding a depraved and malevolent nature made visible only through a festering decayed portrait of himself, takes a knife to the painting – bringing the decrepit ugliness of his true character back to its corporeal being, for all the world to see, and to know, and to impugn.
People around here have a habit of taking a knife to their own disheveled portraits, from time to time, as well.
The latest piercing made headlines last week in Lorna Sheridan’s story (“Developers Face Local Backlash Over LGBTQ Views,” April 19) with the surfacing of 5-year-old gay-bashing social media posts of developer Stacy Mattson who, with her husband Ken, both of Piedmont, in the past three years has shelled out $80 million to acquire more than two dozen properties throughout Sonoma Valley. Stacy Mattson’s anti-gay Facebook observations posted in 2013 and 2015 were eyebrow raising, at best, in a city that admirably embraces the diversities in gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture and lifestyle that can, at times, make Sonoma one of the greatest places on earth.
At worst, her comments were shameful – specifically her 2013 post about a gay marriage ceremony that was part of that year’s Rose Bowl Parade, in which she conveyed her “disgust” of the event being “hijacked by the gay agenda” and, she said, “the last thing I want to see in the parade is promotion of sin by being forced to watch a gay marriage ceremony.”
In those words is conveyed a callousness toward others that is troubling to many Sonomans.
Equally concerning to those unsettled by her Rose Bowl remarks, is that the Mattsons have partnered as part of LeFever-Mattson in multiple Sonoma Valley real estate acquisitions with Tim LeFevre, a Sacramento lobbyist who has sought rollbacks in gay and transgender rights.
Whatever is this “gay agenda” some folks fear so much, one wishes they’d meet the loving, giving, fun LGBTQ-plus community of Sonoma – and those of other cities in the United States and the world over; they’re part of the indelible fabric of 21st century society.
The outrage Stacy Matton’s sentiments inspired was earned; the condemnations of those sentiments warranted.
However, caution should be taken before anyone transfer their disdain for two thoughtless online statements onto any person as a whole. To paraphrase someone who knew a thing or two about putting human foibles into perspective, let those who are without sin cast the first stone. Or, in this case, those who haven’t Facebooked something stupid cast the first thumbs-down emoji.
Simply, most of us would find it pretty unfair to be defined solely by the worst things we’ve ever said, when usually there’s a level of humanity in all of us to help balance the scales.
Don’t make the same mistake the posts make – judging people too quickly, too harshly.
That said, a common theme has risen in the course of the discussion of the Mattson posts – and it’s potentially more disconcerting than the content of the posts themselves.
In an April 18 statement, in response to the impending I-T story about the anti-gay posts, the Mattsons touched upon the “proud history” of Sonoma’s inclusiveness. “As new owners (of the business we have purchased in Sonoma), we have insisted that this history of inclusion continue,” Ken Mattson wrote. “We also know that a truly diverse community benefits from the discussion of a broad range of ideas. We hope that all our guests, clients and employees will join in on this discussion.”