[Note: The original poster has since changed her mind on this issue. –shy]
I hate the term homophobia.
Here’s the definition from dictionary.com: intense hatred or fear of homosexuals or homosexuality.
That’s all fine and good. It’s a real thing and there are people who definitely fit those characteristics.
However, let me tell you something vitally important: opposing gay marriage or not supporting a homosexual cause does not automatically make you homophobic by definition!
Pro-life people don’t call the pro-choice position pedophobia (fear of babies and children) or tokophobia (fear of childbirth). Why? Because that’s not what their position is about. They’re not fearful of the other position and they don’t intensely hate pregnant women or fetuses necessarily.
So why is it that someone who won’t make a wedding cake for a gay couple is called a homophobe? Is he fearful of the gay couple or their lifestyle? In most cases, no (if he were, feel free to call him that). Does he intensely hate the gay couple or their lifestyle? Again, in most cases, no. But they have a religious opposition to it and they are obeying their God. Whether or not you think they should be allowed to deny service doesn’t matter, the fact is that you’re calling them names simply because of their beliefs and your insult is probably not even accurate.
By definition, though, a phobia is an irrational fear or aversion. So by calling those who disagree with your position homophobic, you are automatically chalking their opinion up to an irrational fear when, in fact, most people are not frightened of homosexuals or homosexuality. You’re implying that their position is based on irrationality and that there is no logic to it. Basically, you’re name calling.
If you want people who oppose gay marriage to respect your opinion, you have to respect theirs. Disagreement isn’t irrationality. Calling those who disagree with you a name that basically implies that they’re stupid for believing what they believe is bullying.
I’m not going to share my opinions on gay marriage. They’re irrelevant. I just intensely dislike the word “homophobia” because it’s insulting to a group of people who may have some valid concerns if you stopped name calling and listened.
In order to find a middle ground, you have to respect both opinions. I believe a middle ground is possible. So people on both sides, stop being bullies and start respecting each other.