It's as if Orson Scott Card hasn't gotten the message of his own greatest work, Ender's Game, where the main character learns to tolerate people different from himself. The sci-fi writer's best-known work is widely read in Silicon Valley, a region full of people who pride themselves on their distinct talents and quirks. And for good reason. Ender's Game is a tale of a child, surrounded by bullies on Earth, plucked by a secret selection committee to train in space for interstellar warfare. Can you think of a more perfect metaphor for the entrepreneur who packs his bags for Silicon Valley, raises money for his brilliant idea, and becomes a tech superstar? Silicon Valley's startup scene is Ender's Battle School, with armies of programmers and natural gravity.I have to think Card's work also resonated with another demographic of kids who felt set apart from the crowd: Gay teenagers. Which makes Card's antigay screed, published in the Mormon Times, all the more hurtful. Card, a practicing Mormon, says he's against gay marriage. But he's really against gays, period — and thinks we should overturn the U.S. government to put his views into practice.
No matter how sexually attracted a man might be toward other men, or a woman toward other women, and no matter how close the bonds of affection and friendship might be within same-sex couples, there is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a man and a woman. This is a permanent fact of nature.
If Card really meant "the same as," I'd actually find that statement hard to disagree with; there are aspects of gay relationships which differ from straight ones. But what Card really means is that gay relationships are not as good as straight ones — and that's just hateful. AfterElton.com, in an editorial, deftly shreds Card's argument to pieces. It mostly makes me feel sad to see such a brilliant imaginer of worlds incapable of empathy on such a basic issue. So what does this mean for Ender's Game, which Marvel is now turning into a comic-book series, after which a big Hollywood movie seems inevitable? It is a surpassingly fine work. Though the hero is schooled for warfare, he ultimately learns empathy for those who are different. Perhaps Card should read it himself.