The DeMaio Lie

What some of us could see all along; the smear campaign against openly gay San Diego congressional candidate Carol DeMaio a Republican, was all a lie, and one that cost him the election (he had been leading in the polls against his Democratic opponent before the smear was unleashed; he lost by a razor-thin margin). So, in a campaign characterized by the LGBT left’s vehement opposition to DeMaio, partisan dirty tricks cost us an openly gay GOP congressman.

As I’ve said before, because it’s true, the worst nightmare of LGBT progressives is that the GOP should become less anti-gay.

Just a Matter of Time

More evidence that conservative support for same-sex marriage is growing:

A 2014 Pew poll found that 61 percent of Republicans under 30 support gay marriage.

According to Data Science polling, 64 percent of self-identifying Evangelical Millennials support same-sex marriage.

And the most recent survey of incoming freshman at UCLA found that 44.3 percent of students who considered themselves “far right” believed same-sex couples should have the right to legally marry, while 56.6 percent of “conservatives” believed the same.

Which may be why anti-gay-marriage activist Maggie Gallagher, in her latest missive, sounds like an alienated and bitter self-outcast.

More. She’s not alone among social conservative activists, of course. The Heritage Foundation seems to be getting even more anti-gay. Their latest: My Father Was Gay. Why I Oppose Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage.. This sentence, in quotation marks, apparently can be found nowhere on the Internet except in articles by this author:

Statements like this are lies: “Permitting same-sex couples (now also throuples) access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.”

Heritage, it seems, is on a roll. Now they’re claiming that same-sex marriage will cause 900,000 abortions. Desperation tactics.

Furthermore. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely GOP presidential contender, may not support same-sex marriage, but he attended the reception when his wife’s cousin was married to her partner. The Walker’ then-19-year-old son, Alex, served as a witness and signed his name to the marriage certificate. Generational change.

Many Lean Libertarian, But Parties Remain Polarized

Pollster Nate Silver finds that 22% of Americans favor gay marriage and oppose income redistribution, indicating libertarian views. He explains:

Why should views on (for example) gay marriage, taxation, and U.S. policy toward Iran have much of anything to do with one another? The answer is that it suits the Democratic Party and Republican Party’s mutual best interest to articulate clear and opposing positions on these issues and to present their platforms as being intellectually coherent. The two-party system can come under threat (as it potentially now is in the United Kingdom) when views on important issues cut across party lines.

And he adds, “the rigidly partisan views of political elites should not be mistaken for the relatively malleable and diverse ones that American voters hold.”

These voters, aside from the small, diehard Libertarian Party folks, generally fall into the independent camp. They swing to the Democrats when the Republicans seem too socially conservative, and to the Republicans when the Democrats seem to be pushing too much big government spending and intrusiveness. Nevertheless, the left/right partisan polarization seems to be getting worse.

David Boaz, author of The Libertarian Mind, shares more thoughts on Silver’s findings .

Libertarians and Religious Freedom

Christian conservatives aren’t the only defenders of religious free-association laws, according to the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn, in his column Indiana’s Libertarian Moment (it’s behind a firewall so google “Indiana’s Libertarian Moment” site:wsj.com). McGurn notes that:

Today the strongest arguments for protecting the right of, say, an evangelical Christian baker to decline baking a cake for a gay wedding are not coming from religious leaders or social conservatives. They are coming from libertarians, many if not most of whom themselves support same-sex marriage.

Take New York University’s Richard Epstein, who is arguably America’s leading libertarian law professor. Mr. Epstein supports gay marriage on the grounds that, because the government has a monopoly on marriage licenses, it shouldn’t use this monopoly to withhold these licenses from couples who are gay.

But Mr. Epstein doesn’t stop here. He further argues that the same freedom of association requires that the law not be used to coerce those who disagree with gay marriage.

In addition:

Mr. Epstein is not the only libertarian to speak out. … Matt Welch, editor of Reason magazine, puts it this way:

“The bad news, for those of us on the suddenly victorious side of the gay marriage debate, is that too many people are acting like sore winners, not merely content with the revolutionary step of removing state discrimination against same-sex couples in the legal recognition of marriage, but seeking to use state power to punish anyone who refuses to lend their business services to wedding ceremonies they find objectionable.”

McGurn concludes:

For…social conservatives, the question is more fundamental: Will they retain sufficient freedom to live their lives and run their institutions in accord with their faith?

The irony of Indiana suggests that it may be the libertarians who have the strongest arguments for defending them.

Many LGBT people have libertarian inclinations, but the activists who dominate LGBT political lobbies tend to identify as part of the broad progressive-left movement. And activist progressives dominate LGBT media and comment boards, where they can act as enforcers of ideological conformism.

More. On libertarians and the electorate, David Boaz takes on Paul Krugman.

Gay Executions and American Diplomacy

Log Cabin Republicans have taken out a full page ad in Roll Call criticizing the Iran nuclear negotiations, reports the Washington Blade. The ad states: “Right now Iran is executing gay people and people merely suspected of being gay,” and that “Human rights can’t be ignored in these negotiations.”

Despite belittling by LGBT team Obama, raising human rights issues has a long history when negotiating with despots. For instance, Jewish American groups successfully advocated that U.S. diplomats address the repression of Soviet Jews during cold war negotiations with the Soviet Union.

While it’s undoubtedly true that the Log Cabin Republicans wouldn’t have run such as ad with a GOP president, it’s also true that LGBT Democrats won’t make an issue of this with a Democrat in the White House. Partisan? Sure. But also a matter that should be receiving far more attention than it is.

More. Missing in action: American feminists, whose remain overwhelmingly silent on Iran’s repression of women. Related: why Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not a feminist hero.

Non-political Actors: A Theory

I don’t know or care a lot about whether this actor from “Empire” is gay or not.  His non-reaction to a general sense that he is gay seems like a replay of what we went through with Sean Hayes back in the day.

But I have to say I think I can understand the reluctance of some young actors to be publicly and irrevocably identified as homosexual.

It’s not because of the closet — at least not these days.  Whether or not we’ve reached critical mass on gay acceptance, it is clear to most people in Hollywood that it is not only possible to be openly homosexual and have a successful career, it can even get you some favorable press.  In any event, we are long past the days of Rock Hudson.

The bigger challenge for a gay celebrity these days in coming out is the fear of being commandeered by the gay political establishment as the Latest Model.

For the last half century or so, lesbians and gay men have had to live in an artificially politicized world for the simple reason that the laws that were so harmful to us needed to be challenged by someone, and it pretty much had to be us.  Very few heterosexuals worried about having sodomy laws used to blackmail them, and it took a generation of constant effort to get people to see that the lack of legal recognition for our relationships was, in fact, a problem for us.  Those efforts have paid off in record time.

But here’s a fact that a lot of politically active people don’t always understand.  Many people didn’t want to be political, or didn’t have the inclination in that direction.  All those years of yelling, “Out of the bars and into the streets!” were a recognition of that fact.  At lot of people did get out of the bars and into the streets, but it was only because they were persuaded how vitally important that was.

Once established, political activism can become just another bureaucracy fighting for its own continued existence.  That’s perfectly fine for those who live for controversy and grievance.

But what if that’s not your thing?  In a world where sexual orientation is far better understood (though there are notable exceptions), lawyers and postal workers and bakers and nurses have the luxury of leading lives as private as they choose.  For actors or others in the orbit of celebrityhood, though, a certain amount of publicity is their oxygen.  It’s also the oxygen of the activists, who tend to resent the closet because they have to respect it.  Outing has always been controversial because it violated that necessary respect in a context where being openly gay would have the most value.

But we have a more than adequate supply of good, great and even superlative role models who are openly homosexual now.  The almost unbelievable progress we have made in both improving the law and opening the culture has broken through the silence that equalled death and a multitude of other gruesome, painful and noxious consequences.

Which is why I’m willing to give celebrities who want to avoid being coopted by the gay political establishment a break. There are actual gay politicians now, the professionals in this sport.  And there are enough high-profile homosexual celebrities that we don’t need every actor out there to publicly declare and risk conscription.

The Dish (cont.)

Count me as someone who would like to see The Dish continue after Andrew Sullivan’s retirement.  I have been reading Andrew for as long as he’s been published, and have been a happy Dish Head since its first day.  I don’t pay directly for much on the Internet, but his site has been well worth my time and money.

Andrew is a hard and deep thinker, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than reading something of his that I am inclined to disagree with to see if he can change my mind.  Sometimes he has (the Clintons’ lust for power), sometimes not (NFL concussions), and sometimes I’m left suspended in mid-air (Trig Palin).

But there’s a less discussed aspect to The Dish that I would like to see survive him.  Over the years, it has developed into what would have been called, in an earlier time, a salon.  A great deal of Dishness happens when Andrew steps aside and just serves as the host for a vivacious discussion among well-informed and highly interesting voices.

My guess is that this is not something he is able to achieve on his own.  The staff at The Dish has developed a keen judgment about what things are worth my time.  And that includes not only thoughtful and sometimes dyspeptic argument, but also the invaluable Mental Health Breaks, the cream of dog and cat videos, and the Sunday Sermons that are better than anything I remember from any Catholic priest I ever had to listen to.

Even without Andrew, I think that sensibility can continue.  I know it is something I rely on, and possibly am addicted to.  The Dish filters out much of the Internet’s toxicity.  We are all going to need sites with that kind of judgment in the years to come.  I’m ready to continue supporting the people who are doing that job so well right now, if they are willing.

Everybody Loves Us

This strikes me as very foolish.  A gay and lesbian crowdsourcing group called All Out has pressured Google Translate to remove any words that “gay” could be translated as which are offensive.  If I’m understanding this correctly, lesbians and gay men who encounter speakers of another language and rely on Google Translate will only receive politically acceptable words and phrases.

There are times, I admit, when it would be nice to live in the bubble of wonderfulness these folks envision.  But if someone from Saudi Arabia, say, is calling me a faggot, I’d like to know that.  It’s possible he would offer up other cues that would make the point, but all the same language matters, and sometimes it matters most when it is offensive.

Potemkin VIle

What are politicians who oppose marriage equality defending any more?

We know what they say they have in mind: the mechanical litany of protecting the right of children to have two biologically related parents; some version of Christian values; the independence of the people’s will against unelected judges; and the right of a state to define family relations. Each of those has some appeal, and some merit.

But Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard revealed a gap in the politics that should ease those who are jittery about the coming Supreme Court case. After a federal court last week struck down Alabama’s prohibition on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, Hubbard said, “It is outrageous when a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge can overturn the will of millions of Alabamians who stand in firm support of the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.”

Chris Geidner helpfully pointed out that, far from multiple millions, less than 700,000 Alabamians voted for the amendment. And that’s out of a population of 4.8 million.

This does not mean marriage equality is popular in Alabama. But you can’t deny that 4.1 million Alabamians did not weigh in on the sanctity of marriage. A lot of them weren’t registered to vote, a lot probably had other things to do on voting day, and you have to assume that a lot of them just didn’t really give much of a damn about this particular issue.

It’s not unlikely that, if this decision is upheld, either on appeal or as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling next June, there will be a certain amount of discontent in Alabama, possibly more than there has been in the 36 other states whose marriage equality bans have been overturned.

But think about the magnitude of the yawn that has greeted those other decisions.

So far, the Supreme Court has only overturned one state ban on same-sex marriage, California’s. Seven million Californians passed that ban (against 6.4 million who opposed it), and the court overturned it two years ago in Hollingsworth v. Perry.

While California is a pretty blue state, it is extraordinarily hard to find any of those seven million voters who, after the court’s decision, took to the streets, stormed the courthouse doors, or even wrote letters to the editor. The decision was met by the ban’s many supporters with a shrug. All of the fear and anxiety and emotional manipulation from one of California’s ugliest initiative campaigns had been utterly forgotten. No hard feelings, who’s providing snacks for the kids’ soccer game Saturday?

And that seems to be what’s happening in the other states where bans have been falling on a weekly basis. Most people are just relieved to be getting done with this.

That might be because equality advocates have had it right from the start: this really doesn’t affect most people’s lives negatively, and the ones whose lives it does affect are positively joyous. The bans were a deeply cynical and politically timed moment in American history designed to exploit the last dying gasps of an ages-old prejudice. That spasm forced the constitutional issue, and it turns out the cynics were right in their own way. That particular form of bigotry was dying, and they timed the bans well.

This last generation of politicians still has some long-tail prejudice to cater to. But I’m feeling confident they’re going to find this snake oil doesn’t dazzle the masses the way it used to.