I must begin by saying that I do not seek respect for the gay community. Far too often, the gay community has been spoiled, immature, ignorant, and yes, purely anti-family. I don’t seek to apologize for these people. In return, I ask that you do not judge me along with them. I ask to be considered as an individual–not as a member of some shadowy, vaguely-defined gay community.
The gay community is the receptacle, Mr. Olson, of all the stereotypes you have ever subconsciously absorbed (and in fairness, it serves the same function for me): It is the place where rights disappear and where humanity evaporates. Only by looking at individuals do we gain a proper understanding of individual rights. And the right to recognition for our long-term intimate relations is certainly an individual right. It does not belong to the gay community–or to any community. It belongs to you and I as individuals.
If I need to prove myself to you, then I will: Scott and I have been in a stable relationship for six years–and legally married for the last year and a half. We own property, work, pay taxes, and contribute to our community in many valuable ways. Yet even the worst straight couples, couples composed of criminals and derelicts, get rights that we do not.
Conservatives may not care to look to closely at gay people, but even in the gay community–even in that scary gay community that you do not want to respect–a quiet change has been taking place. It’s been brought on by the reality marriage itself. Suddenly people like Scott and I are the role models, sometimes even for men twenty or thirty years our seniors. To be devoted to one another, to love and support one another our entire natural lives–This now is the goal of gay people as never before.
It isn’t social engineering. It’s a revolution.
The role models are no longer the porn stars, the gym bunnies, the drugged-out club kids, the angry sexual liberationists (who are, by the way, the most unsexy people in the world). Married couples and stable relationships have never been so admired in our little segment of humanity, and it’s a trend that I hope will continue.
You claim that you don’t want to give us your respect, Mr. Olson. But why not? Surely you must approve of what we are doing. Or would you prefer homosexuals to be more degenerate rather than less?
Go read the rest of it, please, and remind yourself again why Positive Liberty is a must-read blog. The Olson post was actually in response to my post about Bush backing away from the gay marriage plan, but I’m afraid that Mr. Olson has misunderstood a good deal of what I wrote. For instance, I made the argument that the Republican leadership (the political leaders, not the ideological leaders) probably don’t really want to see either an amendment passed to ban gay marriage, or to see Roe v. Wade overturned because it would take away a major issue with which they can scare their followers. And I noted that fear is the lifeblood of politics, that people win elections by manipulating people’s fears, especially their fear of “Them”. Olson replied to that argument with this:
Now an amendment takes a lot of political will to pass, 2/3 of Senate + House then it goes to the states. Overturning Roe v Wade requires a judiciary which will not sqawk when laws overturning it are written. I’m no expert, but I’ve heard no estimates that indicate either is a realistic possibility. The Partial-Birth ban passed, but enforcement is currently jammed in the courts. A more ambitious law likely would not fair much better. Drumming up support by emphasizing your differences is a definition of politics. Calling it exploiting people’s fear of them is just a rhetorical ploy.
Olson misses the point of my argument completely. Of course it takes enormous political will to pass a constitutional amendment, but it took precisely the same amount of will to attempt it before the election as it takes after the election. So why was Bush pushing the amendment before the election and not after? Surely the chances of it passing after the election, with the addition of 5 Republican seats in the Senate, are better than they were before the election. Yet before the election, when it was less likely to pass, he was all for it and now, after the election, he doesn’t really care to push it. Why the change in attitude?
The difference is that before the election, he was trying to get people to vote for him. He no longer has that need, as he is no longer running for office. And that supports my contention that he doesn’t actually want to pass the amendment, he just wanted to raise the issue in an election campaign to garner votes through the use of fear. The rhetorical ploy, Mr. Olson, was the dog and pony show put on by a Republican leadership last summer and fall when they knew it had no chance whatsoever of passing, yet they brought it up for multiple votes. This conscious decision was made because the vote could be put to good political use. It allowed both the President and the Congressional Republican candidate to say, “my opponent voted three times against an amendment to protect the sacred institution of marriage against the militant homosexual agenda”, and thereby tell people that if they voted for the good guys, they’d stop the bad guys.
This is very standard political reasoning, engaged in by both political parties routinely. The job of a campaign manager is to make sure that people vote for their candidate; the best way to insure that they do is to scare the hell out of them, to have their candidate positioned as the brave leader standing firmly in the breach to stop the invading horde that will destroy our way of life. 30 years ago, the invading horde was the communists; now it’s gay people or “pagans”. The difference, of course, is that the communist threat was real and this one is entirely fictional. I can’t imagine why you would think that such calculation is not at work here. If you really think that political campaigns don’t make decisions of this nature, then you are precisely the sort of person who is easy pickings for the manipulative tactics that they employ.
It should also be pointed out that Olson’s argument that gay marriage is “social engineering” that has had terrible effects where it has been tried, based upon Stanley Kurtz’ claim that gay marriage in Scandinavia has damaged marriage there, is simply false. At best, it is a post hoc argument that shows correlation and no causation. At worst, it is falsified merely by looking at the data on marriage from those nations that have legalized gay marriage. Dr. Lee Badgett has thoroughly debunked Kurtz’ thesis on a number of grounds (see here and here) and points out that the rates of marriage in Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden are all higher after gay marriages or civil unions were allowed than they were before. She also points out that the rates of out-of-wedlock births, which Kurtz absurdly claims went up in those nations because of gay marriage, rose at the same rate in the same time period in surrounding nations that didn’t pass gay marriage, and that those rates rose more slowly after gay marriage than before it. So Olson’s argument in this regard, which he admits was based on a vague recollection of “studies done in Scandinavia” that he remembers seeing on an anti-gay marriage website, is simply false and unsupported by any logical inference from the statistical evidence.