Dennis Prager has a column objecting to the outing of gay conservatives that is full of his usual gaseous nonsense. I’m not entirely comfortable with outing gay conservatives myself, but the arguments Prager makes about it are just plain silly. Like this:
It is difficult to identify a more morally repellent act – outside of violence – than “outing” a gay person for political gain. Yet, those who “out” gay conservatives defend their actions – and they do so by blaming their victims. The victims deserve it, the outers contend.
I don’t think it’s difficult to identify a more morally repellant act at all; how about lying to your constituents and engaging in a sham marriage so that you can exploit anti-gay hatred and demean and dehumanize people for being exactly what you secretly are? That strikes me as far more morally repellent. The victims here are those who have had to endure a constant stream of anti-gay rhetoric and voting from the likes of Ed Schrock, who hid the fact that he was gay so he could stay in office from Pat Robertson’s congressional district and vote for every anti-gay bill that came up.
And why do gay Republicans and conservatives deserve to have the most private part of themselves revealed to the world?
Because, the activists argue, conservative gays are hypocrites, and hypocrites deserve no mercy.
But this argument is nonsensical. If the activists believe this argument, they do not think clearly. If they don’t believe it, then they “out” gay conservatives for another reason: They wish to punish gays who do not follow the leftist party line on same-sex marriage and other gay-related issues, and they wish to intimidate other non-outed gays from adopting conservative values on such matters.
And here is where Prager goes off the deep end with two mistaken assumptions. The first is that the problem with closeted gays who are anti-gay in their political views is based solely on opposition to gay marriage (that’s false); the second is that those closeted gay conservatives who have been outed actually take a sincere position against gay marriage and other gay rights issues (that’s not just false, it’s ridiculous). Thus, Prager writes:
Why is the hypocrite argument nonsense? Because it is a non sequitur. Gay opposition to same-sex marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with hypocrisy.
Why can’t a gay person oppose redefining marriage to include two people of the same sex?
Why can’t a gay person believe that it is best for children to start out life with a mother and father as opposed to two fathers and no mother or two mothers and no father?
Why does one have to be a heterosexual to make that argument?
Why is one’s value system shaped by one’s sexual orientation?
Why does the fact that one is gay and engages in homosexual behavior mean that he must advocate redefining marriage?
But upon what does he base this notion that men like Ed Schrock and David Dreier have a sincere belief against gay marriage or any other gay rights issue that they have previously advocated against? Has any outed gay legislator with an anti-gay record ever even claimed such a thing? This is an issue I’ve advocated on for a long time and I’ve never heard a single gay person take the position that gay marriage should be illegal for any of the reasons Prager suggests.
There are some gay activists, as Dale Carpenter noted recently, who are opposed to gay marriage because they view it as accepting a heterosexual paradigm of what relationships ought to be. But I’ve never heard any gay person, least of all an outed gay legislator with a track record of anti-gay advocacy, say, “Yes, I’m gay, but I still believe that gay people should not be allowed to get married or have children.” If Prager has heard anyone say such a thing, perhaps he could quote them.
And there’s a reason for that: because such ideas, all protestations by the anti-gay crowd notwithstanding, are based upon false assumptions about gay people. Regardless of whatever rationalizations they come up with, the real reason for opposition to gay marriage and gay adoption is really about one basic thing: gay people are icky and they’ll make kids icky too. You can translate that into really fancy terminology, but that’s really what it all means. Now, it’s certainly possible that a self-loathing gay man may think like that, but it’s hardly a sincere, thought out position that anyone should take seriously.
Then there’s this ridiculous statement:
Why can heterosexuals think outside their sexual orientation and advocate same-sex marriage, but homosexuals cannot think outside their sexual orientation and advocate retaining opposite-sex marriage?
Because supporting gay marriage has nothing to do with one’s orientation. Nor does opposing gay marriage intrinsically a part of a heterosexual orientation. But opposition to gay marriage, and gay rights, and gay adoption, are all intrinsically tied to a certain viewpoint about other people’s orientation. And of course, practically no one is against “retaining opposite sex marriage.” Allowing gays to get married does not eliminate straight marriage, for crying out loud. When will that idiotic claim die?