“Anti-gay”: Rights, wrongs and everything in between
Posted by Ron Coleman on November 23, 2008
THOUGHTS ON gay rights and the G.O.P.’s future: “It’s not that we’re likely to crack more than 35% of the gay vote (well, maybe 40%). But, to win back the suburbs, Republicans can’t alienate suburbanites. And anti-gay attitudes don’t resonate with families who have known gay people in college –and maybe even in the workplace–and even in their own families.” Sounds right to me.
Yeah sounds right, unless you think about it.. even a little. Then it sounds absolutely chilling, even if Gay Patriot himself doesn’t put chillingly.
Guess what: Notwithstanding the antique Jerry Falwell image of cultural conservatives painted in the media — including the libertarian blogosphere — the vast majority of cultural conservatives are not “anti-gay” any more than they’re “anti-black.” We know homosexuals … gays, yes… and blacks. We’re friends with gays and blacks. And regarding gays In the 21st century, few but the most hopeless paleoconservatives, fundamentalists of mainly non-Judeo-Christian stripes, and, well, weirdos have any interest in busting into bedrooms and getting any bit involved in what goes on behind closed doors.
But this is not the issue. Conservatives are labeled “anti-gay” because people don’t know that some of our best friends — really — are gay. And here Glenn Reynolds is not writing like a law professor, but like, well, a libertarian blogger. But, in fact:
Regarding civil rights of blacks, it was not enough to say that they could be “tolerated” for being black. It was and is a moral imperative to ensure that blacks received every legal right and benefit under the law that any other American received. Beyond that, we can agree to disagree as to specific policies and goals to address America’s legacy of racism, but on fundamentals, in our time there is no disagreement.
It’s different for gays. Yes, it is. Gays are not asking for the same rights as everyone else, no matter how much they jump up and down and threaten to hold their breath till they turn blue. It is not mere semantics to say “we want the same right to marry whom we love as straights have”; it is a fundamentally different, new, radical, revolutionary right that they want — the right to change the word very concept of marriage to include “marrying whomever they love,” whereas until just right now it has meant, semantically and legally, the right to join in matrimony with a person of the opposite sex.
This is not an argument about whether they should be entitled to that right. If Instapundit and the rest of the decidedly irreligious rightosphere believes that gays should be entitled to a new right — the right to same-sex marriage — let them say so, as many do. But conservatives are entitled to insist that this right be acknowledged, debated and addressed as new, radical and different, not — as its advocates insist in utter disregard of intellectual honesty — the axiomatically, morally-mandated extension of basic civil rights to gays comparable to ending the ban on miscegenation. It is not that.
Don’t call me anti-gay because I refuse to cede the basic right to call a radical shift in meaning, morals and law what it is when evaluating it as a prospective policy. Don’t tell me that you’re defriending me because I refuse to hop on the PC bandwagon and pretend that black is not only white, but never was anything but, and that democracy has nothing to say about how this change in policy must come about.
Don’t tell me on the one hand that Sarah Palin represents the know-nothing wing within conservatism, and that to survive politically we have to nonetheless know nothing, say nothing and see nothing about a politically-orchestrated campaign to corner the moral market, as was attempted with less success on abortion, on a controversial topic that is controversial, that is entitled to controversy and about which reasonable men of every inclination are entitled to disagree.
Don’t tell me it sounds right to you if you’re getting behind refusing to acknowledge that there are real issues here; that conservatives who don’t “get it” are to be painted as the Nazis of our time; that those urbanites and college kids are going to teach me a thing or two about tolerance by refusing to tolerate my right to have a view and advocate it and stand on principal and the last vestiges of a once-great culture.
That sounds pretty bad to me.