Archive for September 26th, 2007

Readers swear they’re not closet homosexuals

Recently, Candorville brought up something that’s become a phenomenon: stridently anti-gay Republican politicians who turn out to be gay themselves. Some readers responded to that as people often do — with irrational fear.

From a very religious Candorville reader (an excerpt):

I oppose same-sex marriage and I believe my reasons are very logical and not hypocritical at all, but I doubt you’d agree. In every society, every culture, every country, throughout all time, marriage has been commonly accepted as being between a man and a woman and usually involving procreation. Same-sex marriage, then, is an aberration, something unnatural and abnormal. It messes with the basic building blocks of humanity–the nuclear family–which therefore also makes it dangerous. I don’t oppose it because I’m against homosexuals having fun or being happy, I oppose it because I’m convinced it’s damaging to humanity. For me to hold that belief and not do anything about it, THAT would be hypocritical. I’m sure I’ve enraged you by now, but I sincerely believe that with my whole heart. And I’m not a closet homosexual.

I could respond to this by saying that someone who’s a closet homosexual, by definition, is not going to admit he’s a closet homosexual, but that would be kind of flippant. I could respond by saying there’s no actual data to show same-sex marriage impacts “the nuclear family” in any way (I could add that gay people aren’t going to stop being gay and become Ozzy and Harriet, no matter how many anti-gay laws are passed). But people ruled by fear are rarely moved by data, or by its absence. I could argue that “common acceptance,” no matter how deeply rooted, doesn’t dictate what’s natural or normal, since slavery, for instance, was commonly accepted for millenia. But that risks becoming an argument about analogy, and all analogies break down at some point.

The notion that gay people enjoying the same rights the rest of us enjoy would somehow harm us and “mess with” the nuclear family is based on nothing but fear, and it’s just plain ridiculous that people are fixated on that when there are so many more real threats to the nuclear family out there. Crime, unemployment, housing costs, health insurance, presidents who don’t think poor KIDS should have health insurance…

Steve and Jamaal choosing to marry each other doesn’t affect my marriage, your marriage, or anyone’s marriage, but the financial, security and political dangers arrayed against us do. Poverty, or even milder financial insecurity, tears marriages apart. Domestic violence and crime tear marriages apart. You want to worry about something, worry about that.

But that argument turns into a rant and I’m sure “common acceptance guy” would just turn off halfway through. Maybe I’ll just let the guys from one of my favorite shows respond for me. I think they know better than I do how to tell homophobes that there are far more tangible threats on which they should focus their fears.

Um… sorry, wrong clip. Here’s the one I meant to post: