One Person's Opinion

A compendium of random thoughts regarding politics, society, feminism, sex, law, and anything else on my mind. POST YOUR COMMENTS BY CLICKING ON THE TIME INDICATOR BELOW THE POST YOU WISH TO COMMENT ON. RSS FEED AVAILABLE AT

Andrew Sullivan
Attorney Shopping Links
Bag and Baggage
Ernie the Attorney
Eve Tushnet
Gail Davis
How Appealing
Lehrer NewsHour
National Law Journal
National Review
New Republic
Talking Points Memo
Virginia Postrel
Volokh Conspiracy
War Liberal
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
In this sense, conservatives basically got what they deserved in Lawrence. It's one thing to say that the judiciary should not get involved where the democratic process is busy repealing these unjust laws at the urging of those who are asking the judiciary to stay out. It's quite another to quietly acquiesce and even knowingly condone the presence of these unjust laws for years and years, and then act all outraged when the judiciary intervenes and obliterates them. The Court merely did something that the right wing should have done long ago.

And why didn't the right wing do it? Simple politics. Every tolerant elite right winger knew darned well that these laws were wrong and unjust, but those same conservatives knew that some anti-gay bigots and Christian theocrats remained in their base who supported the laws. So, the only way to handle the issue was to change the subject, which they did for many years.

So why are they now putting the focus on gay marriage? I think it is more subject-changing. If conservatives opine on Lawrence, they can't win. Say it was rightly decided or, at least, that it is good that these laws are wiped out, and they alienate their base (as Jonah Goldberg has found out). Say it was wrongly decided and it looks like you are catering to anti-gay religious zealots in supporting extreme laws that are unpopular in most of America.

On the other hand, the American public isn't yet ready for gay marriage. Truly, they should be-- gay marriage is nothing more than ensuring civil equality for homosexuals, so that they don't pay higher taxes, don't get screwed in inheritance or custody disputes, aren't disallowed from visiting their lovers and life partners in the hospital, etc. But the public doesn't see it that way-- the magic word "marriage" conjures up all sorts of proto-religious attitudes that interfere with the public's recognition of the equality principle.

As I said though, the Court was absolutely clear that Lawrence was not going to lead to the recognition of gay marriage. But this is a nice spin tactic-- the Republicans are trying to change the subject from what it should be, i.e., the party's abominable decades-long tacit support of sodomy statutes, to a different area of gay rights where their position is more popular. It might work. But nobody should forget that the G.O.P. is the party that, until forced by court decision in 2003 to abandon the position, advocated throwing gays and lesbians in jail.

Now let's bring ourselves back to the title of this post. In saying all these things, the question might arise, "do you really think that anyone who morally disapproves of homosexual sex is a bigot?" No, I actually don't. From what little I know of Christian doctrine, I don't think the Biblical prohibition of it is nearly as clear or fundamental as some conservative Christians do. But I understand that people can believe this, or any other sex act, is immoral.

But it seems to me that many conservatives use this moral condemnation argument as an excuse to conceal actual bigotry towards gays and lesbians. It isn't bigoted to believe that these acts are immoral. It is bigoted to support, tacitly or openly, throwing people in jail for engaging in them. And it is disgraceful that one political party, that claims the support of almost half the American
public, has seen it profitable to cater to such bigotry for so long.

Comments: Post a Comment