Earlier today, I posted a piece about the astonishing immaturity displayed on Keith Oberman’s program, where the host and a commentator spent several minutes joking about breast implants and asserting that she used to be a man.
Wesley M., of In My Copious Free Time, has a number of thoughts about the serious harm that these “supporters” do to the cause of gay marriage:
The only thing dumber than MSNBC allowing a segment like this to even air on a news network is the idea that these two guys actually believe Perez Hilton’s tirades — and segments like this — are “a real win for this cause.” I’ve already written how tactics like this almost cost the pro-gay marriage side my own vote against Proposition 8, and I’m one of the last people they ever should have had to worry about losing:
I’ve lived in the gay ghetto of a major city. I’ve owned a small business with a gay partner. Part of the first date my wife and I had involved her taking me to a fabulous gay coffee shop in West Hollywood as a test of how tolerant I was. (I passed.) I’ve even kept my cool and gently talked down a drunken homosexual as his fingers tried to do the walking down my pants. (Sloppy drunks come in all sexual persuasions.) And two of the best parents I know are a lesbian couple, and raising a young son who is a joy to behold. So, I give no ground to anyone when it comes to my anti-homophobe street cred.And still, they almost lost my vote. That takes real talent. Or something else that I’m not sure what to call.
We’ve reached the point where those of us on my side of the gay marriage issue, if we want to avoid a backlash of our own making, need a remedial primer on how we lose, and how we lose again. I’ve said most of this before, and so have others, but it obviously needs to be said again. So…
When we let a foul-mouthed caricature like Perez Hilton become the spokesman for our cause, we lose. And when we defend that foul-mouthed caricature for using rhetoric that we would call hate speech if it came from the other side, we lose again.
When we label Miss California Carrie Prejean as a bigot (and worse) for calmly answering a question about gay marriage rather than calmly saying that she’s wrong, and here’s why, we lose. And when we then say that President Barack Obama, by opposing gay marriage on religious grounds, is somehow actually being inclusive, we show a level of hypocrisy that those Americans we need to win over will see as far worse than any level of hypocrisy we’re trying to point out on the part of Miss California. And we lose again.
Here’s the thing: I support gay marriage for a number of reasons- 1) my basic life’s philosophy is that if you aren’t impacting the rights of someone else, the law shouldn’t get a say in what you do or don’t; 2) I think that gay marriage, like straight marriage, has a number of societal benefits that we should encourage (married people are generally better citizens, more productive, less dependant, etc- I see no reason that this would be different for gays than straights.); 3) I feel genuine sympathy to someone who would like to have their relationship recognized, share the benefits of marriage, etc, but can’t due to whatever accident of genetics or otherwise that makes their sexuality fall outside of the mainstream.
But here’s the (actual) thing: I so don’t have a dog in this fight. None. I live in a state that constitutionally outlawed gay marriage by a near absurd 81% popular vote- that’s not going to change anytime soon. I’m very straight and very married. I don’t even really have any friends with dogs in the fight (there’s no discriminatory reason there- I’ve had a lot of gay friends in the past, it’s just with law school and having been married for a while now, a lot of folks just haven’t found their ways into my life of late. Also, I don’t exactly go around collecting friends of various demographics just to have them.) So, I’m basically just sitting on the sidelines watching all this go down like I’m watching a movie. And, if I’m watching a movie, it’s pretty clear which characters most represent the heroes, and which ones represent the douchbag that will get his in the end.
Even though I don’t agree with their position, I somehow feel like cheering when the anti-gay marriage people get a win, just because I wind up, again and again, liking them so much better.