July 04, 2004

In Context

Just so no one misunderstands where he's coming from, here's the entire transcript of Senator Rick Santorum's (R-Pennsylvania) interview with AP where he weighs in on homosexuality, which he equates with bigamy, polygamy, incest, sodomy, and adultery as sexual activities that undermine the institution of marriage and, consequently, the society as a whole.

So, where to begin?

First of all, there are actually many instances of viable and often thriving societies built on bigamy & polygamy, so we can dismiss those from this discussion. Sodomy in and of itself becomes problematic within the context of his argument because, unless he's planning on outlawing anal sex among consenting heterosexual couples as well, then you get into a civil rights violation because you're not providing equal protection under the law to all groups.

Which leaves us with incest, adultery, and homosexuality. Well, there are biological and health reasons why incest is illegal, not to mention the psychological trauma from cross generational sexual activities within the same family (think Chinatown - "she's my sister! My daughter! My sister AND my daughter!"), so, yes, it creates emotionally unstable people which leads to an unstable society. And, because it often involves people who cannot give consent because they're underaged, there's a strong civic reason to outlaw incest.

Adultery is a bit thornier. Clearly, it undermines society because it creates emotionally unstable people, hence the term "Crime of Passion". But, since it involves consenting adults, the act in and of itself doesn't actually injure or damage anyone directly, so it probably doesn't meet the test for being made illegal. But it does constitute a breach of contract, which is why adultery is often figured into divorce proceedings in terms of asset allocation.

But, in the case of homosexuality, no one is being injured. No contracts have been breached (unless one of them is married). No crime has been committed (unless one of them is underaged). So, what are the grounds upon which you base such a decision as to make homosexual acts a crime?

The only thing that the anti-gay lobby can use against them is that gay couples can't give birth without outside assistance, like adoption, surrogates, in vitro fertilization, etc. But, there are plenty of married heterosexual couples who can't either. Should it be illegal for a couple to have sex, for instance, after the woman has undergone menopause?

There is no legal precedent to stand on, other than the fact that Sen. Santorum finds homosexual activities repugnant.

At the end of the day, it's bigotry.

And I'd respect him and others like him more if they would just admit that they don't like them.

And the Bible isn't really an adaquate excuse either. The same section of Leviticus that says a man shouldn't lay with another man because it's a hateful act also says that you shouldn't shave your beard. Why choose to observe one and not the other?

Again, bigotry.

Here's What They Think About You

For those of you who don't know, Andrew Sullivan is a center/left columnist who's work appears primarily in The New Republic. Although he claims to be a progressive, he's been a really aggressive supporter of President Bush, largely because he drank the Bush Kool-Aid that his International Crazy-Man act has actually made America safer from terrorist threats.

And just how many nuclear secrets did our buddies in Pakistan sell while we were wasting our time with Iraq? But I digress.

Sullivan is also gay, so, as you can imagine, he and a whole host of log cabin Republicans have been experiencing a tad bit of cognitive dissonance over this whole "constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage" thing. Amazingly enough, according to his blog, Sullivan & Co. were actually able to maintain a level of plausible deniability right up until the moment Bush actually came out in support of the Amendment.

Now, both he and others like him are facing a fact that most of their friends on the other side of the political spectrum have been telling them all along.

The Republican Party hates you.

And no matter how much you agree with them on other issues, no matter how many times you vote for them, no matter how much campaigning you do for them, no matter how much they pat you on the head like good little boys for a job well done, the words of the incomparable Adolph Caesar, aka Sgt. Waters, in "A Soldier's Story" remain a fact of life:

"They still hate you. They - still - HATE - you"

What I found the most interesting in looking at his blog is the sheer volume of astonished former Bush supporters. And, to a man, they've almost all said that they've looked past Bush's fiscal mismanagement of the nation's treasury because they were so scared after 9/11 and the President made them feel safe. Despite all the prior evidence to the contrary, they trusted him right up until the moment that he spat in their faces.

Of course, for those who had their world view altered by 9/11, I suppose they didn't have much choice but to trust him. After all, it's not like they were ready to impeach him or anything. Things were shaky enough as it is.

But a new thought occurred to me as I read this. Perhaps the very reasons why I think Bush is an awful President are why these folks support him. When you think your life is in danger, I suspect there's something comforting about putting your safety in the hands of an unscrupulous person because you know they're capable of anything, and that they won't let little things like the law stand in their way. As long as that goal is your safety, it's all peachy.

Of course, there in lies the problem with that argument. The unscrupulous person who'll do anything never has your best interests at heart. After all, he's unscrupulous. He'll do anything. That's why he's dangerous.

Either way, I'm heartened to see a broad coalition forming to throw this bum out in November.

But, before I go, I'd like to do two things. First, to the people who are opposed to gay marriage, can I ask a favor? Don't insult my intelligence by saying we have to "protect" marriage because it's a precious institution and that it's for the children or any of that other garbage. Polygamy has been around at least as long as monagamous marriage and all the millions of children languishing in foster care that all the heterosexual couples can't be bothered with would gladly trade two dads or two moms for a cot in a halfway house. Why don't you all just come out and say why you really oppose gay marriage: that you don't want to make sin legal. Just say it, so we can all talk honestly about what the REAL issue is. Everything else they're saying is window dressing.

The real issue of gay marriage for The Right is the legalization of sin.

Case in point: I was really struck by one of the letters Andrew Sullivan received from a supporter of the ban who begged Sullivan to turn his back on his love of sodomy so he could see the err of his ways.

The right can't talk about it because they know, from a legal standpoint, it's indefensible. But it's not like they let reality stop them these days.

Secondly, I'd like to address the Black Republicans in the audience. I know you many of you are cultural conservatives and agree with this whole "Make Sin Unconstitutional" mess, but, as usual, I think many of you are missing the larger point.

They hate you, too. Not quite as much as the gays, but they do hate you. And it's only a matter of time before they come looking for you, too.