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    And if a double-decker bus / Crashes into us

    Glenn Reynolds has decided to take a break from posting about contentious things like the election and tackle gay marriage. It’s an uncharacteristically long post, and I agreed with most of it. I especially liked this passage:


    Now, of course, any question beginning “what is John Kerry’s position. . .” is a tough one. But — correct me if I’m wrong here — the only real difference between Kerry and Bush is that Bush has offered vague support to the certain-to-fail Federal Marriage Amendment. But it’s, er, certain to fail. Now that’s a difference, I guess. But it’s not a huge one, and to me it doesn’t seem to be a big enough difference to justify the vitriol. (Kerry’s been, maybe, more supportive on civil unions, but I wouldn’t take that to the bank.)



    I support gay marriage, of course, though I’d be lying if I said it was as important to me as it is to, say, Andrew Sullivan. But if you look at the polls, it’s opposed about 2-1 by voters. What that means is that you’re not likely to see much difference between the parties until somebody thinks they can pick up enough votes to make a difference.



    I think that gay marriage is good for everyone. Marriage is a good thing, and I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be just as good a thing for gay people as for straight people. Judging from the gay couples I know, it would be a good thing — and I’m entirely at a loss to understand why people think gay marriage somehow undermines straight marriage. But to get there, you need to make that case, not just accuse opponents of being closedminded-biblethumping-bigotsoftheredneckreligiousright. (Andrew Sullivan made some of these positive arguments quite well in Virtually Normal, but I don’t think the tone on his blog has been as constructive of late.)





    That last sentence is tact of the most delicate. Somehow over the last few years, gay marriage went from being something to work toward, as current gay life recovered from its origins in the social upheavals of the ’60’s and ’70’s, to being something that the government has to provide right now if we’re to stop being “second-class citizens.” And, of course, it’s not just Andrew Sullivan.



    Stephen Miller has posted his own non-endorsement of Bush on the IGF Culture Watch blog:


    I wish I could support Bush, since I’m in his camp on a wide range of issues (the War on Terror, entitlement and tort reform, pro-investment tax cuts). But I can’t. He’s sold my vote to the religious right.



    Yet I won’t be voting for Kerry, with whom I disagree on most foreign and domestic policies, not to mention his wishy-washy position on topic G (he opposes gay marriage and supports state amendments to ban ’em, but claims he also opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment � just not enough to vote against it).





    That’s nice, but who does it leave? Lyndon LaRouche? Also, as Reynolds pointed out, the fact that the FMA looks pretty certain not to pass should be factored in, but few people do so. Whether it changes the character of Bush’s election-year endorsement of the amendment is an open question, but a question that has to be given due consideration. (Many gays, of course, twist themselves Tantric trying to excuse Kerry’s endorsement of the Massachusetts amendment and failure to vote on bringing the FMA to the table.)



    And then there’s the fact that the religious right is not the only constituency that opposes gay marriage. I know a number of married people who have personally, and in public, treated Atsushi and me as a perfectly “legitimate” couple but don’t believe all the implications of gay marriage have been thrashed out sufficiently.



    If I keep going, I’m in danger of producing yet another anagram of my usual gay marriage rant. That would be a dull old thing for everyone, so I’ll cut it out and just hope once more that people can stop talking past each other sooner rather than later.



    [pause]



    Well, okay, I would like to point out just one more tangentially related thing that’s been bothering me lately. Last week, I left a rather intemperate comment on this post at Classical Values, and immediately thought I’d been out of line and kind of panicked. Rereading it, I suppose it fortunately wasn’t as belligerent as I was feeling. But the issue (of anonymity, not of outing) came back this afternoon when I received an e-mail from Janis Gore pointing out this story, which mentions short-fused lawyer John Rawls in connection with the proposed SSM ban in Louisiana. There’s a picture of a gay couple in their living room, addressing envelopes for a drive to oppose the ban.



    You know, when I see people from little regional cities–and I want to make it clear that I’m not tarring the South here; there’s just as much busybodying in the Mid-Atlantic–who are willing to have their names and faces put in the paper in relation to gay issues, I think of these anonymous website commenters who bitch about gay marriage and the ineptitude of the HRC and hostile politicians and the meanies on the religious right and blah blah blah, and I want to backhand them.



    There are plenty of honorable reasons not to use your full name on-line–from fear of identity theft to the trade-offs you might be making to work in an environment that’s not gay-friendly. The fact remains, though, that our gains are mostly made by people who are willing to be unsecretive and take whatever sacrifices go along with that.* It’s they who are going to make things better for the gays of the future, assuming our pushy activists don’t spoil it all by issuing straight folk a new ultimatum every five minutes. For that matter, even the activists, tiresome as they can be, are putting themselves out there for what they believe, using their real identities. I don’t think there’s any ethical obligation for people posting under a pseudonym to absent themselves from discussions of gay issues. I do wish they’d show some respect and stop griping that other people aren’t doing enough to make their lives easier.



    * Especially if they aren’t among those of us who live in super-big cities where there’s already a lot of pressure on people to appear hip and gay-positive, which is why I say “they” rather than “we”


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