It’s time for Democrats Suck: The Immigration Reform Edition. Here’s a clip from my latest Salon essay:
When Republicans stand strong on principles while Democrats obsess about political practicality, Democrats repeatedly concede too much and Republicans repeatedly win more than policy and politics would otherwise dictate. The immigration reform markup is only the latest example of this larger, depressing state of affairs.
Read the rest here.
UPDATE: Here is a response the Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas wrote in response to my piece. An important discussion for all of us to be having. And I think if we don’t have this discussion, the Democrats will continue to feel free to sell out their base with no fear of consequences.
In case you missed it, a re-cap:
1. I wrote that conservatives embracing marriage equality as part of their ongoing, regressive “marriage promotion” agenda does more harm to gay folks — and all of us — than good.
2. Conservative commentator SE Cupp responded by defending the cause of gay marriage and arguing that marriage is a superior family arrangement.
3. And now, I respond to her response. Read it here.
I’m not accusing Cupp of being disingenuous. I believe her desire to promote equality and fairness for gay people is authentic and deep, as it is for many conservatives and libertarians. What I am expressing is a fear that many conservatives are trying to use the wave of popular support for gay marriage as a way to reinforce regressive values about families and sexuality that implicitly still allows gay people (and others) to be ranked second-class or worse. We should not allow the cause of gay marriage to be used to suggest that certain kinds of families are better than others. All families must be treated fairly and equally.
A straight conservative defends gay marriage while a gay liberal critiques it, all in a civil manner. The sky must be falling!
In my latest column for the Fox News website, reacting to the first day of oral arguments in the Supreme Court marriage equality cases — and all the politics and passion surrounding the issue — I asked whether it really matters what the Supreme Court decides. My answer:
[T]he details sort of don’t matter — what is really on trial this week is the future of equal treatment for gay Americans. And the fact is, the tide is flowing forcefully in the direction of fairness and equality. The Supreme Court will either ride the wave or try to block it or dodge it, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter. The tide has irrevocably turned.
I argue what might matter more than the Court’s ruling is the fact that conservative Chief Justice John Roberts gave his family tickets to watch oral arguments to his lesbian cousin. Read the whole essay here.
On MSNBC’s The Cycle and in her Daily News column today, conservative pundit S.E. Cupp responded to my essay for Salon about the dangers of conservative embracing gay marriage as part of a larger “marriage promotion” effort.
On Tuesday, MSNBC host S.E. Cupp castigated liberal columnist Sally Kohn after she wrote a piece saying that society should not only accept gay marriage, but move beyond the promotion of marriage as a relevant institution altogether. “The judgmental moral hierarchy of conservative marriage supremacy should be looked at by all of us with a queer eye,” Kohn wrote. After summarizing and dissecting Kohn’s argument, Cupp declared that Kohn’s countercultural call to action was both excessive and flawed.
You can read the rest of Mediaite’s coverage here.
And here’s the video clip:
Also, an exchange with S.E. — whom I very much like and respect — on Twitter last night:
@sallykohn Thanks, you too!
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) March 26, 2013
As the Supreme Court considers two landmark marriage equality cases this week, I look at the growing bandwagon of Republicans supporting same-sex marriage — and how the reasons why might ultimately be more harm than help to the gay community:
In the interest of expediency and bringing as many unlikely conservative allies on board, the gay rights movement may give cover to or even amplify a set of narrow values that rank married families as better than un-married families, two parents as better than one parent — norms that continue to divide up America into good people and deserving families versus everyone else. And even if we temporarily succeed in getting gay folks added to the “good” category, is it worth it? Plus do we really think that’s the way we or anyone else will be treated equally?
The piece looks back at the history of the marriage fight within the gay movement and left to right. Check it out and tell me what you think!
In a Fox News opinion piece, Penny Young Nance, the head of the ultra-conservative Concerned Women for America, responded to my essay calling on President Obama to make an even more strong statement in support of marriage equality. I want to take a few moments to respond to Ms. Nance’s critiques.
1. Comparing opposition to inter-racial marriage to opposition to gay marriage NOT same as comparing race & sexuality
Ms. Nance writes, “Sexual behavior and race are not the same thing.” I agree. I never said that they were. However, I do believe that hateful vitriol and opposition to equal rights often springs from the same well. And that was my point in making the comparison. Whether it was to preserve slavery or deny women the right to vote, opponents of equality and justice have always manipulated religion and science to try and rationalize their irrational discrimination. This time around, while the issues are very different, the objections are eerily similar.
2. Hate breeds hate.
I applaud Ms. Nance for writing, “As a mother of two, and a strong supporter of traditional marriage, I would be the first to stand up against any kid being bullied. For any reason. Period… The problem of bullying in schools is real and we must swiftly deal with it, regardless of how marriage is defined.” She’s 100% right. But saying that denying marriage equality to same-sex couples, sending a resounding message to gay and straight kids alike that the former are morally and legally inferior to the latter, is not “exploiting” the subject but rather stating facts. Bullying is bullying, whether it takes the form of constitutional amendments or name calling or scissors. Let’s not pretend that our political discourse and laws don’t create the climate for bullying and suicide.
3. Who cares if most Americans support marriage equality?
Ms. Nance argues that polls showing majority support for marriage equality are clearly baseless because, in ballot measure after ballot measure, voters have struck down marriage equality. First of all, we know that anti-marriage equality measures tend to draw more opponents to the polls than supporters, so they’re not exactly reliable bellwethers of public opinion. But Penny misses my larger point: Who cares? Fundamental rights should not be subject to public opinion and popular will. See, e.g., the United States Constitution which safeguards against such tyranny of the majority.
4. Condemning bigotry is not the same as calling people bigots.
Bigotry: “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own”. Seems to me that imposing one’s own personal beliefs about marriage to cut off the legal rights of other families is precisely the definition of bigotry. But that said, I don’t condemn anyone who struggles with the question of gay marriage. That is a personal decision between you and your own conscience. I hold the word “bigot” in a special place for those who send me hatemail about how I’m going to burn in hell and destroy civilization because I’m shacked up with a woman… but for those people who are loving and decent but genuinely uncomfortable with gay marriage, for whatever reason, I have nothing but compassion. That said, let’s make a deal: I won’t deny you any rights or liberties in spite of your opposition to marriage equality if you don’t deny me any rights and liberties for being gay. Deal?
My question back to Ms. Nance is simple: I understand that you are personally opposed to same-sex marriage and I respect that. How do you justify denying legal recognition and basic benefits to millions of loving couples in our country on the basis of your personal beliefs?
With apologies to Daily Kos for stealing their title, it just seems so right.
Here are some highlights from my inbox today… mostly a lot of people who must, personally, know God and his opinions on such matters directly. Plus a few doozies:
I don’t have any problem with same sex couples living together if it makes them happy – obviously they have either biological issues or mental issues
No comment on where the mental issues lie in that statement.
The gay lifestyle will lead to the destruction of any society, past, present, and future.
Last I checked, the world still existed when I woke up this morning living in sin so…
But now it’s clear the Obama does not meet the Biblical definition of a Christian, does he? I’m sure he meets his own definition, but not the Lord’s.
Interestingly, NOT an email from the Pope or King James so, um…
And here are some more thoughtful but still troubling ones:
First is that the word marriage means a man and a woman, it is not right to change the meaning of a word because somebody wants to.
Yes, and historically the word “voter” only meant white men — until we, um, changed it.
I do have a question. If a woman can marry a woman, can she marry 4 women?
Answer: If a man can marry a woman, can he marry 4 women? Oh wait, in some religions he can…
And perhaps my favorite:
I do appreciate your support of homosexual unions and the obvious equal value homosexuals have in our society…actually in the world. Why do people think that homosexuals even need our approval? To state in the media that they deserve equal treatment under the law of the land is giving credence to those who would try to deny them these rights. If I were homosexual I would be as offended at people defending my sexual orientation in this manner as I would be toward those pinheaded people who were critical toward me and my sexual preference.
And then there’s the bizillion emails that contain something like:
I am not a homophobic person but
Not enough time to include them all, but my generic tip is that to those of you asserting “I have a gay friend and…” send your hatemail to that person and see if they’re still your friend after.
In an op-ed for Reuters, I argue it’s time for Republicans to get on the right side of history and stand up for marriage equality, too.
Republicans should be ashamed enough that theirs is the party that stood in the way of interracial marriage and civil rights. Is that really a legacy the GOP wants to continue into the 21st century? It seems to me the GOP has a choice between courting the open-minded next generation of voters, or continuing to be marred by scandals in which anti-gay Republican after anti-gay Republican is embarrassingly outed and shamed. Apparently this is a tough choice for the GOP, which would rather keep implicitly firing up bigotry than stand firm for equality.
You can read the entire essay here.
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