WHAT WAS THE...

WHAT WAS THE VOTE COUNT ON THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT AGAIN? Ed Morrissey claims that attempts to out GOP Senator Larry Craig shows that "Left hates gays." First of all, "a poster at Daily Kos and a gay activist" does not equal "the Left." (I mean, what do Ward Churchill and the immortal Some Guy With A Sign Somewhere have to say?) But more importantly, whether it's right or wrong the idea that outing someone reflects "hatred" for gay people is just silly. The premise is rather that politicians should be as comfortable with homosexual identities as they are with their heterosexual ones (you may have seen a political ad or two with a candidate's family prominently displayed), and that it's particularly odious for gay people to use the depriving of rights of gay people for reasons of political ambition. You may also remember this argument from the ridiculous Kabuki surrounding Mary Cheney, in which various cultural conservatives (and glibertarians), as part of a campaign in which gay-baiting ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments were a central Republican campaign strategy, screamed bloody murder because John Kerry said that Cheney was one of "God's Children." (This remains, as far as I am aware, the first and only gay rights crusade to include Pat Buchanan but no actual gay people.)

Like Ezra, I generally don't support outing. In addition to privacy issues, it's also because I just don't like the politics of personality. What matters is that Craig opposes gay rights, not his motivations for doing so or whether he's a hypocrite. But whatever its ethical status, this kind of outing doesn't reflect anti-gay bigotry, and the Republican bloggers who claim otherwise need to clean up their own house first.

--Scott Lemieux

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