• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post

    Stick or twist / The choice is yours

    This is one of the reasons I have issues with outing as a political tactic: Andrew Sullivan reports that a Virginia congressman, Ed Schrock, is dropping out of the election in his district over allegations that he’s gay. It’s hard to imagine that he’d be bowing out of the race if he were not gay; but you never know what’s going through people’s heads, and this just happened yesterday. The stuff at BlogActive does look pretty ethically damning, if it’s all legit. The Christian Coalition doesn’t give you a 92% rating if all you do is fail to support gay marriage, you know. But the only specific accusation (on the posts I looked at) is the part about ending “Don’t ask, don’t tell” for the purpose of rooting out the queers before they’re able to enlist.

    Where I get queasy about this stuff is at the point at which someone has to decide what “rights” are, because that’s the only way to determine whether someone’s legislative record on our “rights” is in conflict with his personal conduct. I don’t consider marriage a right; indeed, as people are currently campaigning for it, I don’t support gay marriage. Therefore, if someone supports legislation against gay marriage but engages in homosexual conduct, I don’t see the necessary conflict. I do support the end of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”–yeah, right, tell me gay recruits would be rejected in the sort of last-ditch exigency with which conservatives most persuasively argue about unit cohesion. There’s no word that Schrock was sexually active with men while in the armed forces, though. If everything about Schrock is true, I can’t pretend not to be glad he’s going down (so to speak). If nothing more than what BlogActive has published is true, though, I can’t see any ethical grounds for outing him. There’s no defense for exposing people’s private lives unless they’re breaking laws that they themselves have championed; mere hypocrisy is not a crime.

    Added on 1 September: While editing the above for clarity, I may as well point out that Right Side of the Rainbow has a nicely pitched take on this, expressing awareness of the ethical problems with outing while warning conservatives who lead double lives that, in practical terms, they’re not likely to be able to play both ends against the middle for long.

    4 Responses to “Stick or twist / The choice is yours”

    1. Nathan says:

      You know how conservative I am, and how strongly I am against the typical homosexual agenda.
      But as a currently-serving military member, yeah: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is an abomination and should be eliminated immediately.
      Furthermore, many of the people you hear about getting kicked out for being homosexual are deliberately using the system to get out. Rule of thumb: if they are being chaptered out for an admission of homosexuality within their first 2 years, they are just using it as an excuse. And there’s a good chance that more than half them aren’t even gay. The only two people I know who used the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to get out where not gay at all. But they made a convincing argument.
      …now, when you see a senior servicemember get forced out at 17 years (like a submariner in Hawaii was about 5 years ago), THAT’S the evil, dark side of the policy that really needs to be stopped. What, his service was good for 17 years and 3 years before he is eligible for retirement it suddenly is a problem? He gets along with his co-workers with no loss of morale for 17 years and suddenly no one can work when he walks in the room?
      B.S.!!! Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they enjoy getting screwed by the government.
      um, sorry about the rant and the last line….I feel strongly about injustices like that.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I not infrequently run into military guys in the gay district here in Tokyo, and I’ve heard that, too. I’ve never known quite how to assess how accurate it is–as you might imagine, the last thing most of them want to talk about if they’re out for a rare night with the tribe is office politics, so to speak.
      So, just out of interest, how exactly does some het use the policy to get out? Is there some standard of proof that you’re actually queer? Like, if you have at least three copies of Torso in your quarters? Do you have to come on to a superior officer who can then affrontedly corroborate your story? (Sounds risky, in a very hot sort of way.) I mean, you have to find some way to arouse [ahem] suspicion, yeah? But if you’re too obvious about it, they might suspect you’re doing it on purpose…though maybe they don’t care.

    3. jeff says:

      A gay rep who votes against gay marriage isn’t necessarily a hypocrite, since he’s representing his constituents, not himself

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, that was kind of what I was saying…or at least it’s another angle on it. In any case, I agree that there’s no necessary conflict in being gay and voting against gay marriage.
      When I mentioned hypocrisy, what I was speaking of was this: Some homosexuals honestly believe that sexuality doesn’t belong in public life, and that’s what they live by, and they make the resulting trade-offs, and that’s fine. But I do think it’s very hypocritical to affect, in the process of opposing gay-friendly policies, macho-hetero revulsion for homosexuality while simultaneously practicing it. Not grounds for outing, no, but contemptible all the same.