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    Gay marriage again

    A Typical Joe commented to my most recent effusion on gay marriage with this:

    I don’t agree with the argument (from Sean at The White Peril via Dean’s World)

    but it is not anti-gay.

    That’s a more civil response than one often gets on this topic; for that I thank him. [Uh, either I just got dizzier or there was just an earthquake…lessee, 22:00…have to check NHK.] I feel at a distinct disadvantage disagreeing with someone who looks so adorable with his partner (I think there’s some kind of law: only one smiler per gay couple), but I’m going to do my best, at least on one important point.

    I know, or at least am willing to believe, that for a lot of rank-and-file gays, the fundamental issue isn’t psychological affirmation. But, you know, as long as overachieving, careerist urban guys are the ones making the public arguments, status is going to sneak into them somehow. Believe me, I am not casting stones here–I am perfectly capable, in my weaker moments, of detestable thinking along the lines of, Dammit, I was the obedient show-child growing up. I have the summa cum laude Ivy League degree and the management job. I don’t do drugs or hang out at sex clubs. I donate to charity and pay my taxes and NO POSSIBILITIES SHOULD BE CLOSED TO ME.

    You cannot just look at Andrew Sullivan’s and Jonathan Rauch’s and Dale Carpenter’s CV’s and have a comprehensive map to their psychology. But you also can’t tell me that the milieux they move in don’t color what they think should be theirs for the asking. Again, I’m talking about men I much admire, despite Sullivan’s recent shakiness. And it’s pretty much a truism that those who get the public microphone are going to be those who (1) want it and (2) have resources to compete for it.

    I just wish that people with a different point of view (just so it’s clear, I’m not ascribing this thinking to Joe, just using his post as a lead-in to it) would take more opportunities to stand up and say, “Look, we’ll take care of being respectable in our day-to-day interactions with our family and neighbors–leave that out of it. It’s not that we’re not as smart as you are, or that our expectations are blinkered, or our horizons are shrunken, or anything. We don’t want to be prom queen for a day. We don’t want attention. We just want the government to make it possible for us to count on being able to provide for each other and then get out of our lives.” I can certainly understand why they don’t, though.

    Added on 24 February: In the comments, Michael refers to his latest post on marriage. It’s here.

    6 Responses to “Gay marriage again”

    1. Michael says:

      I can certainly understand why they don’t, though.
      I don’t understand it, because when it comes down to it, that’s the root, isn’t it? People would rather scream and yell though, because they believe he who screams loudest gets what he wants.
      I hope “I” don’t sound like I’m (constantly and consistently) screaming. I get frustrated every now and again, but I think that you and I are a lot closer than you think on the whole marriage issue.
      Look for a post about 9:30 est. 😉

    2. Michael says:

      Oh, and was it a quake?

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      It appears not to have been–I guess I was just having a dizzy spell. Odd. Thanks for asking, though.
      Anyway, no, I don’t think you’re just screaming. If I did, I wouldn’t link you so often. Not that you’re supposed to feel honored, or anything; I just mean that I don’t go around looking for people to keep picking apart. I prefer to write about disagreements with people with whom I think I have common ground otherwise.
      I’ve looked at your post, and you’re right; I may not agree that we need a state institution called “marriage” to be extended to gays, but I don’t think that the things you’re asking for are unreasonable. So let me ask you this: when your man Andrew Sullivan keeps framing his discussions of marriage in lugubrious finally-we’ll-feel-valued terms, doesn’t it bother you? Don’t you think it’s potentially dangerous to invite people to think of the issue that way? I’m sorry to ask so obnoxiously, but I don’t get how people can fail to think this is a potential big-time PR disaster.

    4. Michael says:

      when your man Andrew Sullivan keeps framing his discussions of marriage in lugubrious finally-we’ll-feel-valued terms, doesn’t it bother you?

      Let me ask you a question: Do you think because you disagree with him on this one point – when he has written on SO many other reasons people should support marriage – that this discredits him?
      Or are you just not comfortable the that one argument that “my man” Sullivan has presented?
      I see Sullivan as a person who has done more than any other conservative to advance gay issues in the Republican party. More than ANY of them. He’s done on his own than what 5 LCR Organizations could do. To pick up on his lovey-dovie-marriage-will-make-my-relationship-legit and ignore everything else that he has said on the issue well…
      …that kinda feels like what conservatives do to me when they focus on just the sex part. :-)

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      I agree there. Without Sullivan, the current paradigm for public gay conservatism wouldn’t exist; anyone who takes his current decline as an opportunity to act as if he’d always been nothing but an insignificant windbag is a ninny.
      As for whether the current coloration of his arguments “discredits” him, yes, I think so. It doesn’t completely and utterly vitiate everything else he’s ever said, but…put it this way: Sullivan has a quiverful of his own arguments, which he researched and developed over the past decade. Is it not disquieting that, out of all of them, he’s taken to focusing on the emotive ones?
      It’s certainly possible that he’s doing so for other reasons than that those are the ones he believes in most strongly. Given the space of a single magazine article, maybe he figures the argument with the best human-interest angle is the most likely to make an impression on people. I don’t know; I can’t read his mind. But, personally, I think it’s a miscalculation. Most people have already decided they’re against gay marriage. That’s reality. If Sullivan wants to convince people to give his arguments a closer look, he can’t sabotage them from the get-go by making himself look as if he just craved approval.

    6. Updates

      Sean at White Pearl wrote another gay marriage post. In this one he mentioned mine and pointed to my About page (which I’m not linking to myself because I’ve been meaning to spiff it up). Both Doug and I are…