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    Sin of omission

    The responses to this post by Steve Miller at IGF are, I think, instructive. The point of contention is this:

    I guess they meant well. But publishing this ad in newspapers, showing that the usual gang of leftwing activists, liberal politicians and big-labor leaders (and some progressive religious folks) support marriage equality made me bristle. In my view, if big labor is for it, then it certainly can’t be good. I think many who aren’t on the liberal left have the same visceral reaction.

    The issue isn’t whether the big-guns unions do good things for their members; it’s how the positions their representatives take as political entities are perceived by voters as part of a pattern. At least, that’s what I thought the point was. But the would-be refutations provided in the comments consist largely of statements that unions are forces of saintliness within the workplace, that gays who have worked within them are heroic warriors for justice, and that any criticism of the reflexive left-ward tendencies of gay advocacy can be lumped in with the most hysterical anti-leftist ranting.

    It’s a shame that Miller doesn’t usually get into the fray in comments threads, because amid all the inter-queen class warfare, his point is being misinterpreted and therefore not dealt with.

    It’s true, as some have pointed out, that most of the signators to the ad have no perceptible political position–assorted elected officials and church leaders of unidentified affiliation. And the rest? Let’s see: We have labor leaders, Kim Gandy of NOW, Norman Lear, and Melissa Etheridge. One signator is also pricelessly identified as the founder of “The Spiritual Spa and Holistic Healing center.” (Wonder what goes into the facials there?)

    The problem isn’t that these people were included. It’s that only these people were included, giving the average reader the perfect excuse for deducing vaguely, before turning the page, that supporters of gay marriage comprise no one who isn’t along the urban/dilettante-celebrity/union/lobbyist liberal axis. We can argue over whether that perception is unfair, but Miller is right to point out that it’s stupid in PR terms to be feeding into it.

    2 Responses to “Sin of omission”

    1. Toby says:

      Of course, they would never aproach anyone not of that persuasion as we are evil, not merely mistaken or people with whom one might disagree politically but who (holding one’s nose) may be pragmatically useful allies.

      This is why they will never win the argument that way. Sad really that they prefer an ideologically correct echo chamber to actually getting anything done (shades of the disease of Pol Pot). Quite unsurprising that the comments queens miss the point.

      A friend of mine works at UK Stonewall. Apparently they go out of their way not to appear to be in bed with (pardon the pun) these wankers (pardon the pun again) – precisely to avoid the problem identified.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, one thing that did occur to me: If the people planning the ad focused on looking for signatures from people who lead organizations that support gay marriage–you know, to suggest that they have support in numbers–there would clearly be more liberal than libertarian or conservative types populating their list. That still wouldn’t explain why LCR, say, didn’t make the cut; but it would explain the absence of gay-friendly public figures on the right as the product of something other than bias, conscious or unconscious. (Miller had explicitly noted the absence of Charles Murray.)

      Anyway, given the amount of holier-than-thou effusion organizations such as the NGLTF are constantly spraying us with about their wondrous efforts at diversity, coalition-building, and outreach, it hardly seems unfair to expect them to bend over backwards to include as broad a range of “voices” as possible. (It’s worth noting that it’s theoretically possible that groups such as LCR were, in fact, approached about appearing in the ad and declined. If that proves to be the case, I’ll be happy to eat crow. I highly, highly doubt it, though.)

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