In Venality Veritas

Every once in a while, a political figure says something which hints at a deeper meaning which is usually kept under wraps.  One such unintended “tell” is **ACK** Chief Justice **GAG** John Roberts’ indication today that the shifting attitudes in gay marriage are due to, get this, a well-funded lobbying effort by gay-rights activists.  In a question to lawyer Roberta Kaplan, Roberts demonstrates his roots as a right-wing corporatist hack:

“I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?  As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”

Roberts seems to be unable to fathom a societal change taking place without the influence of hacks and flacks like himself.  He sees the involvement of lobbyists in a movement that is driven by grassroots efforts.  The groundswell of support for gay rights in general and same-sex marriage in particular is due to the fact that more and more gay people are out, and that more and more straight people have come to the realization that they have gay friends and family members.

As far as my “education” is concerned, my first encounter with an out gay person was with one of my dad’s cousins, while on our annual camping trip to Maine.  I was eight or nine years old when I met Cousin Peter, who was at the camp with his friend Joe.  Cousin Peter was extremely funny, a slightly high-strung (he was even more high-strung when he discovered that one of our uncles had let us take turns driving his Jaguar on a dirt road) motormouth with a quick wit.  His friend was a nice, mellow chap.  We were too young to think that their skinny-dips together were weird- after all, we were in camp in the middle of Maine, where normal rules went out the window… where eight and ten year olds could take a turn driving a car down a dirt road.  I subsequently learned that Cousin Peter had spent some time at the family homestead in The Bronx while working for a spell in Manhattan, where he scandalized my grandmother by having a collection of “muscle magazines”.  My grandmother, as jovial and easy going as she was, was a product of her times, and was a bit freaked out when his “stash” turned up in a routine house-cleaning.  Peter’s father was the perfect example of a man’s man (though not in the sense that his son was)- he was a blue collar guy who was into hunting and fishing, and always wore a hunting knife at his belt while in camp.  A few years ago, I asked one of my uncles how such a macho guy dealt with the fact that his son was gay, and my uncle told me that his attitude was, “He’s my son, and I’m going to support him no matter what.”  My forebears didn’t have things so easy when they got to this country, so sticking together superseded such petty considerations as sexual attraction.

My education continued in high school- I had two gay friends who tried to kill themselves.  Thankfully, both survived.  One was disowned by her family, while the other, an only child, was accepted by his.  To see lives so adversely affected because prejudices trumped family ties was a horrific eye-opener for me.  In college, I knew quite a few out gay folks of both genders.  It’s was impossible to hate Todd, Danny, and Katherine because they were really nice people- their sexual preferences mattered absolutely nothing to their circle of friends.  Two other college friends of mine took years to come out because of the cultural and religious attitudes in which they’d been raised.  Finding out that they had eventually come to terms with their sexuality was heartening, and I only wonder what opportunities they missed out on because they didn’t do so earlier. 

Age-wise, I’m on the “cusp” of the pro-gay rights and anti-gay rights demographics… the first kids to grow up in the post “Stonewall” era.  Knowing older out gay people and growing up with people who learned to cope with their sexuality, I came to the realization that same-sex attraction is not a mental illness, merely a personality trait.  It didn’t take the efforts of a team of lobbyists to form my attitudes toward gay people, just years of proximity to good people who just happened to be attracted to persons of the same gender.  I basically learned the same lesson that Rob Portman learned, but at the age of eight or nine… how could I hate hate Cousin Peter on the basis of whom he found attractive?  How could a friend’s revelation of their sexual preferences change my attitude toward them?

Roberts’ career has largely been informed by venality.  He’s a mercenary hack who can’t imagine that others would support gay rights because of their experiences, even though he has a gay cousin who is attending the DOMA hearings.  Today, his venality caused him to let a glimpse of the truth slip out… in venality, veritas.

Cross posted at my eponymous blog.

Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 03/27/13 at 05:53 PM • Permalink

Categories: LGBT

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I was in high school in the late 1960s when homosexuality was still taboo.  Yet, a couple of guys in my circle of friends and acquaintances we all knew were “different” but they were also extremely interesting people (creative and in drama - I know that’s stereotypical but true at the time). They were just part of our group of friends; we just didn’t talk about their sexuality.  Nowadays, kids can be more frank and relaxed in discussions about gender orientation.  There’s no question the culture now is so much richer for gays being able to be more explicitly part of the larger culture and influence it.  I see that as a good thing.

I’m an atheist, raised by people who were liberals and not interested in any kind of religious twaddle. Also: they were not busybodies. I can honestly say that at the age of 52 I have never had the slightest interest in other people’s sex lives. I wonder how much of right wing fixation on gayness and its morality or immorality comes from faulty toilet training and abusive religious indoctrination.

I am agog at the changes I’ve seen in my lifetime from gayness being something we did not know or perceive socially to something that is more than ok—its celebrated. I really wonder though, for professional busybodies and moral scolds, how they force the genie back into the bottle? For me its nothing—I’m happy for everyone and I’m not any more concerned about society’s future than I was five minutes before gay marriage was on the table. If anything I’m more optimistic. But what of someone liek Roberts? He’s spent a huge portion of his life imagining that people’s feelings about other people’s sex lives has some dispositive meaning.

I love wonkette for their irreverent represetnations of right wing think. “Hullo wonketeers—did you know that some people object to people with muffins eating other people’s muffins? They should totes eat only opposite sex genitalia or the world will end.”  I feel its the best approach to this subject: parody.

that more and more straight people have come to the realization that they have gay friends and family members.

We are also badasses. Just sayin’. Don’t get all gay an’ shit.

how could I hate Cousin Peter on the basis of whom he found attractive?

Pete was always a dick.



“I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?  As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”

What. A. Dick.  Sides?  SIDES??  Can’t we all just be people?  Can’t we all just get along?  Yeah there are jerk gay people.  And there are jerk straight people.  But why is it a competition for the luvva christ??

I decided long ago that just because I don’t agree with something doesn’t mean I have to force other people to behave in accordance with my beliefs unless it actually harms another person (i.e., laws against murder make sense; laws against being gay? not so much). Legislating being gay doesn’t make us more of a Christian nation, which a lot of these bozos seem to think will be the result of all the no’s they want in the law. And even if it did, their hatreds would balance it out and we’d still not be as much a Christian nation as they’d like because Jesus loved everyone in spite of their sins. He showed people a life of love and tolerance and letting them make their own decisions. Too bad Christians can’t seem to dot he same.

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