THE BLOG

What Republican War on Sex?

04/15/2013 04:48 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2013

I'm a conservative Republican, a married father, and a strong supporter of everyone's freedom to marry. And it strikes me that The Huffington Post is being hugely unfair in alleging that Republicans are waging a war on sex. A close look at The Huffington Post's recent slide show reveals little more than a collection of cheap shots that trivializes a number of important issues.

Abortion, the topic of most of the slides, simply isn't largely (or even mostly) an issue of sex. The overwhelming majority of sex acts don't result in conception and almost nobody, whatever their views of the procedure, suggests that abortion is the moral or medical equipment of picking up contraceptives at a pharmacy. Instead, it's a profound issue that pits two major pillars of liberal democracy -- individual autonomy and the equal worth of all living people -- against one another. Saying that the GOP's pro-life positions make it an anti-sex party trivializes both the moral seriousness of these positions and the equally serious questions of individual autonomy that pro-choice individuals raise when arguing in favor of legal abortion.
Many of the issues addressed in the slide show involve only one person doing something silly. A New Mexico legislators' bill to make rape victims who get abortions guilty of "tampering with evidence" is obviously a bad idea and, like most ideas proposed by state legislators, went nowhere. A single vote against extending a Texas "Romeo and Juliet" to gay teenagers, likewise, is an indication that one member of the legislature cast a dumb vote and doesn't say anything in particular the Republican Party.

And some actions The Huffington Post attacks aren't obviously silly at all: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's effort to dust off a sodomy law in order to prosecute a 47-year-old sexual predator who slept with a 17-year old girl may well have been a bad strategy, but, as the The Huffington Post itself has reported, the Cuccinelli's office made it clear that the case was "not about sexual orientation." Working to end mandates that religious institutions provide contraception under health insurance plans, likewise, may be good or bad policy but obviously has some important implications well beyond sex. Supporting it doesn't show any particular animosity toward sex.

Only one action on the list, canceling a sex week at a public university, could even arguably be considered to show a distaste for sex itself. And, as the slideshow itself reports, the sex week went on anyway without government funding. And, in any case, does being pro-sex require that one work for public funding of sex-related activities? Particularly in a place that isn't exactly a hotbed of celibacy?

The Republican Party's position against marriage freedom is wrong. But neither this, nor anything else The Huffington Post mentions, proves that the GOP is waging a war on sex.