I woke up this morning and recognized again my unavoidable membership in the liberal media elite. Witness:
· I live in the Upper West Side of New York City
· With a woman
· And our daughter.
· I oversee business at a politically liberal magazine
· Which is to say, I’m in publishing.
· My partner and I both attended elite educational institutions. (Although favorite private factoid: partner chaired the campus Republicans one year at hers. Like the neatly turned-out boyfriends, she left that habit behind.)
· She’s a psychiatrist
· I grew up in California
· My mother was the first person in our county to use tofu
· My mother used to host Republican fundraisers
· My mother hasn’t voted Republican in some time
· I digress (typically undisciplined liberal-media elitist).
I mention it because last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover story on the Maryland movement to outlaw gay marriage forced me to peer outside my little world of privilege into the face of fear and loathing, disguised as Christian compassion. (And yes, I know the country is more complicated than our two extremes, but being at either end of them we don’t, if you will, rub up against each other very often.) In sum: the anti-gay-marriage activists in the Times story say they are galvanized by fear of contagion. They claim that the civil rights argument is just a means for the gay community to push its “lifestyle” agenda – there’s a remarkable consensus that being gay is more choice than reality – onto the community where it will grow, virus-like, until youngsters and others are infected by it. This will result in more than sexual-identity chaos and all manner of crazy sex; there will be marriages of multiples, perhaps including animals.
Allow two men to marry today, and tomorrow: team bestiality.
Lest you think this represents some uneducated few in a Maryland church basement, The Weekly Standard has featured several pieces in the last two years by the poster guy of myopic gay-marriage data-interpretation, Stanley Kurtz. In sum: gay marriage is legal in the Scandinavian countries, the number of children born out of wedlock is up in the Scandinavian countries, ergo gay marriage destroys the family unit – notwithstanding counter evidence that shows that children born out of wedlock is a broad phenomenon in Europe and the U.S., wholly unrelated to gay marriage. Moreover, according to Kurtz, “Among the likeliest effects of gay marriage is to take us down a slippery slope to legalized polygamy and ‘polyamory’ (group marriage).” The cover illustration on that August 2003 Weekly Standard featured a lineup of likely gay marriage candidates: a couple of fey guys clutching daisies, two thuggish women clutching daisies, two feminine women – one mature, with a look of whoopee in her eyes, one small and scared – flanking a ‘weird’ guy in heavy, crooked eyeglasses, obviously their groom, and a sad loser carrying his chimp bride (a real monkey).
I must live so deep in the bubble. I remember seeing that Standard cover when it came out and being offended but also rolling my eyes – what was it with these ideologues? But to now fully understand that gay marriage has galvanized the Christian right as no other cause has – far more than abortion, incredibly – means that eye-rolling is ignorance, and potentially dangerous.
Do reasonable people of goodwill honestly find two people of the same sex living together in a loving, monogamous (as monogamous as any) marriage, with rights proscribed by law, more threatening to society than the killing of a fetus that they argue is a human life? While I happen to be pro-choice, I deeply respect the opinion of those opposed to abortion, given their spiritual identification and mission to save human life at any stage. But this marshalling of Christian soldiers against sanctioned gay relationships, in the name of Jesus?