Beyond the front gate, there are all sorts of people we wish would just go away and not disturb us with their problems. Fifty years ago, it was African Americans being asked to be “patient” while society continued its glacial pace of progress toward granting dignity and freedom from oppression. Then it was women who were told to go back to the kitchen and shut up. The disabled were asked to keep a low profile so as not to upset our delicate sensibilities. The homeless became invisible. The mentally ill, exorcised from our consciousnesses.
And now, the turn of the gays. Do we learn nothing from history? Are we condemned to constantly retreat into our cocoons and fight like hell to try and maintain an outmoded, antiquated notion of what is “normal?” You would think that knowledge is liberating and that having discovered that homosexuality is not a disease, that genetics more than environment determines your sexual orientation, we might cautiously reach out and try and understand the unnecessary burden carried by the gay community in that they have to constantly fight for what you and I take for granted; the simple, decent, American ideal of equal rights under the law.
There is nothing “unconservative” about this, despite what some on the right are saying about GOProud and CPAC. This is especially true as it relates to the fundamental truth about gays that many opponents of gay marriage refuse to concede; that people in love — even if they are of the same sex — should not be denied the legal and social advantages gained by being married.
There is no delegitimizing love be it between a man and a woman or two members of the same sex. The same electro-chemical reactions in the brain that cause sparks to fly between a man and a woman also affect same sex couples. The same stages of love experienced by heterosexual couples are also felt by gay partners. Love is love in any context and only man in his ignorance defines the emotion felt by gay couples as “illegitimate.”
Why that has been accepted by conservatives as a reason to oppose the idea that two members of the same sex who love each other should be legally kept apart is beyond me. You can disapprove of gays and gay marriage out of religious conviction or personal prejudice but it is decidedly unconservative to force the rest of us to agree with you by preventing the union of people who love each other and wish to nurture that love in a legal marriage.
Government has no business deciding such personal, intimate questions. Allowing gay marriage will no more “encourage” it than allowing straight marriage gives a special imprimatur to those unions. The argument that allowing gays to marry will destroy “traditional marriage” — whatever that is — doesn’t hold water for the reasons I gave above as well as the simple notion that each of us has the ability to define our own relationships in ways best suited to our material and emotional happiness. What else can the “pursuit of happiness” mean?
There is a secular conservative case to be made for gay marriage and GOProud’s very existence is a powerful piece of evidence for the plaintiff. I am pleased to see that conservatives like Andrew Brietbart and Ann Coulter, as well as many others I would normally not see eye to eye on all issues, are trying to give legitimacy to GOProud. Their efforts almost certainly won’t sway most of those who will be attending CPAC and especially those boycotting this year’s conference. But it is a promising first step toward a realization by most conservatives that whatever differences we have with the gay community shouldn’t stand in the way of embracing those who share our principles and agree with us on most issues confronting the nation today.