After New York became the latest — and most populous — state to legalize gay marriage, there were jubilant celebrations with parades, parties, and general taking of the name “gay” seriously. But has anyone noticed that the reaction from conservatives? You could be excused if you haven’t.
For example, David Frum (a former speechwriter for Dubya) was a strong opponent of gay marriage and even debated Andrew Sullivan about it 14 years ago. But a few days ago he published an opinion piece on CNN with the headline “I was wrong about same-sex marriage“. Frum says:
I find myself strangely untroubled by New York state’s vote to authorize same-sex marriage … I don’t think I’m alone in my reaction either. Most conservatives have reacted with calm — if not outright approval — to New York’s dramatic decision.
Of course, there are always a few wing-nuts, but cries that New York will befall the same fate as Sodom are few and far between, and are mostly coming from places like the National Organization for Marriage. No big surprise there.
Ironically, the biggest silence has come from those perpetual panderers to social conservatives, the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. For example, why haven’t we seen any nasty comments from Bachmann, who not so long ago was loudly endorsing a federal constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage? But when asked about the New York law last week by Fox News host Chris Wallace, she calmly stated “under the 10th Amendment, the states have the right to set the laws that they want to set.” Even Wallace replied that he was “confused” by her position.
Is rampant gay-bashing no longer going to be a staple of right-wing rhetoric? If so, this is change I can believe in.
“Is rampant gay-bashing no longer going to be a staple of right-wing rhetoric?” – perhaps, and I’ll welcome that as progress but it won’t become “change I can believe in”. Like racism, homophobia will remain a core element of the Republican base which candidates will speak too with dog whistles and code words.
I see you have a Bachmann ad, just clicked on it… Ooooooooooooo, now it’s Pawlenty!
I just read in the AARP magazine that “95% of the people on the waiting list for HIV treatment atr in the south” attributed to C. King of Housing Works, a NY city based agency. Another black eye for the South and its history of discrimination, and coincidently, conservative Republicanism. The GOP candidates will only keep quiet about this topic until AFTER the next election.
Patricia – I would bet that the waiting list for HIV treatment in the South has more to do with the health systems there. Much of the health care available in the South East states are operated by either underfunded public entities or by for-profit conglomerates.
Patricia – as a Southern boy, your words about the South really sting. Unfortunately your words are also true, our history of discrimination is shameful. There are lots of us working on turning this around and it’s slow going. But don’t let your guard down about bigotry elsewhere. Elections are won and lost on the margins and bigoted minorities can be the difference in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.
Starluna and Patricia, please remember the South was solidly Democratic. No one was Republican until reconstruciton after the war. The Democrats hated the Republicans. spell that George Wallace. They did everything they could to stop the blacks from Voting. Spell that Rosa Parks who had a classical education and was denied the right to vote two times because she “failed the literacy test” which was impossible in her case. Ah, but the Democrats in the South caught on once they were force to let the blacks vote.
They switched to the “Party of Lincoln” to get the black vote. They are the same Democrats of the south in Republican guise doing all they can to block the black vote in the south.
David – you are so right. People do believe that the North and West were/are somehow free from bigotry. A full understanding of history tells a different story. There may not have been the level of violent targeting of marginalized groups, at least in certain periods, but virulent racism and other forms of bigotry was not just a Southern phenomenon.
Indeed, violence against immigrants was common here in the Boston when abolitionist were working to get rid of slavery (look up Ursuline Convent Riots). Anti-immigrant bigotry continued when Southern Jim Crow laws had become institutionalized (look up the Sacco and Vanzetti case). Unfortunately, anti-immigrant violence continues to this day, as seen in the recent murders of immigrant Latinos in Long Island, NY, Southern California, and Shenandoah, PA (and these are just the ones that have made the headlines). The social complacency can also be found when local juries acquit those who committed those murders (very often it takes a federal jury to get a conviction).
While I too celebrate the decline of gay-bashing it seems to me that it has been replaced with anti-Latino immigrant bashing. See McCain’s ludicrous claim that the wildfires in Arizona were started my undocumented immigrants crossing the border as an example.
I was born in the south, and have lived in two of the same southern cities as David, but I’ve also lived in the north and I’ve seen bigotry in both places. I’ve often felt that bigotry in the north is more insidious and dangerous, since it is rarely recognized or acknowledged.
I was also born in and lived in the south for years. I guess that’s why I found the announcement so sad. I am well aware that the rest of the country can think that all discrimination happens in the south — so when it does — I’m doubly sad. And in spite of the fact that it might be underfunded entities, etc., I suspect that the religious fundamentalism rampant down there also has a hand in the HIV problem. Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend anyone 🙁
I wasn’t offended Patricia. I appreciate your comments. The sting of shame for the wrongs in the South helps motivate change and it does not erase the good that keeps me here.