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Many of those who advocate the “outing” of closeted gay Republican staffers and elected officials justify their practice as exposing political hypocrisy. Yet, their definition of hypocrisy, depends, in large measure, on how they believe men who have sex with (or solicit sex from) other men should vote on “gay” issues. As if one must favor state recognition of gay marriage merely because he is attracted to other men. Or must favor non-discrimination laws protecting gay employees from being fired because of their sexuality.
There are compelling religious/cultural reasons to oppose gay marriage and compelling libertarian reasons to oppose non-discrimination laws, reasons not based on animus against gays. I’m not saying these view are right. I do understand the former arguments and agree with the latter. I’m just saying there are a number of reasons to oppose such legislation.
Yet, the “outers,” those who would expose the sexuality of public figures (or those who work for such public figures), gay Republicans (or Republicans who solicit sex with other men) must toe a certain line lest the “outers” make public their private lives, including the most embarrassing details.
While I have criticized soon-to-be-former Idaho Senator Larry Craig, I have not joined the chorus of left-wing bloggers (and at least one sensible centrist) in faulting him for his hypocrisy. First of all, the man seems to experience dissociation between what he does when he goes to relieve himself in a public restroom and what he says when he speaks out (and votes) in public fora. Moreover, he doesn’t need to vote a certain way just because he’s (apparently) attracted to other men.
I may discount the hypocrisy argument, but critics of the GOP seem to celebrate it. As Robbie, now of The Malcontent observed two years ago, “The hypocrisy argument is a tactic used by thought fascists who believe an immutable personal characteristic must dictate – without exception – the ideological and political state of a person’s mind.”
The “outers” define the meaning of hypocrisy to suit their purposes. Or maybe they’re just trying to put a highfalutin gloss to their own prurient passions, a strange fascination with the sexual behavior of a handful of their ideological adversaries and a perverse glee in making that public.
In yesterday’s Washington Post Marc Fisher wrote that such “work requires” the “outers” to “play God” (Via Michael Silence via Instapundit). As if they know better than the rest of us. An attitude not too different from that of religious zealots. Indeed, the very title of the column, focusing on the actions of blogger Michael Rogers, Who Among Us Would Cast the First Stone? This Guy suggests that Rogers has the same certainty of belief as do those judgmental voices on the religious right whom his allies on the left are ever eager to criticize.
Fisher is right to ask, “who elected him moral arbiter?” A question not too different than that many ask of social conservatives eager to label gay people sinners.
Like me, Fisher questions if these outings “liberate anyone” or if they “just add another bolt and chain to the closet door.”
I agree that these outings don’t accomplish much, but wonder at the religious zeal with which the outers attempt to make their case. For they seem to know how all gay people should vote on certain issues. Just as certain social conservatives seem to know how all people should express their sexuailty.
Both groups act as if they know better than the rest of us. And neither seems to understand the complicated lives, the perplexing passions and personal struggles of those whose political beliefs or sexual orientation makes them so uncomfortable.