As I read John Aravosis’ post on what he deems “Hillary’s gay problem,” I began to better understand the difference between gays on the left and gay conservatives (though not necessarily Log Cabin). Aravosis finds it problematic that the former First Lady’s almost never uses the word, “gay” in her speeches “to the public at large.”
He provides a video of her appearance on logo (the gay cable network) where she seems uncomfortable even saying the word. (I watched it and agree.)
To be sure, if Ms. Hillary’s logo appearance is emblematic of her attitude toward gays, she has a real problem. Her discomfort saying the word “gay” should be troubling to her gay and lesbian supporters some of whom act as if she has always been an advocate for gay people when the experience she cites (serving as First Lady to Bill Clinton) proves quite the opposite.
If it weren’t for that discomfort, I wouldn’t find her relative silence on gays all that troubling. It doesn’t really bother me that a candidate doesn’t mention gay people in his speeches or fails to push a particularly pro-gay agenda. Yes, I would like him to favor repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (and other discriminatory legislation which singles out gay people) and push for state recognition of same-sex unions, but just so long as he doesn’t engage in anti-gay rhetoric or promote discriminatory policies, i can feel comfortable supporting him.
This all boils down to my basic political philosophy that it’s not the government’s role to address social issues. I believe that if the government just leaves us alone, private institutions will effect the changes we need. We see that already in the increasing number of companies adopting non-discrimination policies and offering benefits to same-sex partners.
So, it doesn’t really matter to me that a candidate doesn’t bring up gay people in his political speeches, just as long as he doesn’t denounce us.
My sense is that most gay Republicans doesn’t identify politically as gay. We see ourselves as citizens who happen to be gay. And therein, I think, lies the primary distinction between gay liberals and gay conservatives. They want politicians to appeal to them as a political group.
We don’t require such appeals, content when politicians address other issues, leaving us alone to live our lives as we see fit and trusting private institutions to meet our social needs.