As I noted in a previous post, yesterday was an exciting, but strange day for me. Part of it was the number of items on my plate, having the chance to write for a larger audience than this blog about an issue to which I have devoted much thought over these past few years and getting to participate in a conference call with my party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Mixed within the excitement, I also had a kind of a “bad feeling,” as if I were Han Solo approaching the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi. It wasn’t until later in the day, after I had finished and edited my Pajamas piece that I got a handle on this.
I recalled why it was when I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a screenwriter, I went in to the closet politically, concealing my Republican inclinations. Sometimes, I then felt, it’s not worth the effort to speak out and offer an opinion different from those around you, given that many gay people (and others in the creative professions) tend to define conservatives by our politics and oftentimes to dismiss us because of them.
I didn’t want to criticize something (in this case, the California Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage) that so many around me (including many people I love and respect) were celebrating. But, as a blogger who has written much on gay marriage, particularly criticizing courts for deciding an issue which, I believe, should be left to the legislatures and the people, I felt I had to say something. And as one seeking a larger audience for my work, I thought it would be folly to turn down Pajamas’ invitation to write a piece for them on the decision.
Given my emotional state yesterday, I’m delighted that so many found so much to praise in that piece, even some who disagreed with my conclusions. And I was heartened this morning when a reader linked me to Jonathan Rauch’s piece on the Independent Gay Forum, warning gay marriage advocates to “Hold the Champagne:”
I wish I could be as overjoyed by the California Supreme Court’s ruling for same-sex marriage as the rest of the gay world is. Politically, the ruling merely tees up an initiative battle, to be decided by simple majority vote. Backlash against the Court may make that battle harder to win. Affirmation of the Court’s decision by plebescite would be tremendous, but it’s too early to celebrate.
Not only is Jonathan, like yours truly, fearful of the backlash, but he also had some problems with the majority opinion, calling it “an example of judicial overreach.” (As with anything Jonathan writes on marriage, just read the whole thing.)
I wish I could be more enthusiastic about yesterday’s decision, if only to be more like those around me, but cannot in good conscience. I find the opinion flawed on a number of levels and fear a backlash which could extend beyond the Golden State. And fear that those who would like to prevent that backlash would rather attack opponents of state recognition of gay marriage than defend the merits of extending the benefits of this institution to gay people.
Moreover, I don’t want to be lumped together with those who reject same-sex marriage out of hand, merely because of their bias against gay people.
But, as I feared once again being an outsider in the gay community, I took some solace in one thing. I’m sure I’ve blogged on this before and will try to find the link when I have a moment. When we do come out as different from our peers, we get a better chance to measure their quality of character, something we might not get were we just to mimic their attitudes. For if they reject us because of our politics, we know that they would make lousy friends, liking us not for what we are, but for what they wanted us to be.
I wish I had written this piece yesterday because as I put my words to paper (or more accurately to pixel), I “erased” any anxiety I had yesterday about posting.
It is easier to conform to say what it is others expect you to say, to be what they want you to be and to do as they are doing, but it’s not very rewarding or emotionally fulfilling.