I have always thought that the real measure of someone’s attitude toward gay people was not whether he supports the legislative agenda of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) or mouths the appropriate political correct slogans of gay activists, but how he treats individual gay men and lesbians.
John McCain has a long record of treating individual gay men not just fairly, but also with class and honor. We saw that most recently on the Ellen DeGeneres Show where he respectfully handled the eponymous hostess’s questions on gay marriage and as he wished her “every happiness” in her relationship with Portia de Rossi.
That wasn’t the first time he showed class via-Ã -vis a gay person. In September 2001, he flew from Washington to attend a memorial service at the University of California/Berkeley for Mark Bingham, a gay man and one of the heroes of United Flight 93. Along with his fellow passengers on that doomed plane, Bingham stormed the cockpit, preventing it from being used as a missile to destroy either the U.S. Capitol .
This was not the first time Bingham had risked his life for others.
Speaking at this hero’s funeral, John McCain recalled Bingham’s support for his 2000 White House bid and cited the Gospel of John in praising him for laying down his life for his fellows, calling it, “A love so sublime that only God’s love surpasses it.” He added:
I never knew Mark Bingham. But I wish I had. I know he was a good son and friend, a good rugby player, a good American, and an extraordinary human being. He supported me, and his support now ranks among the greatest honors of my life. I wish I had known before September 11th just how great an honor his trust in me was. I wish I could have thanked him for it more profusely than time and circumstances allowed. But I know it now. And I thank him with the only means I possess, by being as good an American as he was.
While John McCain may be far from perfect on gay and other issues, we do know him to be a man of honor. He treats men and women fairly.
His attendance at the funeral of Mark Bingham as well as his eulogy for that great American shows, he honors the service and sacrifice of our heroes — regardless of their sexual orientation.