My friend Rick Sincere just alerted me to an interesting post over at Truth on the Market. There University of Missouri law professor Thom Lambert takes University of Pennsylvania law professor Tobias Wolff to task for contending that, as Lambert puts it, “if you’re gay, you should support expansive collective bargaining rights for labor unions“:
The three reasons he articulates for equating labor union rights with relationship rights are far from convincing. The first — the fact that “LGBT Americans come from the same economic and demographic origins as all Americans” – proves too much. If gay people are really representative of all Americans, then some gays — say, public school teachers – benefit from expansive rights for public sector unions, and other gays — say, business executives in high tax brackets — are harmed by them. To be fair, Wolff does suggest that gay people may be disproportionately impacted by reduced employment benefits because they lack various legal protections affored to others, but doesn’t that suggest that the real problem, the place where gays should focus their energies, is the lack of equal protection? Moreover, one could make a strong argument that gay people, who have fewer dependents on average than straight people, have less need for lucrative employee benefits. In any event, Wolff’s initial argument is hardly compelling.
Neither is his second argument. Surely the fact that a group expresses support for gay equality and offers gay people various resources does not create a “reciprocal obligation” on the part of gay people to support all that group stands for.
Read the whole thing.
Yes, all too many gays on the left believe they must find common cause with other left-of-center interest groups. Their real concern is advancing their liberal agenda. Look, gay men and lesbians should be free to associate with and offer support to various Democratic interest groups and auxiliaries, but they should make clear that this is primarily out of partisan preference or agreement on certain issues. They shouldn’t try to dress it up as advocacy for gay individuals.
Calling Lambert’s post “worth a read“, Dale Carpenter adds
. . . that Wolff’s argument comes from a long political tradition, going back at least to the 1950s, which maintains that gay rights are inextricably tied to a host of causes supported by self-styled progressives — everything from abortion rights to various left-wing revolutionary movements. Lambert is part of an emerging group of dissenters from the dominant progressive tradition in gay politics. It includes people who support gay rights but also support the rights of the unborn, oppose gun-control legislation, want taxes kept low, think social welfare programs are wasteful and counter-productive, doubt the value of national healthcare programs, and so on. They may be wrong about any or all of these things, but it is hardly obvious that sexual orientation — either as a matter of principle or as a matter of political strategy – should dictate the stands they take.
“Gays,” Lambert concludes, echoing a point made regularly on this blog, “should stop running to the government for additional protections from private actors (though they should vigorously oppose state-sponsored discrimination), and should instead concentrate on changing the hearts and minds of their friends and neighbors.”
FROM THE COMMENTS: American Elephant reminds us that a “Couple of familiar homos [including at least one reader of this blog] not only don’t back organized labor, but protested them right back. 1,000 against two! Already picked up by Breitbart and others“.