Monday, September 21, 2009

A Rekindling of the Gay Marriage Debate?

Summary: Will gay marriage make a comeback? What the right said and what it means for the continuing debate.

The Washington Independent picked up a story from the Values Voters Summit yesterday which may reignite the debate over same-sex marriage nationwide.

Sen. Tom Colburn’s (R-OK) chief-of-staff, Michael Schwartz, made some incredibly conservative comments about homosexuality and pornography in an address about “new masculinity” on Sunday.

From the article:

“Pornography is a blight,” Schwartz told an audience in a crowded room of the Omni Shoreham hotel. “It is a disaster. It is one of those silent diseases in our society that we haven’t been able to overcome very well. Now, I may be getting politically incorrect here. And it’s been a few years, but not that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys around 10 years of age. But it is my observation that boys of that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that’s because they don’t want to be that way. They don’t want to fall into it.”

Schwartz told the crowd about Jim Johnson, a friend of his who turned an old hotel into a hospice for gay men dying of AIDS. “One of the things he said to me,” said Schwartz, “that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark… he said ‘All pornography is homosexual pornography, because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.”

There were murmurs and gasps from the crowd. “Now, think about that,” said Schwartz. “And if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants! You know, that’s a good comment, it’s a good point, and it’s a good thing to teach young people.”

And of course, the remarks have begun to go viral with this YouTube clip of the speech:

While nothing was said about gay marriage in particular, it’s sure to be a speech that will rile up the pro-gay left more than the religious right. Nate Silver’s post last night about the passion of gay marriage opposition explains that it’s now the liberals who feel more comfortable about sticking up for their beliefs on this topic.

It makes sense too. Back in April, we commented on what Miss California said about gay marriage during the Miss America pageant:

"By the middle of the next decade, we might very well talk about legalizing gay marriage nationally - and it may even be possible…support for gay rights is increasing at a faster pace than support for race-and/or-gender-based civil rights did…

…The GOP may be slow to recognize this growing support. Recently, the Miss USA pageant found itself in the middle of the gay marriage issue…

…Gay marriage is no longer an issue that conservatives should feel comfortable discussing on their terms - even religious terms. Far too many Americans have a deep support for LGBT rights these days, including marriage. Miss California's answer was too polarizing - not the question."

The gay marriage debate has cooled down recently since it flared up earlier this year when Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine all legalized gay marriage. Will these comments make it a heated issue yet again? Time will tell.

No comments: