Separation of Sex and State

28 Feb

That former Congressman Chris Lee was so attracted to cross-dressers and transsexuals should not be a source of ridicule and derision.  People in a free country can – and ought to have the right to –  love, or have sex with, any willing partner. That Lee betrayed traditional family values is none of our business, and that he trolled Craigslist for dates with women, and women with penises alike, is newsworthy for its lack of good judgment, but were he a private citizen it would not be our concern – no big deal. His hasty self-return to private life is now explained. As a public figure, it matters because his brazen Craigslist hookups and flailing cover-up were not just hypocritical, but indiscreet.

Likewise, it’s not the kind of sex they like that holds David Vitter, Chris Lee, and Larry Craig up to ridicule or congressional censure, but the poor judgment of hiring and soliciting prostitutes, or soliciting sex in public restrooms. As far as Mark Foley was concerned, he showed poor judgment and also abused his power by soliciting young congressional pages. That they were male ought be immaterial.  It’s 2011; it’s OK to be gay.

That local developer Carl Paladino is out partying at a local lesbian bar with women who don’t look like Cathy Hannon Paladino is and isn’t interesting.  It isn’t interesting because you can’t decipher the whole story from one photograph posted to Reddit, but what it does is at least conceptually confirm the story that comedian Kristen Becker told during last year’s gubernatorial campaign. Becker (from WNYMedia.net partner Buffalo Comedy.com), explained that Paladino had been to Roxy’s and said some not-nice and un-governor-y things to her. Paladinoists figured it was absurd to even consider that Uncle Carl would ever set foot in a lesbian nightclub.  It’s 2011; it’s ok to be gay, or curious, or straight.

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So if it’s ok for so many prominent conservative Republicans to be gay, or gay-curious, why don’t they just lay off their uncloseted brothers and sisters? Whether a Republican politician is a Bible-thumper or not, the GOP platform re-asserts the fact that gay-on-gay sex is un-American, icky, as well as being socially and politically unacceptable. Roxy partier Paladino said this last year:

I didn’t march in the Gay Pride parade this year. My opponent did. There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That’s not how God created us, and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children – and certainly not in our schools,

So, Paladino has established that gays aren’t worth giving rights to, aren’t “functional”, aren’t “how God” created them, and are a bad example. Yet he flip-flopped when it came to his own nephew, and his own proclivity to party in bars that cater to homosexual females; Paladino, who just last week wrote a lengthy missive insulting Donn Esmonde, containing a line averring that Chris Lee just had a “bad day”.

It all underscores the fact that the Republican anti-gay platform merely panders to the radical Christian fundamentalists who partly puppeteer that party. There are plenty of LGBT Republicans, and their personal, private sexual lives are nobody’s business. It’s ok to be a gay Republican.

Imagine what a better country this would be if sexuality was divorced (so to speak) from politics. If homophobia was excised from politics and from parties’ platforms, the only place it would remain socially acceptable would be in the pews, prayers, and pulpits of radically fundamentalist houses of worship. Imagine if the very first public proclamation by Republican congressional candidates didn’t involve homophobia.

The Republican Party used to stand for less government, (despite never practicing what they preach). Yet when it comes to sexuality, they out-Puritan the Puritans, which makes it exquisitely embarrassing when someone with an (R) after their name is caught outside the wife-two-kids norm.

Let Chris Lee date all the “passable transsexuals/cross-dressers” he wants. Let Carl Paladino watch all the gay porn, and patronize all the gay bars, he wants.

Whenever the topic turns to treating homosexuals like people, some cretin will chime in with an uninformed slippery slope argument about how tolerance of gay unions will lead to bestiality, pedophilia, and polygamy. It’s a false equivalence; those three activities are victimization and abuse; of kids, of animals, and of multiple women. It’s those kinds of “arguments” that hamstring rational discussion about this particular issue – because its terms are dictated and framed by the radical fundamentalists and their puppets.

Sexuality has nothing to do with running the country. It’s time to legalize gay marriage – by Constitutional amendment if necessary – and to completely separate sexuality and state. Chris Lee and Carl Paladino will thank you.

14 Responses to “Separation of Sex and State”

  1. Tracy Diina February 28, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Beautifully written, thank you….

  2. Jesse February 28, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Nice points, Alan.

    However, I think this line could be used in so many ways:

    “Imagine what a better country this would be if X was divorced (so to speak) from politics.”

  3. Mike In WNY February 28, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    For once, I am in almost complete agreement. The only thing I would advocate differently is to remove the government from the marriage business. Civil Unions for all.

  4. Anto February 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I don’t mean to be provocative but look how many homophobic pals are closeted homosexual. And look out for the political double standard.
    Keep politics outside love affairs… well let keep politics outside us that would be better.

  5. STEEL February 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    I agree with Mike on this one. The government has no business inserting moral or religious doctrine into a life contract between consenting adults.

  6. Ethan February 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Absolutely; well spoken.

  7. Brian February 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Their hypocrisy demands our contempt, scorn, and votes for others.  “Family values” apparently means nothing more than gay bashing and praying to “gawd”™ in public.

  8. Fat Tony February 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Funny, Mike I recently had the same thought. Marriage should be a religious ceremony and civil unions should be a government recognition that involves finances, inheritance, health care decisions, etc. I was opposed to gay marriage and then watching the news one night, I figured out I had no idea why I was opposed. The only slippery slope would be forcing churches to equally perform ceremonies the way Catholic hospitals have been forced to do things which they morally oppose, but that would seem highly unlikely. There’s just no reason to disallow this.

  9. Eric Saldanha February 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Well said, Alan.

    I think this comments section is an apt summary of the evolving opinion on same-sex marriage. A cross-section of commenters, representing most of the political opinion spectrum, are in agreement that it is high time that the rights of all Americans be respected.

    So, what does our Congress do? Take up the mantle of denying millions of Americans their Constitutional rights, instead of, say, bringing a jobs bill forth. Oy to the vey.

  10. Jon Splett February 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Awesome post Alan.

    Pretty much right on (except for saying multiple women are victimized by polygamy.Consenting adults and what not).

  11. MJC February 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    The Religious Right is to the GOP as is the hard core unions are to the Democrats. Both are getting more and more out of touch with the mainstream, but both make up enough of their respective bases to warrant their attention. I am sure a large contingent of the GOP would love to leave the religious wingnuts behind, legalize gay marriage, and get back to the business of enriching their corporate benefactors.

  12. Allen Miller February 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    @MJC You are probably correct. However let’s also mention that a lot of democrats would love to leave the ACORN/WFP type wingnuts behind as well. People want to get elected, a good politician looks at the district they are in and moderates many positions to what their constituents are. It’s good politics but bad government. A good representative considers all their constituents opinions and makes a decision based on what is best for the community. Last week I went to an Ann Marie Buerkle town hall. I was very impressed with her when she repeatedly told the audiance she was the rep of all the people not just those who voted for her. She even listened to a person who lacked civility and called her a tea bagger. After she answered his question to his satisfaction his attitude changed. Sadly the only thing that made it on the evening news was a pro-choicer who was screaming at her over her vote to defund planned parenthood. But Buerkle stood there let her yell and looked her in the eye and told her why she voted as she did. This was one thing I admired abnout Eric Massa, He may have had his flaws but he would do a town hall and stay until all questions were asked. If he did not have his indescretion (so much for a democrat getting away with it) he would have been congressman for a long time (don’t anyone tell rottenchester I said something good about Massa 😉

  13. Allen Miller February 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    BTW, I am one Republican of many who did not vote for Paladino. To be generous I will just say that he was too flawed for me. I chose Cuomo/Duffy with no regrets and am now happy I did. I am fine with Carl staying in Buffalo.

  14. Gabe March 1, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    Exactly my opinion on this as well. Very well said!

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