I keep thinking about the 30-year-old clip at the end of the HBO film "Outrage", about closeted anti-gay politicians, of Harvey Milk saying that if everyone who's gay would come out, then everyone would know someone who is gay and the fear would have to eventually disappear.
Here in New Jersey, a bill legalizing gay marriage has cleared the state's Senate Judiciary Committee by a hair-thin 7-6 margin
and may be voted on in the full Senate later this week. I don't have much hope for its passage, however, because it seems that the closer this gets to reality, the more threatened straight people seem to feel about it.
I've never understood the whole "gay marriage threatens marriage" argument. I've been married for over 23 years. I've been to a gay wedding. I have gay friends who are unmarried and those who are -- or would be if the law allowed. And their relationships do nothing to threaten mine. So once you get past the religious argument, which has no place in civil law, what have you got? Closet cases who fear that they'll have more difficulty remaining closeted if they have a stigma-free alternative?
When you look at the state of marriage among those Usual Suspects who are the most vociferous opponents of gay marriage, it's a wonder that anyone takes them seriously. Unless they have a profound religious belief in the "sanctity" of marriage (in which case why are they fucking their colleagues' wives or Argentine bombshells), where's the threat? And if they AREN'T closet cases, is it simply a matter of the Bigotry of Ignorance, a fear of the unknown?
The most unlikely candidate for harbinger of a world in which homophobia no longer exists has emerged from that bastion of Christofascism, Wasilla, Alaska, in the person of the former future son-in-law of the would-be 45th President. Levi Johnston, the self-described "f'in redneck", seems to have found a certain comfort level with being a "gay icon" (sic)
Behar began the conversation asking Johnston if he "realizes" that he's a gay icon.
"I do, yeah." Johnston said.
Behar pressed on: "someone just told me there's a gay porno movie with a look-a-like of you... how do you feel about all of that?"
Johnston seemed fine with it. "Um... let em do what they're going to do," he said, and added that he doesn't want to do anything he would regret -- possibly implying that that is why he, himself, declined to act in the pornographic film.
Behar asked Johnston again how it feels to be a gay icon from a "conservative background," and observed that he seems "to be very comfortable being a gay icon."
Johnston concurs, though does mention that "growing up in Wasilla... I've never seen a gay guy in Wasilla, i don't think." Johnston continued: "once I started doing all these tours and everything... I just.. you know, they're people too. It doesn't matter to me, more fans, it's great."
I'm sure some of young Mr. Johnston's comfort level has to do with the paychecks that are going along with being a "gay icon". But I can't help but think that having now actually met people who are gay, instead of them being an abstraction, and that those he's met have been nice to him, his worldview has opened up a bit to the revolutionary idea that people are really just people. This is a lesson that his ex-future mother-in-law has yet to learn.
Labels: gay rights, things that make you go "hmmmmm....."