If there's one thing you can't help but notice these days its the preponderance of people commenting on gay issues. This makes sense, given the particulars of the enhancement of gay rights. Consider how civil rights struggles have been waged traditionally, -by marches, protests, publicity, etc. I think everyone can accept it's just a fact that the gay movement has a comparative liability on the first two counts. Gay rights marches aren't particularly effective. I don't know, something about the rainbow flags and the fake construction workers doesn't exactly scream "defiance!" Ok, so maybe it does. But I guess it's natural that you see a lot of the case for rights being made via the pen.

The problem is, and I say this in the most respectful way to the large majority of the gay population out there, most of the "gay columnists" out there are completely crazy. Like, can't even construct a coherent argument without interjecting a showtunes reference crazy. This is decidely unfortunate. It would be a little like the African American rights movements consisting entirely in the Black Power faction. It doesn't take a political genius to figure out that flaunting your otherness is not an effective way to gain an advantage in a wage for civil rights, which, let's face it, is what this is.

When gay people name sexual acts and the like for politicians, it has the effect of confirming all the politicians and religious zealouts' worst fears. Let's list them and see how are confirmed.

1) Gays are trying to turn everything gay.
2) Gays are trying to turn everyone gay.
3) Gays are flamboyantly, stereotypically, annoyingly ostentatiously homosexual.
4) Gays are sinful, lewd, and repugnant.
5) Gays don't keep their sexuality or personal lives to themselves.

This would be a little like taking all of the most slanderous turn-of-the-century stereotypes of African Americans, finding people who exemplify only these traits, and then having them lead the black civil rights marches in the mid 20th century. Like, I don't know, rounding up a bunch of large and physically intimidating black males, dressing them up as dumb looking slaves, and then having them rape a few white girls for good measure as an effective argument for civil rights. It's like the gay movement hasn't caught onto the idea of unobtrusive resistance yet. I don't know exactly why. How much time did it take the black community to come up with Martin Luther King (actually not a rhetorical question)?

If demonstrations and confrontation aren't they way gay Americans are going to make their case to mainstream America(na), and I would argue that it's not, then where ARE all the smart gay rights spokespersons (Sorry, Brian Ellner isn't one of them). One possibility is that they're working within the political system. I wouldn't know. I'm not involved in the gay rights movement, and I'm not especially political. The issue of marriage aside, the case for the further deprivation of gay rights is intellectually tenuous in my opinion, and the absence of eloquent voices coming from the other side is tantamount to surrender.

Should sexual orientation be included in every discrimination clause? Absolutely. Should privacy rights apply to relationships? Absolutely. Should sexual orientation itself be a privacy issue? You bet. Should equal civil benefits be awarded to gay couples as to straight couples? Aboulutely. Do gay people deserve marriage? This is a complicated question, confounded by the fact that marriage has traditionally been the domain of religious institutions. In a culture that demands the government stay out of citizen's private lives, it is hypocritical that "marriage rights" are being demanded with equal parity. So you've got multiple questions, like what grants the right to marry, and if this right is being denied to gays, what gives federal government the jurisdiction to intervene.

Bottomline assessment: Demanding marriage rights now seems to be jumping the gun. I like to think of myself as solidly gay rights, but provoking the marriage conflict now, especially on ambiguous constitutional grounds seems like a mistake. More on this topic in the future, and how this issue might be viewed according to the various judicial approaches...

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