I wasn’t planning on writing about the repellent Rick Santorum much at all, save perhaps in passing. But I hadn’t considered that the equally egregious William Saletan would weigh in as he has in Slate in a column entitled with typical Beltway “daring” Incest Repellent? , subtitled “If gay sex is private, why isn’t incest?”
Why isn’t it? He’ll pretend to tell you.
David Smith, the communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading gay rights organization, accused Santorum of ‘disparaging an entire group of Americans.’ ‘He’s advocating that a certain segment of American society be disavowed from constitutional protection,’ Smith charged. ‘The outrageous thing … is he put being gay on the same legal and moral plane as a person who commits incest. That is repugnant in our view and not right.’
Let’s leave adultery and polygamy out of it for the moment. Let’s set aside morality and stick to law.
Oh, let’s not.
Saletan knows perfectly well that Santorum, like all Republicans, is committed to using the law as a weapon against carefully selected enemies of their version of “morality.” Adultery won’t do because so many Republicans engage in it as a means of acquiring a second — or in the case of Newt Gingrich even a third — wife. And polygamy would drag Mormonism into the discussion. Saletan doesn’t want to do that. He’s only interested in asserting Heterosexual Privilege — and putting those uppitty faggots in their place. But not in so “vulgar” a fashion as Santorum.
What did I tell you?
Tons. But there’s the pesky problem of how “private” sexuality — any form of sexuality — might be in this culture as presently constituted.
The easy answer is that there is no mass movement for sibling marital rights as there has been for gay and lesbian marriage. And behind that relatively recent movement is the lengthy history of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement — about which Saletan has absolutely nothing to say because that would bring up things he’s no more willing to discuss than adultery or polygamy. Like gay-bashing, job and housing security,parental rejection, social ostracism — you know, that stuff.
Aha! Saletan smells buck-passing!
I asked Layton whether states should be allowed to ban incest. ‘They have a right to do that, as long as they have a rational basis,’ he said. Do they have such a basis? ‘It’s not my point to argue what a state’s rational basis would be for regulating cousin marriage,’ Layton replied. ‘The only way the court’s decision in [the sodomy] case would go down the slippery slope to incest is if legally they were the same thing, which they’re not.’ Why not? Essentially, Layton reasoned that it isn’t his job to explain why incest and gay sex are different. It’s Santorum’s job to explain why they’re similar.”
Precisely! No buck-passing at all. The ease in which being gay is rendered synonymous with adultery, incest and beastility (something Santorum mentions but Saletan pointedly “overlooks” ) has long been boilerplate with the “Religious” Right. But something so obviously objectionable as “man on dog” would get in the way of Saletan’s game — playing with gays and lesbians like a cat who thinks he’s cornered a mouse.
One wonders what’s holding him back from bringing up NAMBLA.
And right on cue, Saletan comes up with a website link.
As if it represents anything of significance.
No, you’re a reactionary. Like all the Kool Kids on the Beltway these days.
Frankly I’m against gay marriage.
The legal rights and privileges granted married couples should be, quite logically, extended to same-sex couples — whose relationships are often longer than opposite sex ones. My boyfriend and I have been together 31 years. Yet my stomach sickens at the notion that what we’ve been living through over the past three decades is a mere apeing of what “real” (eg. straight) couples do. We have nothing in common with straight couples whatsoever. But it flatters the Saletans of this world to imagine that we do.
More confusion. What is this “privacy” business anyway? What could be more public than a married couple, whose ceremony, rings, living arrangements and public appearances are a loud and clear announcement to the world that “WE FUCK EACH OTHER!”
This grotesque ostentatiousness is the chief reason the “What proof do you have?” bleat comes up every time the same-sex affinity of a third party (famous or obscure) are brought up in so-called “polite conversation” — which is not “polite” at all, but highly circumspect and often secretive.
And then there’s the whole question of public sex — which I’ve often enjoyed in total defiance of the law.
But then my entire life as a gay an has been in defiance of the law. And while I have often been involved in demonstrations designed to change it, my chief concern has been uniting in common cause with other gays and lesbians and working to forge new modes of social congress in spite of the Heterosexual Dictatorship (Christopher Isherwood’s ever-useful term) that tries to contain us, no matter how the Supreme Court may rule this June.
Well isn’t that special?
SO THE FUCK WHAT?
That’s because you don’t want to, and the Human Rights Campaign doesn’t need to.
It’s the Republican National Committee that needs to explain itself.
And it’s William Saletan who needs to cut the crap.