Daily Archives: March 25, 2009

A Loaded Pistol

I was just about to write something about James Neiley (see above) when THIS came in.

Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont, says he will veto the same-sex marriage bill if it passes the Legislature.
The Vt. Senate gave its final stamp of approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Vermont. Passage came on a voice vote with no debate, one day after the Senate gave the bill preliminary approval on a 26-4 roll call vote. Now the issue moves to the House, where the Judiciary Committee has scheduled a week’s worth of testimony on the issue. It is expected to pass.
Governor Douglas has said that he opposes the bill, and this afternoon he announced he plans to veto it. He said he made the announcement to stop speculation and to focus attention on economy.
“The urgency of our state’s economic and budgetary challenges demands the full focus of every member and every committee of this Legislature. Ensuring that the federal recovery money is spent wisely, that the state budget is balanced and responsible, and that we do all we can to help our employers compete and create jobs is my top priority,” Gov. Douglas said.
However, Douglas conceded that lawmakers would likely override his veto. “I’m sure that legislative leaders would not have advanced this bill if they did not have the votes to override a veto. I will accept the outcome of their vote either way.”
Democratic leaders released a statement with their reaction to the governor’s announcement.
“The governor’s announcement today undermines the legislative process is disrespectful to Vermonters who come to the people’s house to weigh in on the important matters of our time,” said Speaker Shap Smith. “History will judge Jim Douglas on the wrong side of this issue.”
“Today is a sad day for Vermont,” said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin. “The governor may choose to veto a bill, but he cannot veto love and commitment.”

No he can’t, but that won’t stop him and others of his ilk from trying. His decision to make this announcement in the wake of James Neiley’s testimony can only be interpreted as one thing and one thing only — a personal attack on James Neiley.

Needless to say, James Neiley can take it. And how.

At 17 I was out to myself and select others. The early 60’s was a tenuous era. I knew where I was going but not at all sure of how to get there until Stonewall made everything crystal clear. James Neiley has come of age in a very different world. I am much taken with his remark that he doesn’t want homsexuality to be “one of those words you have to stop yourself from saying around five year-olds.” How well I remember when it was. Consider the way Sylva Syms stammers it out in this clip from Victim:

The character she’s playing is only speaking as a woman of her class and kind would when she realizes the lies she’s been telling herself about her husband will no longer suffice. As for that husband “Because I wanted him!” springs from Dirk Bogarde’s lips with a force that has not diminished lo these many years. It served to put his career on a new plateau. Now he was no longer a mere matinee idol, or more to the point (in his unforgettable phrase) “the Loretta Young of England.” His doing the role at all was considered “brave.” But Bogarde himself wasn’t as brave James Neiley. Obviously the times were different and the laws against homosexuality weren’t overturned in the UK until a great many years after Victim was made. But still, who did he think he was kidding?

Hell, who did John Cheever think he was kidding? Among the memorable lines that have turned up via a massive new biography of the suburban novelist and cockhound:

“If I followed my instincts I would be strangled by some hairy sailor in a public urinal. Every comely man, every bank clerk and delivery boy, was aimed at my life like a loaded pistol.”

James Neiley isn’t afraid of “firearms.” Others are just as terrified as Cheever.

Clearly Governor Douglas is as one with Justice Scalia. Clearly James Neiley can clean both their clocks.

Sing us out Betty.