TCS Daily


The AIDS Boomerang

By James Pinkerton - August 18, 2006 12:00 AM

TORONTO -- Remember the 60s song, "I fought the law and the law won"? Forty years after the tune came out, people are still humming it, at least I am -- although I've changed the lyrics a bit to sum up the political consequences of this AIDS conference. I'm not sure that the 24,000 delegates would like the new lyric I've thought up for them, but here goes, anyway: I fought AIDS and the Right won.

What does that mean? Well, let's consider three true statements about the last 25 years:

First, AIDS has skyrocketed, from zero to 28 million deaths, with another 43 million people diagnosed as HIV-positive.

Second, spending on AIDS has skyrocketed, into the tens, even hundreds, of billions of dollars. An appreciable chunk of that money, of course, has been spent by -- and on -- the activists and operatives who are gathered here at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. These are the folks who run the ministries, philanthropies, and NGOs that constitute the "AIDS-Industrial Complex."

Third, the world has moved to the right, politically, during the same period. We can start with the US, dominated during the last quarter-century by starboard-leaning leaders such as Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, and George W. Bush. Here in Canada, the Prime Minister is Stephen Harper, a conservative who refused even to come to this conference. And to the south, Mexico just elected another conservative. Meanwhile, in Europe, such dominant figures as Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, Jacques Chirac, and Silvio Berlusconi were on the right. And even their more liberal successors, many of them, were not exactly leftists, e.g. Tony Blair. Continuing our political survey, let's look elsewhere -- to, say, Russia. Say what you want about Vladimir Putin, he's no liberal.

And how about elsewhere around the world? In Asia, India is run these days by Hindu nationalists. China is run by Chinese nationalists, and Japan -- we know about Japanese leaders visiting their glory-days World War Two shrines. And Australia? John Howard, George W. Bush's good friend, has been in power for a decade and seems likely to stay for at least another term. And how about the Muslim world? There, the anti-liberal backlash has been, shall we say, pronounced, as ayatollahs and imams with beards reshape politics from Indonesia to Egypt to London. To be sure, there are counter-indicators, such as much of Latin America, which is voting left these days; yet even there, many leftists, including Brazil's Lula, aren't so left. Parenthetically, we might observe that the popular culture in many countries is libertarian, even libertine -- although it's probably only a matter of time before the political culture exerts its conservatizing influence.

So let's pause to consider these three up-arrow indicators: first, rising AIDS cases; second, rising AIDS activism; third, the rising political fortunes of the right. Coincidence? Or is there a linkage?

If there is a linkage -- if AIDS has pushed planetary politics to the right -- that's surely not what the people gathered here had in mind. But of course, as we have seen so often in the past century, lefty politics have a way of boomeranging, generating unintended consequences of the bitterest kind.

But let's take a quick look back at the history of AIDS activism. In the early 80s, when AIDS was seen as a mostly gay disease, activists and their allies got together and said, in effect, "We are going to turn this tragedy into a positive. In addition to digging deep into our own pockets, we are going to lobby for government money to help find a cure and to pay for treatment. But then we are going to go further. We are going to follow the example of the civil rights movement and mobilize for political equality. We are going to draw upon the moral capital generated by all those names on The Quilt in order to persuade politicians that we have suffered enough. And so we will get our equal rights, the elimination of vice squads, sodomy laws, and so on." Powered by an enormous culture-shaping campaign alongside the political campaign -- that is, red ribbons, pink triangles, any number of TV specials -- AIDS-tivism burgeoned into a locomotive that drove to spectacular success in the 80s and 90s. For awhile, it seemed even as if legalized gay unions, and gay marriage, might be achievable.

But then the progress started to slow. Conservative Republicans gained control of Congress in 1994 and regained the White House in 2000. These GOPers were not out to push gays back in the closet -- and some of them were generous on AIDS funding, albeit never enthusiastic about condoms -- but the political landscape had changed. Moreover, right-tilting "pro-family" groups realized that they could win anti-gay marriage referenda in just about every state, even in liberal states such as Oregon. Indeed, it's arguable that ballot measures declaring that marriage is between one man and one woman cost John Kerry the White House in 2004, as conservative voters turned out in such electoral battlegrounds as Ohio; the Buckeye State, of course, went "red" for Bush, giving him the White House.

I am not arguing that there is a strict causal relationship between the advance of gay rights and the subsequent counter-advance of conservative Republicanism. Other issues, too, have played a role, including economic and foreign policy concerns. However, it's hard to have lived through recent decades and not come to the conclusion that "social issues" pushed many onetime New Deal Democrats into the arms of the Grand Old Party. The National Organization for Women, for example, was founded in 1966 -- and subsequently Democrats, having won seven of the previous nine presidential elections, proceeded to lose seven of the next ten White House contests. And while lefty feminists might console themselves with the thought that it was just "angry white patriarchs" who backlashed against them, a look at the numbers shows that many anti-NOW women bulked up those Nixon, Reagan, and Bush majorities.

I tried out my first-second-third observation -- AIDS + AIDS activism = Republican victories -- on various participants and observers here in Toronto, in informal settings that don't give me the right to quote those I was talking to. Suffice it to say that there was some grudging acknowledgement that world-politics had turned to the right, and that perhaps social-issue backlash was part of the rightward shift.

But then came the preferred answer: "We must try harder." That is, push harder -- onward the march of progress! Forward with the social revolution! As one participant told a friend of mine, being here in Toronto is "like marching in the 60s." And that march, of course, is now worldwide. When I suggested to another participant that perhaps AIDS activism was generating pushback in, for example, India, that participant told me, point blank, "Hinduism is a dirty religion that needs to be confronted." Get the picture, Hindus? It is, of course, impossible to reconcile traditional Hindu gender-practices with Western values -- but that's the point. If the Hindus get to decide these matters (and the issue of who rules India was decided in favor of the Indians when the British left in 1947), then Western well-wishers need to show restraint in their approach to reform in other countries.

But restraint, or any sort of empathy for other people's views, particularly on sexual issues, is in short supply here. For example, I am pretty sure that most of the people in the world -- First World as well as Third -- think that abstinence is a good idea, including a good idea for avoiding AIDS. And yet the activists here in Toronto scorned any reference to abstinence; even the great Bill Gates was booed when he used the "A" word.

A similarly impermeable liberal cant prevailed in politics, too. I heard Richard Gere rip into Stephen Harper, the recently elected leader of Canada who chose not to attend this conference: "I think you have a prime minister who is going to be deeply apologetic," the movie actor declared about Harper's no-show, an assertion based on zero evidence. And of course, George Bush gets it in the neck all the time in these parts, despite committing $15 billion in US tax money to AIDS work; here's a typical headline from The Gay City News, published out of New York: "Toronto AIDS Conference Targets Bush". Does one suppose that Harper and Bush will be intimidated by such name-calling? Will their supporters be won over? The record, as noted, suggests just the opposite. So if I were a political liberal, I might say that such conservative-bashing makes for a good definition of political insanity -- that is, doing the same thing over and over again, and happily so, even if means making the political problem worse.

But it's a free conference, in a free country. If the activists here want to trash Bush, as well as most Republicans and conservatives, that's their prerogative -- just as it's the prerogative of voters to weigh, according to their own standards, the merits of the trashers and the trashees. But of course, in the West, the stakes are relatively low. Thanks to better treatments and changed behavior patterns, the impact of AIDS in America and other industrialized countries is much diminished. Having the HIV virus is a serious matter, of course, but it's not an automatic death sentence.

But the Third World tells a different -- much different -- story. Dr. Kent A. Sepkowitz, an infectious-disease specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, provides vital perspective in a recent piece entitled, "One Disease, Two Epidemics -- AIDS at 25," appearing in The New England Journal of Medicine. Reviewing the politico-medical changes over the past quarter-century, Sepkowitz declares, "The most salient change was a widening of the gap between the haves and the have-nots, so that today a single virus is responsible for two distinct public health calamities" -- that is, one calamity for rich countries, and another calamity, infinitely worse, for poor countries.

In fact, the face of AIDS has changed, from a white gay man to a black or brown female. Sixty percent of all HIV cases worldwide now are female; gay men are just five percent of the global total. And in Africa and Asia, AIDS is still a merciless mass killer, with victims potentially numbering in the hundreds of millions. So if, as we have seen, the political impact of AIDS on the West was significant, it only stands to reason that the political impact of AIDS will be vastly more significant on "The South." And so we might explore the further question: If AIDS drove the politics of the First World to the right, what will be the political impact of AIDS on the Third World?

One thing is for sure: The sexual-political message beaming out of Toronto, aimed at the Third World, is an unrelenting assault on social conservatism. I heard a torrent of sex-drenched verbiage from white people, all aimed at browbeating mostly non-white people into changing their traditional ways. Melinda Gates, for example, attacked politicians who insist on attaching "stigma" to "sex workers" -- that being the politically correct term for prostitutes. Such stigma is "irrational," said the wife of the computer-software mogul, because "people who are involved in sex work are crucial allies in the fight to end AIDS." My guess is that it would be hard to get elected governor of the state of Washington on such a platform, let alone governor of Waziristan or Wake Island.

Then, still bathing in audience approbation, she continued, "Stigma makes it easier for political leaders to stand in the way of saving lives." Now let's stop right there for a second. Ms. Gates just said that political leaders in various countries are willing to see their own people die rather than wave away the stigma of the sex trade. So let's ask ourselves: Even if that accusation is true -- and it might be -- how will such words be received in Third World countries? Will a rich white woman be an effective voice for social transformation in, say, India? Or in Nigeria? Or Indonesia? Will leaders in these countries slap their foreheads, and say, "I'm wrong! Mrs. Gates is right! I'll change my hoary attitudes on whoredom!" Is that the way human nature works? Is that the way politicians think?

Peter Piot, the head of UNAIDS, waded even further into rhetorical neocolonialism. He told the same crowd that one "leg" of the anti-AIDS effort is "investments in prevention." But another "leg," he added, to rising applause, is "social change," addressing "gender inequality" and, of course, "homophobia." One can only wonder how those words played outside of Toronto, outside of Canada. Actually, we don't need to wonder, because we know the answer: The UN's record on actually alleviating AIDS is abysmal; the World Health Organization's "3 by 5" program, which aimed to treat three million AIDS patients by 2005, was a bust, missing its targets by half. So maybe, just maybe, Piot & Co. should be less judgmental about others and their reactionary values -- and more judgmental about themselves, and their own incompetence.

The true victims, of course, are people in the Third World, who are dying of a very real disease that won't be cured by piously p.c. lectures from the West. As Frika Chia Iskandar, a young Indonesian woman with HIV, told the conference, in English words that might have been garbled but nonetheless came through loud and clear, "We have to say it's changing, but it's not happening."

Here's my prediction. With tens of millions already dead, the reality of this tragedy is going to overwhelm the brittle mechanisms of secularism. Whether the AIDS Establishment in the West likes it or not, most people in the world are going to process this tragedy in the way that people have always processed tragedy -- by moving toward tradition, toward the moral shock-absorption of religious belief. In other words, a Great Awakening, in many different faiths in addition to Christianity, is coming. Or, to put the likely phenomenon in a political framework, the world is likely to move to the right.

We can be reasonably optimistic, based on recent history, that scientific medicine will survive this anti-modern onslaught. But it's not likely that liberalism, and liberationism, will survive without severe modifications.

So what we have seen in the West these past 25 years is likely to be seen in the rest of the world, too, including Africa. That's good news for fundamentalist and conservative Christians, but it's also good news for devout Muslims and Hindus and other faiths.

I don't think they understand that here in Toronto, however. Here, it's full speed ahead, steaming toward the promised land of Erewhon, where sexual freedom flows from every fountain and gender justice bubbles from every spring.

So there's no point in my telling these AIDS-tivists anything different, because people hate to believe what they hate to hear. But they'll find out soon enough, when their good ship lollipop crashes on the bitter rocks of unyielding cultural conservatism.

I won't say that the laws of Mother Nature require a conservative response to AIDS. But I will say that the laws of human nature require a conservative response. And as we all know from the song, we can fight the law, but the law always wins.

James Pinkerton is a fellow at the New America Foundation and TCS Daily's media critic.

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59 Comments

That's so typical
My experience with liberals has always been the same.

They know what the answer is.
They don't want to hear any evidence that might prove them wrong.
They view anyone who disagrees with them as unenlightened at best, ignorant and bigoted at worst.
There response to the failures of their programs is to keep doing the same, only with more money.

rsvp
...

liberals
They also tend to use ad hominem arguments a lot.

Of course
Pinkerton is on target again.

Moonshine and bubblegum
This essay represents some kind of high-water mark for selective history and wishful thinking. The bottom line: that AIDS will trigger a world-wide religious revival, and smite those darn liberals really hard, and maybe put the homos back into the closet where they belong -- is only missing a suggestion that AIDS was sent by the good lord himself to move politics to the right.

The connection between the rise of AIDS and the rise of the right (as a reaction to gay rights!) is most enlightening. Perhaps Reagan should have avoided identifying AIDS as a signficant problem even longer -- maybe that would have moved America even further to the right.


I think Mr. Pinkerton has a point.
Note the fact that he never argued that homosexuals should be driven back in to the closet or that AIDS was sent by God to move politics to the right.

What Mr. Pinkerton argued was that the tactics of left-wing activists quite frequently lead to counterproductive reactions. Consider gay-marriage. Consistently, well over 60% of the American people are opposed to gay-marriage. (1) The most frequent number seems to be 62%. Even more consistently, people think that states should be able to make their own decisions about gay marriage, rather than judges. (Same source, AEI sources have the best data on this question.) In the course of advocating something that so many people disagree with, quite frequently not on policy grounds but on moral and religious ones, it is obvious that some people are going to be offended.

Moreover, the tactics that the gay-rights movement has used have been particularly offensive. Getting courts to mandate things that many people disagree with or consider immoral angers not only those who take moral offense at the idea, but it denies people the right to make a choice on the matter, and angers even more people in the process. If people were allowed to vote on the question of abortion, most states would make it legal. A few states might not. However, we would not see all of the contention we see over abortion today because people would have been able to make a decision, rather than having it imposed on them by unelected appointees.

It should also be noted that the comparisons between the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and the gay-rights movement are totally inapproporiate. The Civil Rights movement was based on serious mistreatment of people based on something that they were clearly born with, and not on any sort of behavior.

(1) http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/naes/2204_03_gay-marriage-update-2_2-24_pr.pdf#search=%22gay%20marriage%20survey%20data%2066%25%22
http://www.aei.org/docLib/20050121_HOMOSEXUALITY.pdf#search=%22gay%20marriage%20survey%20data%2066%25%22
There are other studies and polls as well, but they all seem to come out around 62%, except for a few left-wing polls that say it is around 55-8%. I thought I would list both a liberal and a conservative organization to be fair.

So why bring AIDS into it at all??
If the bottom line is gay rights, why go through the elaborate tap-dance, particularly since as he notes, AIDS is now through most of the world quite thoroughly heterosexual.

>What Mr. Pinkerton argued was that the tactics of left-wing activists quite frequently lead to counterproductive reactions.

So why not just express satisfaction at this. What's obnoxious is the pose that he somehow sympathizes with the idea, but tut-tuts about those liberals getting it all wrong. Or is the idea that homosexuals should be able to (for example) visit critically ill partners in the hospital a moral outrage.

> Getting courts to mandate things that many people disagree with or consider immoral angers not only those who take moral offense at the idea, but it denies people the right to make a choice on the matter

Why is moral outrage a monopoly of people who find homosexual sex wrong? What about moral outrage by people who happen to be gay? Or aren't they entitled to feel anything except shame.

>The Civil Rights movement was based on serious mistreatment of people based on something that they were clearly born with, and not on any sort of behavior.

Most gay people would take very strong issue with the contention that being gay is not something they were born with.

have you ever run across the word example?
If not, if you ask nicely, maybe stephen will look it up on wikipedia for you.

Example of what??
What are you talking about?

AIDS spawned the gay-rights movement.
Do not let moral outrage blind you to what people are actually saying:

Until AIDS, the gay-rights movement was scattered and disorganized. Dealing with the AIDS crisis created new social networks and allowed the gay-rights groups to organize. These organized groups faced a simple problem: With the vast majority of the people in the United States opposed to our goals, how do we get them enacted?

They have used several tactics to attract support. One tactic is sex ed. In sex ed classes around the country, kids are taught that gay sex is as natural and normal as heterosexual sex. Whether or not you believe that, the fact is that a lot of parents feel differently about that issue, and by forcing it upon them the gay-rights crowd has offended a lot of people.

Another important tactic is the use of the courts. The courts were able to force abortion on America at a time when only a distinct few favored it, and so this was a logical choice for a group that had unpopular views. We end up with Massachusetts, where the courts ordered the state to begin conducting gay marriages. 60% and up of the people in this country disagree with the idea of gay marriage, but the court forced it upon them, and so they are angry about it. More people, myself included, are angry because the courts intervened where they had no business doing so, and therefore robbed the public of the opportunity to decided through the normal electoral process.

This article has nothing to do with the morality of homosexuality, gay marriage or civil unions. It similarly has little to do with AIDS. The key point is that the tactics, bluster and message of the gay-rights activists offend a lot of people, and in doing so they help their enemies.

Yes, homosexuals and their supporters have a right to get angry. You can be as moraly outraged as you like, Lemuel, but realize that 66% or so of America disagrees with you. Getting angry is part of your problem, and part of the reason you drive so many sensible people away.

And so?
I don't understand.

You're saying that gay rights groups should have used different tactics. Is that really your call? Or, if you want to help gay rights organizations achieve their goals, you can certainly make suggestions.

But I really don't understand your point. Is the idea that gays shouldn't try to organize, or have no beefs? That courts shouldn't consider suits based on charges of discrimination?

>Yes, homosexuals and their supporters have a right to get angry. You can be as moraly outraged as you like, Lemuel, but realize that 66% or so of America disagrees with you. Getting angry is part of your problem, and part of the reason you drive so many sensible people away.

Again: here's too alternatives. 1. you personally don't think gays should have rights to marriage, community property, etc. In this case, why should gay shrillness bug you -- I mean, it's a plus.

2. is you believe that gays do deserve rights. So the question then would be, what are you doing to bring this about?

If it's neither - if you don't care one way or another -- you don't have a dog in this fight, so I don't see why you're getting upset.

Read the words. Assuming hatred and bigotry is one of your problems.
Pointing out that a tactic does not work does not mean that you either agree or disagree with the goals of the movement that is adopting that tactic, it just means that you are saying that it does not further those goals.

I am unclear as to where you get the idea that I am upset. You made a point that is totally irrelevant, and accuses the author of doing something he clearly did not do. All the author did was point out a failing tactic, he did not make any moral judgments. You respond to his article by lashing out at him for doing something he did not do. Read what the author said, do not assume that he is out shooting homosexuals for sport because he says the movement is turning-off potential voters with offensive tactics.

Read what I wrote: I made no such accusation.
I didn't "assume hatred and bigotry" on your part. I simply asked: were you in favor of discrimination, or weren't you?

If you were in favor, my question was, why wouldn't you be glad that gay activists were acting in a self-defeating fashion. If you were against discrimination, etc, my question would be, what would you recommend doing differently to achieve the end.

if you don't care one way or another, I was wondering why you were concerned (not 'upset?") I mean, why does it matter to you? Why bother commenting on it?

>All the author did was point out a failing tactic, he did not make any moral judgments.

Except a) what does the "failing tactic" have to do with AIDS? and b) tactical issues are not the only question. Behind the tactical questions of what's effective is the question of what's right - the moral issue.

He's dodging it, and so are you.

Rational arguments with irrational actors.
Most arguments contain some sort of focus, generally referred to as the "thesis," as well as supporting information for those arguments, quite frequently organized in to "contentions," central ideas that, when taken together, prove the thesis.

This article had nothing to do with moral issues. The author was pointing out a failing tactic. His thesis is that AIDS activism has been a major contributing factor to the global loss of power by the left, along with issues like economics and national security. He does not attempt to argue about the moral issues surrounding homosexuality and AIDS, he simply argues that the tactics used by the gay-rights movement in their AIDS activism have angered a lot of people on the right and have converteda lot of people on the left.

The question of morality is both irrelevant to his argument, and ours. You said, for instance:

"The bottom line: that AIDS will trigger a world-wide religious revival, and smite those darn liberals really hard, and maybe put the homos back into the closet where they belong -- is only missing a suggestion that AIDS was sent by the good lord himself to move politics to the right."

Point out to me where the author expresses any sort of glee over "homos going back in to the closet where they belong" or even the "worldwide religious revival." He does not, and even if he did, it would be irrelevant to his central argument. Whether the homosexual activists are doing the "right thing" or not does not matter, his point is that they way they are pursuing it does not work, and in fact causes a backlash.

Both the author's and my own personal beliefs are irrelevant to this issue. Deal with the argument at hand, and we can engage in debate. Hallucinate wild fantasies, and you will only be able to denate with yourself.

Putin and Hu are liberals
Ah, but Russia and China ARE run by liberal politicans. They use heavy state interference in both private economic transactons and personal beliefs to build society into what they think is better regardless of what the common man wants or suffers. That is a liberal politican. What, you were using some archaic definition? Perhaps you also think telling someone he "looks gay" still means he appears happy.

an example of liberals doing things that run counter to their stated goals.
please try to keep up. If you have trouble, run upstairs and ask your mom for help.

eric is using the standard MSM defintion of liberal and conservative
liberals are those people who do things the MSM approves of.
Conservatives are those people who do things the MSM disapproves of.

Connection is overstated
While it is certainly true that the world has become a generally more conservative place in recent history, at approximately the same time as the AIDS epicdemic, I believe the connection between the two is fairly tenuous.

Modern conservatism, as a movement, was well underway during the 60s, building strength against the post-new deal consesus. The culmination of this was the election of Thatcher in 1979 and of Reagan in 1980. AIDS was not described until 1981, and didn't really enter the mainstream consciousness until the middle of that decade, well after conservatism was already ascendent.

Further, although there certainly has been something of a pushback against gay marriage adovcates, gay rights are at a much more advanced state in 2006 than they were in 1980 and, while it appears gay groups won't quite get what they want at the end of the day, they're not going to lose much, if any, of the rather signifcant gains they have made.

I certainly think it's plausible that AIDS will have a significant conservatising influence in the third world, but in the first world, the reaction against AIDS and AIDS activists was a small reinforcement of an already well-established trend.

Not just overstated -- out of his league
Once again Pinkerton confuses rant with observation and analysis. Linking a single variable (AIDS) with anything as complex as an ideological or political shift is less than tenuous and borders on the imaginary. Nor is his argument of a trend to the right or conservativism even close to reality (witness Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and (even his Latin American representive) -- Mexico). He also apparently needs a reminder that "left" and "right" have different political implications beyond the US political system.

Pinkerton could draw the same erroneous conclusion by jumping on the world-is-ending global warming bandwagon and conclude that GW is a consequence of HIV/AIDS and the movement to the right is the cause of both.

If Pinkerton wants to rant about a decline in morality the world over, then let him rant untrammeled and freely about morality qua morality. This specious meander into causality simply qualifies him as a wing-nut and discredits serious conservativism, and plays directly into the hands of irresponsible leftists.

D'uh!
The fact that lots of people are against gays and lesbians getting married, etc. is not in dispute. The titleline of this post is what Homer Simpson would say.

It is also true that for a long time civil rights for women and for black people faced opposition from large groups of people too, and efforts by women and blacks (suffrage movement, civil rights movement) produced the same kinds of backlash we are seeing now.

So the open and important question is not whether or not gay rights activists are creating backlash - d'uh - but whether this cause is morally comparable to the previous movements. Avoiding this question makes the whole article and argument "irrelevant," to use your words.

Nail hit on head
Perfectly stated: thank you sir!

"f Pinkerton wants to rant about a decline in morality the world over, then let him rant untrammeled and freely about morality qua morality. This specious meander into causality simply qualifies him as a wing-nut and discredits serious conservativism nd plays directly into the hands of irresponsible leftists."

Doesn't follow
The author does not make one argument in favor of his thesis. He does not try to describe the mechanism of how cultural conservatism arises from cultural liberalism, except to say it is a backlash. But he offers no evidence for it.

There are many reasons for backlash against the left other than social liberalism. In the U.S. the Right was acendent because of many issues, for example gun-control. More people voted conservative out of a backlash against gun-control over the past 15 years than anything else. And firearms freedom is a CIVIL LIBERTIES issue of the Right.

The auther makes one blatantly false statement:

"Parenthetically, we might observe that the popular culture in many countries is libertarian, even libertine -- although it's probably only a matter of time before the political culture exerts its conservatizing influence."

Is there a popular culture ANYWHERE that is really libertarian? And political culture FOLLOWS popular culture, not the other way around. Notice the failure to impose political solutions to so many cultural problems around the world -- Iraq, for example. Politics follows culture. Culture does not follow politics.

Liberalism --> Libertinism
"We can be reasonably optimistic, based on recent history, that scientific medicine will survive this anti-modern onslaught. But it's not likely that liberalism, and liberationism, will survive without severe modifications."

Liberalism and liberationism have been transformed into Libertinism. A behavioral condition which is always destructive to the Libertine and those associate with him or her.

Any rational set of people will, upon observation, reject Libertinism and move toward principled behavior which accepts responsibility and restraint as its core values. Those are the only so called "severe modifications" that will allow those who refer to themselves as Liberals or Liberationists to survive.

Continence
The one thing liberals won't tell you is, "Straighten up and fly right."

There's some dreamed-of state where every disease has a cure and everyone does as they please as long as nobody feels bad. I believe liberals fully count on that day arriving sometime.

But I've never heard a liberal say, "Keep your pants on and your knees together." Instead they say, "Wear a condom." I've never heard them say, "You made your bed, now sleep in it." Instead they say, "Oh, poor thing, let me help with some tax money."

The policies of liberalism produce weakness. Or if they do produce strength, it's going to be through natural selection as a billion people kill themselves off through immorality.

"I was born to shiver in the draft of an open mind."

I used to think that poetic line was noble, until I had shivered enough and went and got a jacket on.

Publius also answered this; they are not comparable
Which has created another backlash from minorities and some women's groups.

Even if you say it is a "given" that being gay is something you are born with; being "In-your-face" about it the way the gay movement has been is really energizing the movement against them. When you add to that the fact that there is NO EVIDENCE that being gay is genetic and a large majority of Americans believe that, at some level, it is a choice, you have to be more Martin Luther King than Black Panther on this.

But gays chose the more openly defiant route. They decided to curcimvent the people through the courts. The result is a lot more people lining up against them.

There weren't many numbers on this until about 10 years ago; but judging from the people I knew back then (several of them were "out of the closet" but didn't "advertise it" gays) I would say that 60% of Americans in 1985 didn't have a really strong opinion on the issue and even had some sympathy because of the AIDS epidemic in the gay community. 20 years later 60-70% of Americans are actively anti-homosexual rights.

Why the change? You figure it out.

The gay rights movement isn't a failure, it is a disgrace. When adults feel their kids are being "indoctronated" with an agenda they aren't too in favor of, then they feel they are being subjugated to that agenda by "king sh it" judges acting against the will of the people they tend to get pi ssed. Angry enough to develop a strong opinion against an agenda they really didn't care about before (and might have even marginally agreed with).

That is what this article is about. The morality is constantly argued; but what is so hard about keeping you sex life in the bedroom? Unless you saw me with my wife and kids, you couldn't tell what my sexual preference was for sure. I don't run around making my sexual preference the total do-all, say-all defination of my life. I don't know many hetros who do, do you?

In the end, homosexuals are discriminated against because of their actions, not their sexual preference. The gay professionals I've know were much like myself; you couldn't tell the difference unless you followed them home. If the homosexual community embraced that as the representation of their lifestlye, they might have already gotten almost everything they want.

I still don't understand what the issue is
I mean, if you believe that being gay is just an unfortunate choice and "gay rights" is an illegitimate cause, not at all comparable with civil right and suffrage, where's the problem?

Gay rights activists are shooting themselves in the foot, by this analysis. So if you think they're wrongheaded, why isn't this a cause for celebration instead of criticism?

>The morality is constantly argued; but what is so hard about keeping you sex life in the bedroom?

Until a recent Supreme Court decisions, homosexual sex -- that is, a man doing something with a man that would be legal if he did it with a woman -- was illegal in some states. That is, even if people kept their sex life in the bedroom, they could be arrested for it. Was the Supreme Court overreaching??

>In the end, homosexuals are discriminated against because of their actions, not their sexual preference

See above. What 'actions' are you talking about? Apparently you don't mean simply gay sex. Being publically and visibly gay and not lying about it is an action. Is this something that legitimizes discrimination?

>. If the homosexual community embraced that as the representation of their lifestlye, they might have already gotten almost everything they want.

But they haven't, so they haven't gotten what they want. So where's the problem in this for you?

DIDN'T WE JUST GO THROUGH THIS WITH ANTIBIOTICS??
These people are convinced that science will come to the rescue.

Dr. Julie Overbaugh, Ph.D.
Affiliate Professor of Microbiology and Pathobiology
Member, Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center

She was the First speaker on the first day.

Her speech introduced "me" to something called the super-infected, these are people who have confined their sexual encounters exclusively to HIV infected partners. They have more the one type of HIV.

So now we have multiple strains of HIV.

Searching google I discover that we now have multiple strains of drug resistant HIV.

not only should we stop treating these people, we should be quarantining them, if that doesn't work then we should be culling them out of the heard before this virus finds a new vector of infection, like coughs or sneezing?

Have we lost our minds?



Victimhood
I think also that the backlash is a natural product of a natural tendency people have. People are not so different from chickens. If one's different, the chickens will peck it to death. Human beings rationalize it and ascribe good motives to themselves, but they really find ways to reject those who are different.

Pair that up with the liberal generation that considers itself superior by virtue of its sympathy for victims, and its desire to make things right for the downtrodden, marginalized and oppressed. So it only makes sense for our guilt to be the motivator to give gay people equal status in law, when their behavior and the ramifications of their behavior are very different than normal human sexual reproductive and parenting patterns.

The natural tendency to gang up with others of like mind is now bumping up against the desire to be noble toward the disinherited.

I think there's an alternative way that would be more effective: Take the high road and show what you give to society, stop being a victim and set a standard that makes you a person of value. It doesn't matter what occupation you have or whatever. Don't play up differences. That way, we all get a bunch of good people that we really need now, and we aren't so freaked out by fat guys in lipstick and feathers, and big ol' ugly dykes. I mean, people have the right to self expression, but not the right to others' approval and acceptance.

So asking for equal rights is abnormal??
So discriminatin against gays is justified because they are "different?"

>Human beings rationalize it and ascribe good motives to themselves, but they really find ways to reject those who are different.

Sure they do. That's why we had (for example) the civil rights act. Was that wrong??

>So it only makes sense for our guilt to be the motivator to give gay people equal status in law, when their behavior and the ramifications of their behavior are very different than normal human sexual reproductive and parenting patterns.

"Normal" is not the right word here. Homosexuals are part of human populations everywhere, in all culture. Sometimes they are accepted as such, sometimes they are discriminated against, Regarding parenting, one thing homosexuals want to do is parent otherwise unwanted children, and live together openly as committed partners. What's threatening or "abnormal" about this?

>The natural tendency to gang up with others of like mind is now bumping up against the desire to be noble toward the disinherited.

It' is not a question of "being noble," but of being fair.

> Don't play up differences. That way, we all get a bunch of good people that we really need now, and we aren't so freaked out by fat guys in lipstick and feathers, and big ol' ugly dykes.

Many do. They have the same legal status and suffer the same discrimination as fat guys in lipstick and feathers and big ol' ugly dykes.

> I mean, people have the right to self expression, but not the right to others' approval and acceptance.

Nobody's asking for "approval." What are being asked for are the same rights as other people regarding community property, parenting, job discrimination and etc. Why is this so threatening?

A song lyric
We've all seen the man at the liquor store beggin' for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange
He ask the man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes
Get a job you fuckin' slob's all he replied

[CHORUS]
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it's like [X4]

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said don't worry about a thing baby doll I'm the man you've been dreamin' of
But three months later he said he won't date her or return her call
And she sweared god damn if I find that man I'm cuttin' off his balls
And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin' through the doors
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a *****

[CHORUS]
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to choose
Then you really might know what it's like [X4]
I've seen a rich man beg
I've seen a good man sin
I've seen a tough man cry
I've seen a loser win
And a sad man grin
I heard an honest man lie
I've seen the good side of bad
And the down side of up
And everything between
I licked the silver spoon
Drank from the golden cup
Smoked the finest green
I stroked daddies dimes at least a couple of times
Before I broke their heart
You know where it ends
Yo, it usually depends on where you start

I knew this kid named Max
He used to get fat stacks out on the corner with drugs
He liked to hang out late at night
Liked to get **** faced
And keep pace with thugs
Until late one night there was a big gun fight
Max lost his head
He pulled out his chrome .45
Talked some ****
And wound up dead
Now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of his pain
You know it crumbles that way
At least that's what they say when you play the game

[CHORUS]
God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to lose
Then you really might know what it's like [X4]
To have to lose...

No Subject
So discriminatin against gays is justified because they are "different?" No, it isn't justified. I meant to say that people are a little bit like chickens.

>Human beings rationalize it and ascribe good motives to themselves, but they really find ways to reject those who are different.

Sure they do. That's why we had (for example) the civil rights act. Was that wrong??

/Well, I can't say that the civil rights act was wrong, but i can say that the culture of victimhood is wrong. Is it possible to separate the civil rights act from the furtherance of victimhood and the production of generations of people dependent on welfare? Yes, that's certainly possible. The civil rights act was built out of brave behavior, not victim behavior.

>So it only makes sense for our guilt to be the motivator to give gay people equal status in law, when their behavior and the ramifications of their behavior are very different than normal human sexual reproductive and parenting patterns.

"Normal" is not the right word here. Homosexuals are part of human populations everywhere, in all culture. Sometimes they are accepted as such, sometimes they are discriminated against, Regarding parenting, one thing homosexuals want to do is parent otherwise unwanted children, and live together openly as committed partners. What's threatening or "abnormal" about this?

/I wish we would openly look at people who are homosexual as just other people. And just to let you know, I think homosexual people could be great parents to adoptable kids.

I think it's flat-out wrong to produce children oneself, deliberately creating a child without a father or mother. It's cruel to take the father or mother away from the child however you do it. It's not the end of the world, but we should first try to give the children their own mother and father together. Otherwise we're deliberately creating victims. The kids I know that are the products of a deliberately single parent are living in poverty. One of the families I know has a school-teacher mother and those kids are doing as well as you can without a normal view of life. I criticize their mother but I know it's nothing I had a vote on. Their mother fantasizes it's good for her kids to be in the minority, and good for them to feel apart from everyone else. The daughter tries very hard not to seem any different. The son has a genetic condition that he inherited from his mother, which she passed to him, so she could be a mother. His difference is obvious. He is an angry kid, especially toward people like me. I know she'd have always wished she could've had kids, but I don't think it was right for her to do that. As for the other gay family, they're lesbians and they now have four children conceived artificially. I kid you not. Rag-tag. Conceived to satisfy their desire to give birth. It's a free country, and I have my vote and I vote conservative.

>The natural tendency to gang up with others of like mind is now bumping up against the desire to be noble toward the disinherited.

It' is not a question of "being noble," but of being fair.

/good point. What's fair and what's equal?

> Don't play up differences. That way, we all get a bunch of good people that we really need now, and we aren't so freaked out by fat guys in lipstick and feathers, and big ol' ugly dykes.

Many do. They have the same legal status and suffer the same discrimination as fat guys in lipstick and feathers and big ol' ugly dykes.

/My point, which I didn't make clearly, was that over decades of time the decent behavior of most AND then the claiming of rights rather than victimhood, would be effective. By b.i.l is gay and rich and has a great life. As for his legal rights, I wish his s.o. could ride in an ambulance with him and all that stuff. I think it's an ambulance problem. But I do see a point in the legal rights question and I'm changing my views. I think there's moral behavior for gay people that's a lot like moral behavior for everyone. The spread of AIDS was a terrible consequence of immorality.

> I mean, people have the right to self expression, but not the right to others' approval and acceptance.

Nobody's asking for "approval." What are being asked for are the same rights as other people regarding community property, parenting, job discrimination and etc. Why is this so threatening?

/Why this threatens us is we tie up homosexuality with the spread of aids, with cultural dissolution, with loss of common cultural assumptions that make us feel like strangers in our own country, with crime because criminals are also on the margins along with flamboyant gay lifestyles (not causally connected but convenient to one-another), with sensibilites attacked on both sides, and polarization for all. Lest I sound like I'm blaming gay people for all this, I'm not. Don't we all feel threatened? Is it necessary? Is it a catalyst for change?

Your bottom line is still prejudice is fine, objecting to it is "victimhood"
I mean, can you really not put yourself in anyone else's place and see problems with this?

>Is it possible to separate the civil rights act from the furtherance of victimhood and the production of generations of people dependent on welfare? Yes, that's certainly possible. The civil rights act was built out of brave behavior, not victim behavior.

What "victim behavior?" Is demanding equal rights under law "victim behavior." What's the law for beside protecting people from being victimized?

You write a long thing about children and bad choices - what does this have to do with discrimination against gays in trying to repair bad situations?

and this:
>I know she'd have always wished she could've had kids, but I don't think it was right for her to do that. As for the other gay family, they're lesbians and they now have four children conceived artificially. I kid you not. Rag-tag. Conceived to satisfy their desire to give birth.

I really don't understand this at all. If a male-female married couple where the male is sterile use a sperm donor, is that "conceived to satisfy their desire to give birth," or might it have something to do with having a child?

>I think there's moral behavior for gay people that's a lot like moral behavior for everyone. The spread of AIDS was a terrible consequence of immorality.

It was a consequence of unsafe sex, both homosexual and heterosexual. Lots of immorality still goes on, but with condoms you don't spread AIDS. Why not encourage condom use as well as talking about morality?

Pointy Song Lyrics--Ow!
That is a beautiful song, a great expression of the artist.

Little bit victimy. Some people are genuinely victims of things beyond their control. Others are victims of their own choices. I don't know what it's like to be a drug dealer 'coz I a'ready knew what dat'd be like.

No Subject
I mean, can you really not put yourself in anyone else's place and see problems with this?

/I have. I also know about enmeshment and lack of alternative ideas.

>Is it possible to separate the civil rights act from the furtherance of victimhood and the production of generations of people dependent on welfare? Yes, that's certainly possible. The civil rights act was built out of brave behavior, not victim behavior.

What "victim behavior?" Is demanding equal rights under law "victim behavior." What's the law for beside protecting people from being victimized?

/Exactly. Demanding civil rights is not victim behavior, but spitting in someone's face and calling them stupid and THEN demanding civil rights IS. The right way to do it is, play the game and then switch it when you get up there. That's how the Irish did it, the Italians, etc.

You write a long thing about children and bad choices - what does this have to do with discrimination against gays in trying to repair bad situations?

/Not much I guess. I really respected what you said about wanting to adopt adoptable children. That's an excellent cause.

and this:
>I know she'd have always wished she could've had kids, but I don't think it was right for her to do that. As for the other gay family, they're lesbians and they now have four children conceived artificially. I kid you not. Rag-tag. Conceived to satisfy their desire to give birth.

I really don't understand this at all. If a male-female married couple where the male is sterile use a sperm donor, is that "conceived to satisfy their desire to give birth," or might it have something to do with having a child?

Mom and Dad.

>I think there's moral behavior for gay people that's a lot like moral behavior for everyone. The spread of AIDS was a terrible consequence of immorality.

It was a consequence of unsafe sex, both homosexual and heterosexual. Lots of immorality still goes on, but with condoms you don't spread AIDS. Why not encourage condom use as well as talking about morality?

Condom use isn't all the way effective against AIDS. I mean, yes they're needed to slow it down.

And as the article points out, it's a different story in third world countries where ignorance is as rampant as AIDS and they are told sex with an uninfected person such as a child can cure you of AIDS, and they believe it. In those countries, morality would have helped a whole lot. The morality of quarantines and a strong abstinence program and good leadership would be just the ticket. Immorality makes people weak.

Thanks for your sincerity & willingness to engage with the issues
I appreciate it.

>Demanding civil rights is not victim behavior, but spitting in someone's face and calling them stupid and THEN demanding civil rights IS. The right way to do it is, play the game and then switch it when you get up there.

You have a few people being deliberately provocative. But the bottom line is and has to be not provocation, but the real legal & moral issues involved. Or at least so I think.

> And as the article points out, it's a different story in third world countries where ignorance is as rampant as AIDS and they are told sex with an uninfected person such as a child can cure you of AIDS, and they believe it. In those countries, morality would have helped a whole lot. The morality of quarantines and a strong abstinence program and good leadership would be just the ticket. Immorality makes people weak

Actually, moralizing, as opposed to morality, that is, the fear of being stigmatized as immoral is a real problem in Africa in combatting AIDS. People won't get tested because they're afraid if they are officially known to have AIDs, people will brand them as immoral. So they hide it and infect more people.

Good thoughts
I understand what you mean, and I'm really encouraged that you recognize that the song has a point.

What I like about the song is that it does make the distinction. The punk Max, gunned down for shooting off his mouth, made his own bed. But his wife and children suffer the consequences.

Dough
Alas, when you discover people who continue to do things in the face of their own failure (and who moralize against their enemies) you may be sure you have a modern-day Willy Sutton. That's where the money is folks.

Come on Eric…
This isn't even close to over your head. The point is, no matter how good idea might be, you need to convey it in a way that doesn't alienate those that might work with you. That is what gays have doen and that is the point.

BTW, there is no comparison with the civil right movement. Gays can live free of harassment simply by not parading around acting like their sexual preference is all they are. As I said, the out-of-the-closet, not-advertising-it business professional is not hiding anything, he is simply about other things in his life. He is admittedly gay, but doing his job and living the lifestlye he is living is also very important. I don't know many people who have a problem with a person like this.

Racial minorities, on the other hand, have a bit more difficulty making their difference unobtrusive. That is a big difference!!

Besides, you had better get the civil rights activists and backers on your side, in super majority fashion, before you go hitching your cause to theirs. Since gay rights people didn't do that, they have lost an active support from the minority community and the main stream civil right groups (whether minority or women's rights). More alienation of potential friends.

Yes, it is a problem for me. I have had several gay friends and some of them have been hurt by this (often from the very community that says they want to help them). Outing a person who isn't ready for that has caused more gay suicides than anyone will ever admit. Gays bashing closet gays is more prevalent than the reverse or even than gay bashing by homophobes.

Twenty years ago most people were willing to listen, and maybe do something about gay rights issues. Now it is close to a super-majority who don't even want to hear it. Through their own actions, the gay rights movement has harmed itselft and many of its own.

yeah, I have a problem with that!!

Why is this your call??
I mean, you're telling people how to live their lives.

>Gays can live free of harassment simply by not parading around acting like their sexual preference is all they are.

Unless they want to adopt children, or want to visit an ill partner in a hospital. And unless they live in small towns where they can be threatened or worse no matter how discreet they try to be. Are you really the only or the best judge of what their situation is?

>Twenty years ago most people were willing to listen, and maybe do something about gay rights issues. Now it is close to a super-majority who don't even want to hear it.

This is a glass-half-full/glass-half-empty situation. The ground is shifting, and not in favor of prejudice. Yes, demagogues will demagogue, but young people overwhelming favor gay righs.
See this Pew poll.

http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=273

Just when I thought we might get along
You go and read a small part of my post and pick out the least notable points to argue.

I've said all along, it is not my call. But it is, or should be, the call of the voting public as a whole.

Don't be an idiot, this is fool's gold - "This is a glass-half-full/glass-half-empty situation. The ground is shifting, and not in favor of prejudice. Yes, demagogues will demagogue, but young people overwhelming favor gay rights."

Sure they are. Then they have kids and get slapped in the face with all the rhetorical crap and turn against the movement. Gays have lost ground over the last 20 years. During that time a generation has died and another has come of age, and they are losing ground. As long as they continue to force people to ploarize on the issue, they will continue to lose.

Did you read the Pew poll?
I don't understand

>Then they have kids and get slapped in the face with all the rhetorical crap and turn against the movement.

Lost ground? Looks like the reverse. and why is that bad? The trend is (I guessed, and guessed wrong) is across generational lines, and it's flowing in the opposite direction from the one you describe.

it's a poll
and meaningless to this discussion. A similar poll with nearly identical results was years ago. Now those people who were then in their teens and 20s are in their 30s or 40s. Those in the 30s and 40s are now in their 50s and 60s, etc. Guess what? The number did change much except that a larger number of loder people now feel strongly against the gay rights movement.

I saw a poll about 10-15 years ago that said that teens were ovrewhelming accepting of gay rights, that people in their 20s and 30s were largely supportive, that people in their 40s were about evenly divided and people 50 and up were strongly against it.

Surprise!! The pew poll says pretty much the same thing while public opinion as a whole is notable over 60% against gay marriage and nearly that against any recognization of gays needing their rights protected.

As I said, it sure seemed like a more gay friendly, or at least gay neutral, world 20 years ago. They may be winning a few battles in the courts, but they are losing a lot of battles in the court of public opinion.

So, at least over the past 20 years, it appears polls like this one are pretty much meaningless. As those strongly supportive 20 and 30 somethings in 1985 hit their 40s and 50s in 2005 they grew less supportive as an age demographic.

Huh, imagine that, people changed their minds as they got older.

Meaningless??
It's a recent poll on precisely the issues beng discussed.

>he pew poll says pretty much the same thing while public opinion as a whole is notable over 60% against gay marriage and nearly that against any recognization of gays needing their rights protected.

Where does this 60 percent figure come from if not another poll? I'm not going to pre-judge, but why are the Pew numbers wrong and the other numbers right?

>As I said, it sure seemed like a more gay friendly, or at least gay neutral, world 20 years ago. They may be winning a few battles in the courts, but they are losing a lot of battles in the court of public opinion.

The Pew survey indicates the opposite. Why is it incorrect?

Because of several factors
Most importantly is the fact that this poll, which was reported as some important change in popular attitude only also notes a similar decline before. The numbers in July of 2003 are almost identical to this poll but, come an election year, they were back to near historic highs against and lows for.

Now I can understand the shift in the middle (undecided) but why did gay rights backers suddely evaporate?

Because these polls are largely bullsh it.

Since 1990 there has been a 25-30 solid core who back Gay Rights. There has been a solid core 50% who are strongly opposed. The remaining 20-25% are largely undecided, but a vast majority tend to shift to the opposed column come voting time. (Even when a Democrat is elected to the Whitehouse.)

The 62% to 69% opposed is how people vote. Check the protection of marriage laws in every state where they have appeared on the ballot. (almost 80% when it went to the ballot in my state)

Also, look at the bouncing ball. Oddly, in 1996 (the firt year on the list and another election year) it was 69% against, 27% for. Then the gap closed and, in 2001 it was 57-35 and in 2003 it was 53-38 (note that both were non-election years) in 2004, right around election time, it was 61-29 again. Now this is a mid-term so the numbers may not move sharply upward, unless there is a major national gay rights event. But, no matter what the survey shows, I will guarantee the gap will again grow in 2008.

To make a long story short, the poll doesn't show what you (and it) say it does. If you look a bit more closely you see it shows that support for gay rights has been, at best, stagnant for at least a decade.

This looks accurate
I believe it because it includes those who waver, and I'm one of 'em.

Imagine someone being able to tell you who you can or can't visit in the hospital, take out an insurance policy with, and make final plans with, etc.

But being homosexual is different. Doesn't have to be "less than."

If you're going to accord someone respect, wouldn't the respect include who they are? Or if not respect, at least a decent politeness. We could be judging each other by our actions, the ones that touch edges with other people's actions. (I'm getting sketchy here, going into new territory.)

I think your heading the way you want to be Lisa
On your first point, that is exactly right.

On your second point you are right again; especially if that person means as much to you as a husband or wife would.

On your third point you are right again. Being homosexual is different in many ways. First off it isn't a visible difference (unless you choose to make it one). Second the question of whether or not you are born that way is long from answered (and may never be). And third, marriage was long a religious institution first and a social one second.

The government needs to recognize the social aspect (and gay civil unions do this) but shouldn't force it into the same arena as marriage.

Finally, what I think you are trying to say is that gay civil unions can be as much a celebration of who they are as some way to stigmatize and seperate gays from the majority of people. That depends on how you do it, but you are right again. This could be a very positive thing and carry no negative connotations at all, that will depend on how gays receive it and what they decide to do with it.

Finally, I'm not much of a waffler on this. (no offense meant) I believe gays do not deserve special protection or special inclusion, but do need some recognition and some access to the same financial and social protections afforded straights.

Like it or not, the institution of marriage is still seen, largely, as one designed for the support and protection of pregnant women and small children. This simply does not apply to gays; they are different. Their sexual preference precludes pro-creation.

Therefore I also don't believe gays should have automatic adoption rights or any other rights to children per se. But, I don't believe they should be automatically excluded. Gays who want to adopt should have to go through a slightly more streneous screening; but, if they can prove they have a fairly happy home and can give the love and attention the child needs, then they should be acceptable. There are a number of smaller issues that also exist.

This is good, Pauled.
I have an in-law that is a happily ensconced gay man and I don't wish him to lack any legal rights or civil rights. It's interesting to see how it goes with them.

I look at the distinction between my marriage and his relationship, to see what is the essential thing they have that's different. I don't know their HIV status because it's none of my b. but my uncle move to San Francisco back in the eighties and subsequently died of AIDS, and he taught me a lot about valuing the different things others bring in. We need all kinds of different thinking. That's the treasure in modern society, really. Mark Steyn was talking about freedom of thought on the radio today.

Again, pretty much right on
I have a ******* cousin who has been in a relationship with the same woman for 20 years. They have two kids (artificial insemination) and the children are not well adjusted. While the two women are attentive parents and seem to do a good job raising the kids, it doesn't seem to be enough. This, and a couple of other experiences with children raised by gays, is why I am very wary of gays as parents.

But, generally, yeah, There needs to be some real thinking and that is the treasure of modern society.

xx and xy
I agree with you, it's something to look at. Once in awhile I will read this certain magazine geared toward modern, non-traditional mothers. In one article a girl writes, "I was raised by two lesbians and I turned out okay," basically. Well, one of the partners had left a few years ago. And it's true the girl was articulate and made her case. But she felt like she was the only one on earth like herself, and as if everyone else was the same as each other. I suppose we all go through this phase as a part of development.

I hate to alienate anyone, but...

My father is a gift to me and the role model in my life. It would be a tragedy for me if his role weren't there. I wouldn't have known it if it hadn't been there, but now that he's getting old I realize that even when he was kicking my butt because I broke a big mirror, there was more to the whole thing than that. At times when he and my mother would fight and tear each other down, I wished they'd break up. It was the logical thing. Now I see it 180 degrees differently.

It's extremely hard for a male and female to make a life together because they have different vested interests. That's why marriage is what it is. For gay people, they have the same sets of interests, or why bother.

I observe that with my b.i.l. and how the two of them are extremely successful at what they do, because there's a synergy with them. And I admire it so much. They've been together a year longer than my d.h. and i have.

But if they adopted a child, he or she would be sorely missing a mother, but of course that would be better than no 2 parents or no 1 original parent.

Yes, but we need some serious rules
That will come with the thinking, if we don't just react emotionally on this. (referring to your last paragraph.

Couldn't have said the first two paragraphs better, nothing much to add.

As for it being hard for men and women to live together, it is all that. Still, marriages only break up if the couple let it happen. Unfortunately, it takes two to get married and only one to get divorced.

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