12 August 2010

Notes from underground

In my view, there are probably two things that have moved public support on homosexual's rights:
1) the visible court battle relating to discrimination forced some uncomfortable subjects into public view and debate, where many of the arguments against were shown to be lacking or simply unnecessary for a legal system. The movies Philadelphia and then later Milk both perhaps helped in this respect by giving the broader public the milk and cookies version of events in these civil rights disputes, but not sparing some of the gory details either.
2) Magic Johnson got HIV, and suddenly taking AIDS more seriously than simply some sort of mystical plague or pox upon the unrighteous moved us to consider the plight of some among us and to take action. Putting a human face on who was out there, people's brothers, sons, sisters, daughters, friends, coworkers, and so on, moved the bar immensely.

In the wake of the Prop 8 ruling, it will be difficult to form a backlash (that wasn't already in place). Most of the teeth of that backlash has been kicked out into the open where it openly failed and appeared as little more than petty scare mongering. Rallying people to false claims and unrelated causes will do less over time than simple and declarative opposition to homosexuality itself, which has become stigmatized such that it will not be accepted practice, in time, to demand a certain legal inequality over and above our private and social or cultural misgivings. Meanwhile, cloudy issues like legal prostitution, which at least carries much sympathy with some in this cause, like myself, will continue to have to fight their own battles. Much less the supposed claim that we would, as a consequence of legally permitting homosexuals recognition of a basic human right, move to legalise sex with minors, which does not carry much sympathy nor does it seem an immediate moral failing that must be the inevitable consequence of permitting two adult men or women their private affairs. Washing us down a slippery morality slope no longer works when the issue itself is presented like this.

In any case, I doubt it will be a rallying cry for this election for any who it wasn't already that somehow "cultural elites" are ruining America with their imposition of tolerance for these radical things like equality of marriage rights through the private pursuit of life (and lifetime) happiness or the clearly insane idea that people should be free to worship as they see fit. But it might be interesting to see if it fractures some of the Republican momentum in the process by distracting enough attention away from their supposed bread and butter issue of the economy and deficit/budget (which I'd be fine with if they were also proposing some actual hard and fast ideas on how to resolve either. They cannot run away from Paul Ryan fast enough on this one).
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