Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"I am not gay and never have been."

Senator Larry Craig of Idaho was recently arrested for lewd conduct - soliciting sex in a men's bathroom. The person he solicited was another man, which you'd expect from the title. He was also an undercover cop.

If you read the article, Craig has tried to squirm his way out. Exactly what he said is of little consequence. More important is the fact that he's been a consistent opponent of gay rights.

Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, is calling for Craig to resign. Certainly, soliciting sex in a public bathroom is illegal. Further, if Craig did not use protection in his sexual encounters, he exposed his wife to AIDS and other STDs. However, as long as he always solicited consensual sex, my attitude towards him is the same as towards Bill Clinton: what he did was wrong, but it's not bad enough to force him out of office.

Hoekstra, though, misses the point. I try to shy away from psychodynamic explanations (explaining people's behavior based on their strong internal conflicts, often but not exclusively with parents or other authority figures). But many have said that many of the strongest anti-gay politicians and religious figures are gay themselves, and that hostility towards their own sexuality fuels their fanaticism. Certainly, there have been a large number of (male) political and religious leaders who have opposed gay rights, and been found having sex with men ... and there have been quite a few recent cases.

Something is not right here. The anti-gay crowd will condemn Craig and force him to resign. But they will simply continue to miss the point, that variations in sexual orientation are simply part of human nature. They will continue to act as if people like Jen, Alix, Riley and Olivia are threats to the institution of marriage. In fact, it is people like Larry Craig who threaten the institution of marriage by cheating on their spouses because of their same-sex desires. That threat can only be solved by creating a society where people may be open about their sexual orientation. For the homophobes, that would be worse than genocide, but they are on the losing end of the battle.

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