The Roots of Anti-Gay Feeling

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker just gets worse and worse. Today, he’s announced that he will not defend a new state law, allowing “same-sex couples to take family and medical leave to care for a seriously ill partner, make end-of-life decisions and have hospital visitation rights,” because any legal respect for gay relationships plausibly violates the state constitution.

I’m not so naïve as to imagine that everyone who opposes gay marriage necessarily hates or fears gay men and women, as a group. It’s possible to have concerns about the institution, and its future, while acknowledging that gay relationships are of, and entitled to, equal dignity. This news out of Wisconsin, though, is something different entirely. Any political philosophy that would deny a man a chance to visit and care for his dying husband can only find its basis in hate, and in the absolute abandonment of any sense of Christian charity. Neither religion nor morality provide any cover for such a despicable position.

In my experience, too, it’s actually the rare conservative who would deny gay couples visitation rights, although it’s not an easy position for a lot of them to take. Chris Baker, a Houston conservative talk show personality in the mold of Glenn Beck, lost his show about a year after affirmatively endorsing visitation rights for gay couples (he’s now back, I hear). Like the Republican Party generally, apparently the anti-gay lobby’s response to its increasing marginalization is to radicalize.

We might also note that Walker’s decision to withdraw from defending his own state’s law approximates President Obama’s move, earlier this year, to non-enforce Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Cue conservative outrage in three… two… oh? Nothing? Right, of course.


  1. Just as a matter of practicality, how would this work? If Wisconsin doesn’t recognize gay marriage then legally these people are boyfriends and girlfriends. If Wisconsin allows this, how do you stop a heterosexual couple from forcing their employers to aloow medical leave for boyfriends and girlfriends?

  2. Yeah, I don’t have an answer to that. They seem to have a registry system, which I bet means you have to swear under penalty of perjury, etc., but that’s not without its own problems. I suppose it’d be easier to just let them marry…

  3. Beyond that, when does a gay boyfriend move from ‘we started dating a month ago’ to ‘Our relationship is so committed that I deserve time off’?

    Furthermore, what about non-married heterosexual couples who don’t believe in the institution but are in a longterm, committed, relationship? Would this new law, if passed, give them new rights they don’t necessarily have now?

  4. Thoughts:
    1) “Worse and worse” implies he was bad already, and frankly I can’t think of anything I know him for besides that ridiculous scuffle over public employee unions. Where, yeah, he looked like a dumbass a few times, but he wasn’t the one who abandoned his post and frankly I don’t give a shit whether public workers in Wisconsin can unionize or not, since I’m not a ‘Sconnie (although I am a public worker – in Virginia).

    2) It reminds me of Schwarzenegger and… Brown? Was he the AG? Anyway, of the officeholders in California not defending Proposition 8.

    3) All this “we have to defend marriage” and “you can’t change the meaning of the word marriage” nonsense (especially the second one – this is English we’re speaking, and English is the language that lets you make words up whenever you want and use them however you want. Of course you can change the meaning of the word marriage!) makes me want to start using the word “marriage” in a completely ludicrous way, such as the following:
    -Holy fuck, Summer Glau is marriage.
    -Look at that cat marriaging a watermelon!
    -I wish I had his sort of marriage.

%d bloggers like this: