Distinctions Easy and Hard to Make

Distinctions Easy and Hard to Make

Subject: Gay Democrats sucking up to Kerry

You bash gay Republicans for supporting George Bush even though John Kerry supports an amendment in Massachusetts to ban same-sex marriage there. Gay Democrats said they would not support any Democrat politicians who supported an amendment to the Constitution and they challenged gay Republicans to do the same in their party. Now the Stonewall Democrats and other groups are endorsing John Kerry. Why aren’t you calling them hypocrites? Maybe because you’re a hypocrite too.

Re: Gay Democrats sucking up to Kerry.

Funny how gay Republicans are always screeching about gay Democrats being “single issue” voters but then are first to demand litmus tests, even when the distinctions among the candidates’positions are more complex.

True, John Kerry’s position on same-sex marriage––that marriage is between a man and woman, while civil unions should be the exclusive right of homosexuals––is pathetic and completely ridiculous. Most conservatives voters don’t see the difference and aren’t likely vote for him on a host of issues, so the idea of making a distinction here seems futile. And most Democrats––like most voters—don’t see same-sex marriage as a major issue for them, nor do they see it as some horrific threat, even if they don’t agree with it. So I don’t believe they would give a damn if Kerry supported same sex marriage.

And what he and any major Democratic politician would gain by supporting same-sex marriage would be integrity and honesty––I don’t believe he’s really opposed to it. They would also be taking an historic stand as a leader on an issue that really is a defining civil rights issue of our time.

That said, the distinctions between John Kerry and George W. Bush on gay rights and same-sex unions, are great and varied, and for anyone to try to compare the two and try to imply they are the same is pretty deluded. Aside from same-sex marriage, Kerry is in favor of every single gay rights initiative, from adoption and child custody issues to hate crimes laws and employment discrimination, while Bush hasn’t supported any major initiative and, when asked about Texas’ sodomy law in the 2000 campaign, went on the record supporting it!

Bush has never said he supports civil unions––even if his VP, Dick Cheney, said in 2000 that he’d like to leave same-sex marriage and civil unions to the states to decide, only to backtrack in recent months. Kerry has favored a sort of nationalized civil unions scheme, in which the federal government would recognize those enacted in specific states give gay and lesbian couples in civil unions all of the more than 1,000 federal rights of marriage. Going that route seems pretty unwieldy. But again, it’s a lot more than Bush has offered.

It was greatly disappointing that Kerry supported the Massachusetts legislature’s vote to put a constitutional amendment before voters banning same-sex marriage while giving gays civil unions and all of the rights of marriage––without calling it that. But at this point, the proposal still has to pass another constitutional convention held by the legislature and go to the voters on a ballot in 2006, so it’s not stopping same sex marriage right now. Come May 17, gay and lesbian couples will marry in Massachusetts. And there is always the possibility that should voters approve the amendment in 2006 it can be turned around in a subsequent constitutional convention in the legislature.

But amending the Constitution of the United States to discriminate against any group––and trying later to undo that––is a monumental act and one that would affect every lesbian, gay, and transgendered person in every state. What Democratic groups said was that they would not support any candidate who supported a federal amendment banning same-sex marriage, and as far as I know they have stuck to that.

For many of us, there are huge distinctions between the candidates on all of the issues tearing the country apart right now––from the war in Iraq to the economy––but even if you are a single-issue voter, the differences between Bush and Kerry on gay rights (and even on amending constitutions) are enough to make a clear choice.

Subject: Playing gay

I have a friend who often is flirting and coming on to me but then when I do something he says, “Hey, I’m straight.” I’m 24, he’s 23. Here is an example: He watched me getting dressed after I came out of the shower while he watched the television. He said, “Don’t you love walking around naked? You don’t have to get dressed, stay naked.” Then I started getting an erection and he was laughing and looking and then I went to touch him and he said, “No, I am not that way.” This happens a few times. What do you make of it? (I really would love to do it with him).

Re: Playing gay

Okay, I have no idea about your friend, as I don’t know him, but I’ve got to say that he seems like a card-carrying friend of Dorothy to me. It’s definitely true that many straight men love the attentions of gay men, and these days they’re more comfortable about accepting them rather than freaking out, even if they won’t cross the line into overt sexual interplay. But your friend seems just a bit too interested.

Telling you to remain naked in front of him while he watches you get a hard-on is, I think, a pretty good indicator that there’s something going on. Problem is, he may not be anywhere near ready to acknowledge it, even to himself, and if you push it he may resist and may genuinely believe he’s not at all interested and may even become hostile.

Homophobia is very powerful and a lot of people are in denial for a long time about their feelings. I don’t think you should count on him, and should definitely be seeking sex and dating elsewhere. In fact, if you play less into his teasing it may force him to be more upfront and assertive about his own feelings. And that’s the point where you can really have a talk with him––in addition, perhaps, to doing some other things.

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