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05/19/2010

On bearers, both ring- and standard-

by Jeremy Hooper

Using this site's post about Elisabeth Hasselbeck as an entry point, Dan Savage today asks a very provocative question: Should Melissa Etheridge, the person who Hasselbeck credits as having opened her eyes, be a spokesperson for marriage equality? Per Dan:

If we were talking about a conservative, twice-divorced, four-kids-by-two-different-women politician or preacher, gays and lesbians would be the first to point out—and pretty gleefully—that this person's private life made disqualified him from serving as a spokesperson for marriage, traditional or otherwise. Certainly when Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Brit Hume, et al, open their mouths about marriage, we don't hesitate to point to their failed marriages as evidence that they're not to be taken seriously. But in this instance the person with two failed marriages and four children by two different women is Melissa Etheridge, and... we're okay with her marrying and making babies and divorcing and marrying and making more babies and divorcing again... because she can thoughtfully and persuasively make the case for marriage rights for gays and lesbians. (And, hey, God bless anyone who can pound a little sense into Elisabeth Hasselbeck's thick skull.)
KEEP READING (*and seriously, you should, because there is more to Dan's analysis than just this): Twice-Divorced, Four Children By Two Different Women... [Slog]

Personally, I, Jeremy, say the comparison between an outspoken social conservative and an advocating out lesbian is pretty much apple/orange-y. Because those on the far-right who preach one thing and live another way are working to stop citizens from obtaining deserved rights. To halt progress for all. To condemn certain "lifestyles," all while (ostensibly) proving their own heightened ability to stay "traditional."

But advocates on our side are not typically coming from a place of judgment about how others live their lives -- they are coming from a place of what is right and wrong under civil law. What is fair for humane society. What is decent in a world that supposedly stands against religious views being tyrannically forced upon civil government.

For me it's the hypocrisy that always matters on the far-right. I couldn't have cared less about Rudy Giuliani's thrice-married quest for love, until he started condemning my right to marry the one man who I'm certain I'll be with until the day that I die. I couldn't give a condemned piece of shellfish less about certain Senators' personal interpretations of Leviticus until they start using them to turn our shared constitution into a weapon against my love. And on that same token: I, an out and proud monogamist, don't care what parameters any other gay or hetero person puts on their own marriage commitment, child-bearing, or views regarding divorce, just as long as (a) every tax-paying citizen has the same right to engage in a marriage as everyone else, and (b) no one certain view is presented as monolithic.

But Dan's is a provocative point, and a completely fair one to raise, in my humble O. What do the rest of you think?

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