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05/03/2010

On LGBT rights, this Cupp has holes

by Jeremy Hooper

CuppS.E. Cupp, the young author of Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity, is one of those professed gay allies whose untenable contradictions are in danger of hurting us more than they help. She's seemingly smart, capable, and with us in many areas. Unfortunately, Cupp comes across neglectful in other, arguably more influential ways that go beyond personal friendship and into the realm of weakened public policy.

On one hand, Cupp professes to loving gay bars, without any suggestion that the gays within should "change" or are in any way "immoral." But at the same time, she "strongly opposes" full marriage equality (only supports civil unions) and recently wrote a piece about how she doesn't understand why those in the gay community who are denied of marriage would have any issue with her and her heterosexual friends throwing bachelorette parties in gay establishments. Which is kind of like saying "I love you, I love that the government takes your tax money, and I'll even give you business to help you pay it —but don't you dare go thinking your rights or ring should mess with us in the right wing." It's the kind of outlook the keeps separate but (un)equal alive, even though it's a concept that has never once worked at any point in time.

Cupp also defends us against those conservatives who mention sex with animals as part of their anti-equality talking points, and she even acknowledges that "philosophically, conservatism's imprimatur on keeping the government out of our private lives makes it a natural ally for the gay marriage issue." Again, these are refreshing and welcome stances. However, when S.E. is tasked with putting together an inauguration piece for FOX News, she uses her journalist role to stack the deck with no less than four far, far, farrrrrrr right conservatives (including Peter LaBarbera), who use words like "gay lifestyle" and who suggest that LGBT inclusion lets "America see liberalism in all of its self-absorbed lunacy." The whole article makes it sound like the president was sworn into office on a copy of The Advocate, Michelle wore gay porn video screens as a skirt, and Sasha and Malia were entertained by puppet show versions of the "L Word's" steamiest love scenes, with the outnumbered pro-gay voices in S.E.'s piece forced to defend themselves against the nonsense that really didn't even need to be dignified by a mainstream news outlet.

But now Cupp—who refers to women who support gay rights (with the exception of marriage) as "young, cultured and open-minded," talks about "the time-honored relationship between straight women and gay men, which I loved so dearly," and professes to "possess the requisite cadre of gay friends who are - let's face it - smarter, funnier and more interesting than any of my straight friends" [*source for all quotes]—has, in my eyes, gone even further down the odd path of pick-it-and-choose-it-ocity. That's because she has granted a puffy, progressive-bashing interview to Focus on the Family, one of the LGBT community's most vocal, financially contributive, "ex-gay"-supportive, rights-condemning, socio-political opponents. And not only an interview, but one in which Ms. Cupp says things like this about some of the gay community's most supportive voices:

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: What should concerned Christians do to change the situation?

CUPP: "Peaceful protest. I'm shocked that there aren't protesters outside of The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, etc. on a daily basis protesting the way Christians are talked about. The liberal media calls Christians terrorists, extremists, simpletons and much, much worse. They treat them like they are pariahs. Well, I'd like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Lisa Miller and Glenn Greenwald and the rest of them to feel like pariahs. Instead, they're protected within a tiny, liberal, secular bubble, and they have no idea that the majority of the country shudders in disgust when they attack the values upon which America was founded. I think it's time Christian America woke from their slumber and saw just how bad it's gotten."
Friday Five: S.E. Cupp Talks About Losing Our Religion [C'Link]

So here we have a supposed gay ally, talking to an organization that instructs people to see their gay and lesbian friends or family member as "a person with a homosexual problem," and whose public policy officials just went on record to say that an openly gay SCOTUs nominee is a "non-starter." And yet it's LGBT allies Olbermann, Maddow, Miller, and Greenwald (two of whom are openly gay themselves) who are the ones who are supposedly on the attack?!? They are the ones who Cupp wants to treat like pariahs, all the while overlooking the fact—THE FACT!—that Focus on the Family has, for several decades now, been working on a daily basis to make LGBT people seem like pariahs!?!

Oh, and it's majorly respected outlets like The New York Times that are deserved of protest, yet sources like Focus on the Family's CitizenLink (where the rhetorical game of "smear the queer" is the substitute for the Sports section) are somehow fit to print? Again, this is all simply untenable rationale for anyone who pays attention to gays, the constitution, and the "culture war" that continually keeps the former away from equal protection in the latter.

And it's untenable both in terms of Focus on the Family's usage of Cupp, as well as Cupp's usage of the LGBT community. In terms of FOtF— if they're going to position Ms. Cupp as one of their supportive millennial voices, then they need to acknowledge that in many ways, Cupp (an out and proud atheist) stands in opposition to their anti-LGBT, pro-"ex-gay" work. But in terms of the unsustainability of Cupp's current version of gay support, which is the primary focus of this particular piece? Well, if she's going to have our backs, then she needs to also pay attention to our affronts! Like all citizens, LGBT people's full and fair treatment is not a buffet from which one can pick and choose. By fostering the idea that it is, Ms. Cupp is leaving out some crucial calories, while throwing way too many undeserved bones to those groups who rabidly salivate at the prospect of a world free from "the homosexual problem."

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