There are gay conservatives. I know this. When I have the sense of humor for it, I try to read their words and figure out where they’re coming from, and how they got there. There is a common, oft-repeated complaint among gay conservative bloggers and pundits [all three of them] that the Big Gay Left constantly carries water for other liberal causes. They assume that this is something that happens without forethought, which is always strange to me, because liberalism and LGBT equality go hand in hand.
Indeed, it’s actually conservatism, with its competing strains — disproven economic theory meant to serve Wall Street and Wall Street only vs. libertarianism which hates Wall Street; making the government so small that you can drown it in a bathtub, as Grover Norquist so famously said vs. a social conservatism that hates democracy and seeks to use the government to damage the lives of LGBT people and women from coast to coast, and so forth — that is anything but an aligned movement. Liberalism? Not so much.
Amanda Marcotte highlights this in a larger post about John Edwards’ troubles, lamenting just how sucky it is that Edwards has turned out to be such a giant ass in his personal life, as his presidential campaign was one of the few in recent history which actually tied together all the different arms of liberalism into one defining philosophy, and who explained it in terms that made sense to the average voter. And it really is one defining philosophy. She outlines the three major arms of liberalism and starts to connect the dots:
1) Economic justice. This is labor movements, anti-poverty initiatives, fair taxation, health care reform, social services, government that is functional, etc. Anything that helps secure the middle class, bolsters the economy, and lifts people out of poverty.
2) Social justice. Feminism, anti-racism, gay rights, anti-colonialism, things like that—anything that divides people against each other on the basis of identity hierarchies.
3) Environmentalism and rationalism. Preserving the planet, promoting science, basically using the now to work towards a better tomorrow.
Obviously, a smart person sees how these are interrelated and that you really fail at anti-racism if you don’t think about poverty and that you’re not a good environmentalist if economic justice isn’t part of your worldview, and you’re not an effective feminist if you treat science like it’s a lark.
They really all do go together. I’d add that you’re not really going to understand the gay rights struggle if you aren’t a rationalist who believes in science, and you’re not going to understand the need for marriage equality fully if you don’t understand the real economic results of policies that serve the whole population well — as opposed to just those at the top. This seems like a good time to point out that gay conservatives tend to be upper-middle class white men, or those who dream of one day being so, and are willing to overlook where they actually are in service of who they might be, maybe one day, if things go well for them. And Amanda’s right — there are a million other intersection points between those three arms.
One thing I’ve been encouraged by over the past year has been that, more and more every day, Truth Wins Out readers are coming from more and more diverse areas out of the greater liberal spectrum. Surely there is a huge case to be made for why moderates and conservatives should also support equality for LGBT people, as there is really no philosophy aside from theocracy that it doesn’t fit into. But for those who wonder why educated gay rights activists also tend to support the rest of the planks of liberalism as well, well, now you know why.