The day after I graduated from high school, I moved to San Francisco.
There, I had two gay roommates and was exposed to the homosexual culture in the way only San Francisco can expose it. After living there for five years, I grew close to, and maintain, many gay friends – not only there, but in other parts of the country, as well.
I never really gave too much thought to whether or not it was right or wrong. If it worked for them, and it wasn’t hurting anyone else, it wasn’t any of my business. It never bothered me.
Where I think the gay movement runs into trouble with conservatives (aside from various interpretations of the Bible) is simply an issue of marketing and presentation. My observation of gays, as they relate to the rest of society, is that of straight men, straight women, gay men and gay women, gay men are, by far, the most predatory and sexually aggressive – in a perfectly legal way – of the four groups. They, as a generality, wear their sexuality on their sleeve in a way no other group does.
So when the gay pride parades start showing up around the country, instead of getting to know average gay men or women – who, by their very nature, are unknown to be gay to many of their friends – the country is exposed to all of the most extreme transgender and leather-clad gay men the homosexual family has to offer. (This has lessened a bit, as time has worn on and corporate America has sanitized the cause.)
When the family-value conservatives see that, they tend to bristle and look at it through the lens of “would I let my child see this?” – not because they don’t want their child exposed to the idea of a gay man, but because they don’t want their child exposed to what they may consider sexually deviant behavior.
As it relates to gay rights, I think conservatives have the same issue with gays as they do any other demographic or interest group.
Conservatives don’t like to divide society into niche groups. We tend to see people as people, and we’re naturally suspicious of anyone that identifies themselves as part of a group before they seem themselves as an individual. As such, I don’t think they should have any special rights or laws. I simply think our laws should apply equally to them.
I do have to confess that I have an issue with gay marriage. I’ve soul-searched on this for quite some time, and I can assure you it’s not because of any issues with homosexuality that I simply can’t get over.
In fact, by not allowing gay marriage, I realize we’re depriving many gay couples of shared health benefits or even the ability to visit a sick partner in the hospital. This can be, and needs to be, corrected with civil unions that give equal rights as marriage.
As far as I can tell, it has more to do with my observations that children do best when there’s a committed man and woman acting as parents. Certainly a gay individual has just as much chance of being a good parent as a straight individual. And there are probably just as many good and bad straight parents as there would be good and bad gay parents.
But it’s the complete package. By having a male and female role model, children are getting a chance to learn first hand about the differences between the sexes and how to be the gender you are and deal with the gender you aren’t. Every time a gay set of parents turns out a well-adjusted, contributing and conservative member of society, there’s just a little more proof that I’m probably wrong. (And I’d be happy to be wrong.)
What strikes me about gays – along with all other segmented groups – is that I can’t believe that as a large voting bloc, most cannot see the benefits of lower taxes, simpler laws or smaller government that would make the percentage who are conservatives closer to the percent of the country who is conservative. (Gay people need jobs, too, right?)