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December 9, 2006

More gay Republicans
Posted by Teresa at 08:09 PM * 140 comments

Quoted without comment:

Janice Crouse, of the scary hyperconservative organization Concerned Women for America, on the pregnancy of Dick Cheney’s openly lesbian daughter Mary Cheney, who worked for her father as a campaign aide during the 2004 election, and has been with her partner Heather Poe for fifteen years:

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America described the pregnancy as “unconscionable.”

“It’s very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father,” said Crouse, a senior fellow at the group’s think tank. “They are encouraging people who don’t have the advantages they have.”

Comments on More gay Republicans:
#1 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 08:48 PM:

My God. You know that thing where so many thoughts try to come out of your mouth at the same time that they jam in your throat and you end up speechless? I just discovered the same thing can happen when you're typing.

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 08:56 PM:

Encouraging whom? Encouraging whom to do what? Is Ms Crouse seriously suggesting that on learning that Mary Cheney is pregnant millions of impressionable young women are going to (a) become lesbians, (b) get pregnant, or (c) destroy the patriarchy?

On the positive side, let us note that Bill Clinton has not yet been blamed for this.

#3 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 08:58 PM:

And God knows, the advantage of being the well-known Lesbian daughter of Dick Cheney is something that millions aspire to...

#4 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:01 PM:

Fragano Ledgister@2: They're trying to figure out which Clinton it'd be more effective to blame.

#5 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:06 PM:

Aconite #4: I am now trying to suppress the image of Hillary impregnating Mary Cheney....

#6 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:11 PM:

Gee, thanks, Fragano (#5), now I am, too. Where's the brain brush?

--Mary Aileen

#7 ::: Bill Leisner ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:20 PM:

You know the Republicans are in bad shape when they drag Dan Quayle's old attack on Murphy Brown out of storage...

#8 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:29 PM:

Bill Leisner@7: Well, y'know: Murphy, Ellen; to-may-to, to-mah-to.

I have to say, I think it's very selfish of Mary and Heather to deprive the rest of us of so many toasters.

#9 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:40 PM:

Fragano Ledgister:

I am now trying to suppress the image of Hillary impregnating Mary Cheney....


You deserve this.


#10 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:40 PM:

Pluck brain out, 'squick squick squick.'

There (shoving it back in). Cleaned off. Owww.

Yikes.

#12 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:54 PM:

#7 Bill Leisner, yep. Well, nothing new under the sun as they say.

Okay, I'm pretty sure this child will have a father. I mean, I know they've been trying to merge two zygots, and I think they have some of the techniques down, but I didn't know the research had progressed so far.

Unless, you know, they really mean that someone in the house has to have a y chromosome.

So did anybody else read "people who don’t have the advantages they have" as meaning, "people who aren't connected to the high end of the political class, which we can't attack as forcefully as we would have had it been any other common prole?"

#13 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:01 PM:

Sorry, meant "ovum" not zygote. Well, it's my wife who has the PhD in biology, not me.

#14 ::: cap ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:16 PM:

I hope their son/daughter grows up to be a nice little left-wing, pro-gay, pro-choice, vegetarian Buddhist. Or something like that.

Mostly, though, I hope their son/daughter isn't infected with the sort of thinking that Ms. Crouse propagates. Yuck.

#15 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:19 PM:

Steve Buchheit: So did anybody else read "people who don’t have the advantages they have" as meaning, "people who aren't connected to the high end of the political class, which we can't attack as forcefully as we would have had it been any other common prole?"

Well, they're "very disappointed" that a "celebrity couple like this" would "deliberately"* bring such a child into the world. That's like, um, a shoelace whapped forcefully across their wrists, or something. I bet Mary and Heather are just crushed that Janice doesn't approve. It'll ruin their lives, I'm sure.

*My brain keeps hiccuping at the idea of an accidental lesbian-couple pregnancy. One supposes it involves a turkey baster and a most unfortunate stumble.

#16 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:51 PM:

(rumage)

Where did I put it?

(rumage)

I know it's in here somewhere.

(rumage)

Aha! my stupid-seeking missile.

(pushes button)
(missile flies off)

No! Not that way!

(Missile flies back and hovers with a quesitioning look on its face.)

Yes, he's an idiot, too. But we snuck a bucket of sandfleas into his bed, and we want him to scratch himself insane. Then we'll missile him.

(missile hovers dejectedly.)

I promise you, these are inanely stupid people who need to be missiled.

(missile perks up a bit)

Cross my heart and hope to missile more idiots by midnight.

(missile turns and flies off in correct direction.)

That'll do, babe. That'll do.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:56 PM:

As opposed to the kids who will be fatherless because theirs died in the military overseas?

Or are they suggesting that Mary Cheney should have gotten an abortion?

I think the Republican party may meet the definition of psychopathic (see this week's Science News).

#18 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 11:14 PM:

It's beyond me why the religious conservatives hate Democrats and liberals. We never pretended to be anything other than what we are. It's the Republicans who raped them and got them pregnant with the Bush Baby. Well, I guess the penny's finally dropped now that Mary Cheney has done just about the worst the religious conservatives can imagine (short of getting an abortion, of course). I expect the Republicans will consider themselves lucky if they get off with nothing worse than a messy divorce.

#19 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 11:22 PM:

Exp. since a discussion about abortion came up on our way home tonight, that I found exceptionally distressing because I do not wish to be be a captive audience to such (guys, please pick up on this, it was not nice. Do your arguing away from me, please. Or I'm going to forcefully shut y'alls down. You know who you are...)

If someone wants a baby as an outcome, it is very especially obscene to suggest an abortion, no matter what their sexuality.

Then again, one of the things I've observed around here (Kansas City), is that the more anti-abortion bumperstickers on a car, the more liklihood that children are loose in the car, standing up, roaming around, etc. and NOT in appropriate (safe) child seating in car.

So they are Very Concerned that you might 'abort' a sperm/ovum cell at contact BUT once they're alive and out of their mom, they don't give a shit.

I think they're stupid. And that's the bottom line from my point of view.

#20 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 11:52 PM:

Out of this happy/ugly story comes one of the best/worst pull-quotes from all of 2006: It was Focus on the Family, natch, who responded to the news of the upcoming blessed event with "love can't replace a mother and a father".

There's the whole anti-gay-marriage platform right there in a fetid little nutshell.

#21 ::: Sean D. Schaffer ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 12:18 AM:

I honestly do not see what all the fuss is about. So a lesbian couple has a baby. Why is that so horrible?

I wish more so-called Christians and concerned citizens would stop focusing on the so-called sins of other people, and focus instead upon what they themselves are doing.

How does that old saying in the Bible go? Something about, "He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone"? Why don't more so-called Christians apply that to their own lives and stop trying to make everyone else look bad?


I'm sorry. I'm just floored by the idea that this kind of thing is causing such a stir. Surely there are more concerning things to think about than a lesbian couple having a baby.

#22 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 12:24 AM:

Oh, this is such total blather!

No, not you guys. Janice Crouse and people like her. Blather is of course too mild a word for it. They are soooo dumb... No, that's not it either.

Aconite, I think it's viral (the too many words thing) and I think I have it.

#23 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 12:32 AM:

Well of COURSE the family has to have a father . . . who else will bring daughters to the Chastity Ball and receive her pledge of purity?

Gack. I can't even snark about that without feeling queasy.

#25 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 12:40 AM:

“They are encouraging people who don’t have the advantages they have.”

Logically then, nobody should have kids, since it's encouraging all the less advantaged folk to reproduce.

#26 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 01:59 AM:

“They are encouraging people who don’t have the advantages they have" means "Now all the hoi polloi will believe they can get away with the same thing, and they're not supposed to think that.

Remember the point at which acid became an illegal drug? It wasn't when people started taking it recreationally. LSD became classified as a dangerous drug when people started preaching its wonders to ... well, just anybody.

#27 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 02:46 AM:

The Man himself remarked that you should remove the log from your own eye before you go on about the speck in someone else's. He knew whereof he spoke, him being a carpenter and all.

It's certainly not for me to question anybody else's domestic arrangements. If the child is decently raised, what's the problem?

I have heard it said - I don't know with what authority - that children raised without a beneficial (mark that, Cloris, beneficial) male presence suffer certain disadvantages. I imagine that the ladies concerned are aware of that fact, if fact it be, and have Made Arrangements. What these arrangements might be is, of course, none of my business, or anyone's.

#28 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 04:10 AM:

Mary Cheney fights as hard as possible agaisnt gay marriage, cozies up to the homophobic right wing, engages in heterosexist aping in her living arrangements, and breeds.

She isn't even a v. good dyke.

#29 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 04:33 AM:

Anthony (28): What, exactly, do you mean by "heterosexist aping in her living arrangements"?

#30 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:24 AM:

Anthony #28 said: She isn't even a v. good dyke.

Well don't keep us in suspense, for heaven's sake. Please do explain precisely what it is a good dyke does--you know, for the benefit of us dykes who are now utterly terrified lest you think we're doing it wrong, too.

#31 ::: Dorothy Rothschild ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:36 AM:

Ooooh, these days I absolutely love the 'a child needs a mother and a father' argument, because a lesbian friend of mine (who's in a relationship which has lasted longer than many heterosexual marriages) is pregnant with her second child. The biological father is a gay man, and his partner is the biological father of the first child. (As my friend comments when her daughter calls a random man 'daddy': 'most of the men in your life *are* Daddy.')

So these children have two mothers and two fathers. I'm sure the Religious Right will agree they are twice as blessed.

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:39 AM:

I, too, want to know about this "heterosexist aping in her living arrangements." Is this yet another threat to straight marriage, this time via gay pastiche?

#33 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:52 AM:

I'm intrigued by Anthony's careful use of the word "dyke"--strategically placed as the last word in the last line.

Unless things are very different in Anthony's community, it's a word that carries pejorative connotations for all but a very few and specific contexts.

#34 ::: Sean H ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:09 AM:

Unless things are very different in Anthony's community, it's a word that carries pejorative connotations for all but a very few and specific contexts.

I've almost always heard the word "dyke" used positively, by, well, by dykes, I suppose. I guess it depends on whether you're used to a wave of feminism that reclaims words, or a wave that vilifies them.

#35 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:10 AM:

I know you people here loathe Dick Cheney, but consider this: he hasn't rejected his lesbian daughter, as far as I know.

#36 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:18 AM:

#34--Sean, exactly. That's why I mentioned that Anthony's community might well be fine with the casual use of the word. After visiting his blog, I suspect that's so.

In my own circles, it's a word that lesbians and people close to them use--but not a word dropped casually or in general conversation between strangers--unless, well, you are one.

I'm not sure if that's dictated by generational, geographical, or other factors--and YMMV.

#37 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:19 AM:

Oh how I long for the day when the news of anyone (celebrity or not, gay or not) breeding is not considered "breaking" news!

#38 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:55 AM:

Mac @33, I know that in my queer community, "dyke" has been almost 100% reclaimed, and it's a term that my partner and I use, if sometimes wryly, an awful lot to identify ourselves. Most of our friends don't bat an eye, and I often forget that it's used as an insult elsewhere.
At the same time, my lesbian landlady, who's only got maybe two decades on my age-wise, used it pejoratively to refer to another lesbian's adherence to classical butch dress code, just the other day. Maybe it's a generational thing.

Either way, though, I'm interested in what counts as "aping heterosexuals" too, as a hopeful future wife and mother, having another wife in the house notwithstanding.

#39 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:10 AM:

#38 - little light, I'm think I'm somewhere between your two examples. I use the word--and the other lesbians I know do too--usually in a wry, self-referential manner, or when we intend to shock someone outside the intimate circle. We don't use it as a pejorative, because we've all had it used against us that way.

I find myself taken aback hearing it from a stranger, and waiting for more context with which to shape my interpretation of this instance.

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:23 AM:

Sean @21... I honestly do not see what all the fuss is about. So a lesbian couple has a baby. Why is that so horrible?

Maybe people are afraid that, if the child is a boy, he'll grow up to be a lesbian.

#41 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:38 AM:

Serge #40: All the boys born in the Greek city of Mytilene grow up to be Lesbians.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:58 AM:

I should have seen that one coming, Fragano. I am reminded of the Armistead Maupin story where one of the lesbian characters goes on a trip to the island of Lesbos and is a bit disappointed about signs asking people not to publicly engage in public displays of you-know-what.

#43 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:06 AM:

A.R.Yngve I know you people here loathe Dick Cheney, but consider this: he hasn't rejected his lesbian daughter, as far as I know.

Just because someone hasn't sunk as low as they possibly could doesn't make their actions admirable. Why should the man get a pat on the back for not rejecting his daugher any more than for not beating her?

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:15 AM:

By the way, what's with Ann Heche not being a lesbian anymore? How does that work?

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:16 AM:

you people here loathe Dick Cheney

Wow. I've been youpeopled. Feels kind of good, actually.

#46 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:52 AM:

A.R. Yngve -- Despite the fact that Cheney has not disowned his daughter, he has made it possible to hurt others and to make discrimination against gays into public policy. The MSM proclaimed his tolerance because he was against a federal marriage amendment and thought it was a matter for the states to decide... and what we have are states where they've changed their constitutions and made a horrible crosspatch of laws which discrimate against gays. The state his daughter and her spouse live in will not grant them the same rights as other couples. And because she has resources other people do not have she'll find a way around some of the harsher results of the law. And they seem to see nothing wrong with this situation. Mary's own remark about states and the federal government needing to catch up with her and Heather in their view of marriage only makes her a cynic and hypocrite because she is not working to change the law.

(Sorry for the rant in a thread that has some good snark and laughs, but Mary's been a professional political operative and used her gayness for personal employment gain (her jobs at Coors and AOL) without seeming to understand the ramifications of her actions on other people. Remember too that some of these state consitutional amendments are written so broadly as to apply to het couples who aren't married but who are cohabitating -- VA's certainly is.)

#47 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:54 AM:

Since it's this time of year, and no father was mentioned, I started thinking "Ooh, immaculate conception!" No, I wasn't serious, but it's intriguing to imagine a God fed up with conservative blather who decides to initiate some kind of Second Coming this way!

#48 ::: Sean D. Schaffer ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:18 AM:

Faren at Post #47: "No, I wasn't serious, but it's intriguing to imagine a God fed up with conservative blather who decides to initiate some kind of Second Coming this way!"


A lot of the conservative blather you're referring to, is one of the reasons I left the conservative way of thinking behind. There was a time I would have held to the conservative viewpoint, but they have become so far gone, that they do not make any sense any more to me.

There was a person on AW whose avatar said, "Liberal Christian is not an oxymoron". Well, looking at some conservatives' attitudes toward living the life they preach we should live, I sometimes wonder if 'Conservative Christian' is becoming more of an oxymoron as time goes by.

BTW, I liked your second coming analogy. I thought it was pretty cool.


#49 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:49 AM:

Ah, yes, "dyke".

It's my experience that folks about 10 years older than I am (I'm 33) do tend to view it as a word to be used either a) only in-tribe, or b) as an insult.

It was around my era that the specific efforts to reclaim dyke (also fag and queer) were happening. So I (in my social circle) use it with ease. Ditto the general queer-friendly community. Other places, more thought is required. Like, I would use it here (though with qualifiers, probably), but I wouldn't use it with my parents, unless there was a lot of preparatory explanation.

So Anthony's using it that way, except as a negative, and in mixed company. Shrug. Just intensifies his insult.

As for this whole "needs a mother and a father" stuff, I'm just /tired/ of it.

#50 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 12:29 PM:

It’s very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father,” said Crouse

New slogan for Concerned Women for America: every pregnancy should be an unplanned pregnancy! (Because if it was planned, then obviously the rest of the time, sex was being conducted in such a way as to plan for non-pregnancy....)

#51 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 01:01 PM:

Teresa,

Quoted from?

#52 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 01:15 PM:

Currently, I live in SF, and as you can imagine, the use of "dyke" here is largely positive. (Although, occasionally you do have annoying tourists go trolling for reactions using it and other gay phrases perjoratively.) I think kate has the right of it when she says there are places she wouldn't use it without prepatory explanations. I wouldn't use it around my parents either without discussion.

I'm still wondering what sort of theoretical cocktail of traits people like CWA and FoF are trying to instill in kids by insisting on both a mother and a father.

#53 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 01:29 PM:

Well, without a father on the scene boys might not learn that they must be insecure "masculine" domineering petty tyrants, and girls might not learn that they must be insecure "feminine" subservient self-effacing subjects. It's all about the dom-sub dynamic.[*] Bah. I don't think the CWA need to worry; the kids'll get a big enough bombardment from TV and media. They should be worrying at least equally about parents who ban TV.

* One odd cultural niche that fascinates me is the Christian scriptural BDSM community, which takes a rather expansive interpretation of Paul's "Women, be obedient to your husband." I never have heard what the CWA and FoF type people think of them.

#54 ::: Stephen G ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 01:40 PM:

Michael @ 18: the viewpoint is frighteningly simple. Talking a good game is far more important than whether you follow through. C.f. conversations I had with relatives about Kerry's and Bush's records on veteran affairs during the 2004 election, where pointing out the hatchet job Bush and co. have done to veteran benefits resulted in the reply, "At least he didn't throw his medals!" It's like having tea and no tea at the same time, I suppose.

#55 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 01:47 PM:

Greg London: you and your missile are my heroes of the day. I got a serious fit of giggles, and then when I talked with Mom on the phone and we turned to political news, I read your post to her and she got a similar fit. Thank you from both of us, and all prosperity and combustion to your missiles.

#56 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 02:04 PM:

#54: "At least he didn't throw his medals!"

An irony here (and this is part of your point) is that, IIRC, he really didn't throw his medals. This sort of thing always inspires two different reactions in me and I'm never sure which one is more valid:

1. People really do give more weight to symbols than to action. So we'll have people who decry flag burning, but enthusiastically support an administration who sets their civil liberties aflame.

2. People don't like admitting how badly off they are, so when they are in a bad state, they will grab onto anything they can. I remember watching TV coverage of a Californian earthquake once when I was living in a suburb just outside of Buffalo, NY. The reporter was interviewing a husband and wife in front of the rubbles of their house. There was nothing they could salvage. However, their rather upbeat reaction to the reporter was "But it's snowing right now in Buffalo." (For the record, it wasn't but I could understand why they needed to think it was.)

#57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 03:00 PM:

Serge #42: Alas, I've never read that story.

#58 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 03:25 PM:

Actually, thinking about my answer above, I'm going to get a bit more serious because the subject is a bit more serious than my previous flip sarcastic answer. I believe there is a true answer, and it has to do with psychological investment.

Let me step sideways for a moment into fraternity hazing, or the even more virulent kind of hazing that goes on in (for example) private military academies. Why does it go on year after year, class after class, generation after generation? The victims generally hate and endure it, a lot of it's objectively awful, and in just a few years they'll turn around and do the same thing to others a few years younger than themselves. The reason is that by the time they get through it, they're mentally "invested" in it. If they didn't carry on the "tradition", that would mean it wasn't necessary. There was no valid reason for them to have been put through it, and their humiliation or suffering was meaningless. That's absolutely true, but it's a very painful belief; so most of them adopt the belief that fraternities are important and their hazing and initiation built their character, and it's a good thing, so they turn around and do it to the underclassmen.

I hope the application to families is clear. If you grow up in a family with a highly authoritarian, rigid, and domineering father, and a mother who is deferential, subservient and unsupportive, childhood can be a tremendously frightening, stifling, and painful experience.

If your childhood hits you that way, then as an adult, you have two choices, if you're wise enough to see them.

  1. You could recognize that it did not need to be like that, deal with your own residual pain and whatever "issues" you've ended up with, and try to invent your own model of what a family is so you can do better yourself when it comes to your own family and your own kids. That's hard.
  2. The other is to make yourself believe that your childhood is the only way childhood can be, that it "made you what you are", and that you - and everyone else - must act the same way.

The second choice is a lot easier psychologically, but it requires you to ferociously defend the model of families and childhood you experienced. If it's OK for kids to grow up in a different environment, then it means that you really didn't have to go through your own childhood in the way you did, and then you'd have to deal with your own pain and hurt. That's just too much for a lot of people - it's easier to attack others. And that is why we have conservative "protect the family" attack dogs.

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 03:45 PM:

Fragano... You should try Maupin's Tales of the City. Written circa 1976 (serialized first in the San Francisco Chronicle), it's the story of a young woman from Middle America who, and the end of a trip to the Bay Area, decides to stay and winds up discovering love and friendship among people that Middle America would frown upon. If this sounds familiar, it's because PBS adapted it as a mini-series in 1995, when PBS had a spine. The adaptation was nowhere near as good and full of joie de vivre as the novel was. Speaking of the adaptation, I once asked one of my gay co-workers (back in SF) if he knew what it had in common with the X-men movies. Hunks, he said. Which was true, but not what I had in mind. The correct answer was Ian McKellen, aka Magneto.

#60 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 03:49 PM:

Serge, those are indeed wonderful stories. A lovely antidote to the "conservative" rigidity we're discussing - gets the nasty taste right out of your mouth.

#61 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 03:58 PM:

I know you people here loathe Dick Cheney, but consider this: he hasn't rejected his lesbian daughter, as far as I know.

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. One rule for me and mine, another for everyone else; alternatively, one rule for the hoi polloi, another for the aristocracy. It's like folks I went to college with who were all for "traditional family values", then went out and got plastered and naked with random strangers that night. [As I think I mentioned here some months ago.] It's like all the rabidly conservative anti-drug folks who gave Rush Limbaugh a pass because "he's been through so much". It's a general symptom of the Accountability For Other People disease that's been plaguing modern conservatism the past 40 years or so; Cheney's affliction is just more obvious because of his position.

#62 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 04:08 PM:

True, Dick Cheney hasn't made life hard for his lesbian daughter. He's just made life hard for everyone else's lesbian daughters.

Janice Crouse's objection is that a celebrity gay couple are having a child "without a father" (i.e., together). I get the impression that a non-celebrity gay pair that "have their advantages" wouldn't be nearly so objectionable.

If it's a matter of morality, the couple's "advantages" ought not matter. If it's not a matter of morality but "advantages" matter, it's about class.

What Crouse is saying is that by setting this public example, Mary Cheney and Heather Roe are giving the little people the impression that they have the right to do the same thing -- and Crouse doesn't think they do.

Ever notice how many well-to-do, well-connected right-wing women with professional political careers, from Anita Bryant and Phyllis Schlafly to Marilyn Quayle and Janice Crouse, push the idea that women should stay home with the children? Very similar thing. They believe that women who aren't in their class should be subdued and pious homebodies.

Respectability, in the sense of giving the appearance of rectitude, is one of the great tools of social oppression. This is because the more economically vulnerable people are, the more they need to appear respectable. If you can sell your society on the idea that certain behaviors preclude respectability, and other behaviors are required for it, the burden of obeying these strictures, or giving the appearance of obeying them, will fall disproportionately on the poor and powerless. The same Victorian ruling class that made fine distinctions between the deserving and the undeserving poor could, on their own time, behave very badly indeed. As long as they didn't do it in the street and scare the horses -- that is, do it where the rest of society could see it, thus undercutting the overall concept of "respectability" -- they were fine.

I've said this before: Republican homophobia is not based on moral principle. What's evident from cases like Ken Mehlman and Mary Cheney is that they don't have much problem with gays who are rich, well-connected Republicans. The party's homophobic policies are part of their undeclared class war.

Brenda, the story is quoted from the Washington Post. It's linked from "Quoted without comment."

#63 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 04:08 PM:

#58 Clifton:

The interesting problem here is that it's pretty hard to get a family to work at all. So if you grew up in a really awful family, you'll probably have a hard time working out how to make your family work passably well--you have to invent a lot of it on your own, or try to copy it from others.

#64 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 04:11 PM:

Anarch, looks like we're in the same groove.

#65 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 04:22 PM:

Clifton, I agree with you, too. One of the great moral choices is between "I'm going to keep that from ever happening to me again by proving myself as a member of the oppressor class," and "I'm going to keep that from ever happening to me again by helping to make sure that it never again happens to anyone, myself included."

#66 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:02 PM:

Albatross said... if you grew up in a really awful family, you'll probably have a hard time working out how to make your family work passably well..

Not necessarily. One figures out what made your family awful, and then does the opposite. I'm simplifying, yes. If you grow up being put down, it's fairly easy to figure out what to do. Anyway, nobody really knows what the hell they're doing when they get into raising a family. That's one thing I realized from an intimate conversation with my dad before he passed away. I told him he did good, which I think made him feel better.

#67 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:05 PM:

Serge #59: I'll add it to my list.

#68 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:10 PM:

I think the points made by Teresa and Anarch could be summarised as follows:

"It's the same the whole world over,
It's the poor what gets the blame,
It's the rich what gets the pleasure,
Isn't it a bleeding shame?"

#69 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:30 PM:

I'm coming from a radical queer perspective, and most of my circle tends away from id'ing as monosexuals, and towards viewing sexual practice as performative. I didn't intend that to be misogynst or homophobic.

That said, what I mean by aping heterosexuals, is difficult, but all of what is written about her, and what she qaulifies, from the word wife, to her appearences in a context that reads semiotically as partnered in a tradtional way, to having a child, strikes me as cozying up to a family structure that is much close to the CWA than any of the other ways to construct identites and families.

Even not knowing the donor, or not co parenting, or not engaging in an open adoption, suggests she wants us to think of her as mommy and mommy and baby, and that mommy and daddy and baby would be ideal, but not operatational.

here is a link:

that explains
where I am coming from

#70 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:41 PM:

The biggest ingredient in making a family work is to learn how to treat ones partner as a fellow adult, and ones children as prospective adults who need to gradually learn skills/facts/values, rather than as some sort of underclass. ("Learn to make good choices", as my wife says.) I suppose this largely comes down to the Golden Rule. It doesn't mean it's easy to live - it's taken me 20-some years to get a handle on it - but the principles are simple enough.

A healthy dollop of "Why not?" doesn't hurt, either. There are enough things one must say "No" to as a parent, that it's easy to get into the habit on things that really don't matter.

#71 ::: Vian ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:56 PM:

Serge @#44

By the way, what's with Ann Heche not being a lesbian anymore? How does that work?

For some people, gender is not an ever-fixed mark. As they discover things about themselves and the world, they find they aren't as gay (or as straight) as they thought they were and who leave their spouses (or not) for same-gender (or not) lovers.

Then there's the phenom of being bisexual but inclining to monogamy.


#72 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:59 PM:

Mac writes: "In my own circles, it's a word that lesbians and people close to them use--but not a word dropped casually or in general conversation between strangers--unless, well, you are one."

The comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" appears every month in the Funny Times, along with appearing in lots of papers and online and probably bound collections.

That's not exactly keeping it an in-group thing.

#73 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:06 PM:

Somewhat off the topic at hand, but commenting on the classist viewpoint:

I am always annoyed when I hear parents who are participating in school events, volunteering etc (and to be fair it's often the same subset) waxing cattily about the moms who can't be bothered to come for the party/play/author's tea etc. The reality that many of these supposedly uninvolved neglectful moms have jobs that they will lose if they take time off to attend these events never seems to sink in. Our school system embraces this to the point of having parent/teacher conferences in the daytime.

Reality for the uninsured, over worked and underpaid masses is vastly different from those of over-privledged soccer moms who can take an unlimited amount of time out of any given day to volunteer in the schools.

#74 ::: Sajia ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:09 PM:

Clifton Royston, you mention in your first post something about the "Christian scripture BDSM community." Somehow, I think that that community overlaps to a substantial degree with the readership of Harlequin Romances.
Anthony, I can see what you're trying to get at, but abolishing marriage is going to be a hard sell, when
it's such an important part of most religions and passage rites and such an important part of feminine identity. I'd try for the slogan "Marriage: Keep the Ceremony, Ditch the Certificate."

#75 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:51 PM:

Sajia --

Or completely divorce the notion of sacramental marriage from the legal family-for-tax-purposes definition, and in the process disconnect the legal standard of family from questions of access to sex.

The fast one the far right keep trying to pull is to equate sacramental marriage with family-for-tax-purposes; they're not closely related, despite using the same name, even in the States. Pretending the two things are closely related is worth some unthinking panic, though; almost as useful as pretending that they're living lives of upstanding moral probity.

#76 ::: Sajia ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 07:13 PM:

Off-topic: is something wrong with the "View all comments by" feature? I've clicked on it a couple of times in the last week, and the screen below the bar was blank.
On-topic: While I do feel a lot of resentment towards queers (Bitch magazine uses this word to describe the GLBT community, so it must be all right) who work for the neocons - as a Muslim bisexual feminist, I feel that they should be working with us against Western and Eastern conservatives alike - I don't automatically assume that they're being Sommerkomandos.
One could be charitable and argue that they're trying to change the system from within. Clearly, though, this does not apply to Mary Cheney.
Graydon, yes, that is exactly what I was trying to get at. One of my inspirations is Matt/ilda Sycamore Bernstein, who's written a lot about the co-opting of radical queer politics by rich white gay men. One example she gives is health care, where the post-AIDS quest by queer people for universal coverage got deflected into the demand for partner benefits, which leaves out people who aren't in a committed monogamous relationship.

#77 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 07:14 PM:

Jon H: The comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" appears every month in the Funny Times, along with appearing in lots of papers and online and probably bound collections.

That's not exactly keeping it an in-group thing.

Well, the strip is written by a dyke, for the delectation of dykes and their pals. I don't think syndication has removed it from its in-group so much as expanded its circulation to far-flung members of the group. The title would carry a different load if it were the title of a right-wing leaflet, after all.

#78 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 07:38 PM:

Anthony (69)
So, she's not a "good dyke" because she happens to want to be monogamous and have children? Because she wants the picket-fence lifestyle? Because she supports her father? Because she's a politcal conservative (very different from a social conservative)? She hasn't fought against gay marriage (though she hasn't fought for it, and has supported those who are fighting against it). And despite the Republican Party's pandering to social conservatives (who are frequently homophobic, yes), political conservatives are NOT necessarily homophobes.

Her (or my, or anyone else's) sexual orientation does NOT have to define or determine all of her views, and not all dykes, or queers in general, are radical queers. Nor should they have to be, in order to be "good queers".

I've just been to read the link you posted, and found this line in the principles section: "Recognition and respect for our chosen relationships, in their many forms." It sounds to me suspiciously as if you are not showing respect for the form of Mary Cheney's chosen relationship, which is also the chosen form of many lesbian relationships. Simply because we support respect and benefits for a wide range of nontraditional or other-traditional relationships, does that mean we must show disrespect to those who want traditional ones?

Wow, I'm actually defending Mary Cheney. I think I need to go have a lie-down.

#79 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 07:46 PM:

#73 ::: amysue :::

Somewhat off the topic at hand, but commenting on the classist viewpoint:

I am always annoyed when I hear parents who are participating in school events, volunteering etc ... waxing cattily about the moms who can't be bothered to come for the party/play/author's tea etc. The reality that many of these supposedly uninvolved neglectful moms have jobs that they will lose if they take time off to attend these events never seems to sink in.

amysue, I don't think this is O.T. at all. I had that experience when my son was in school and I was working full time. And the women who didn't work always seemed to sign up first for the few things that weren't in the daytime, so by the time I saw the list of what they needed volunteers for, nothing was left except the tasks during working hours.

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:14 PM:

Sajia @ 76
'View all by' apparently broke earlier this fall.

#81 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:18 PM:

It sounds to me suspiciously as if you are not showing respect for the form of Mary Cheney's chosen relationship, which is also the chosen form of many lesbian relationships.

It may sound that way to you but I doubt it sounds that way to anyone else in here. Nobody has a problem with her chosen relationship. They have a problem with her supporting a politics intended to exclude others from her chosen relationship.

Simply because we support respect and benefits for a wide range of nontraditional or other-traditional relationships, does that mean we must show disrespect to those who want traditional ones?

Nobody's showing her disrespect for her wanting a traditional relationship. She wants her partner to be able to adopt their child. I think that's great, but her partner is legally prevented from doing so, at least in the jurisdiction where they now live. And yet she works for the people who supported that law. She and her partner can (and I imagine they probably will) move to a jurisdiction where they are treated as equals and her partner will therefore be able to adopt their child. Others are not so lucky.

I hope they enjoy their new house & home, wherever it is. Maybe they could buy houses and provide homes in their new jurisdiction for all the people they helped pass laws against. That would be awfully sweet of them.

(Hmm... somehow the direction of this discussion between you and me seems vaguely familiar...)

#82 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:35 PM:

Oops, Rebecca, I see what you are saying now. I usually skip over criticisms based on Queer Theory (or what-all) of other people's relationships. That's what I did here (until after I posted). Sorry about that. I see now I pretty much agree with your point.

#83 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:46 PM:

Sajia (76), "view all by" is indeed broken, and has been ever since our provider moved us to a different server. They haven't been at all responsive about getting it fixed. I am less and less impressed with them. "View all by" is an important function.

#84 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:00 PM:

Graydon at 75: But if we do that -- completely divorce the notion of sacramental marriage from the legal family-for-tax-purposes definition, and in the process disconnect the legal standard of family from questions of access to sex -- it'll mean the end of Western Civilization as we know it!

Won't it?

#85 ::: Sajia ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:03 PM:

I especially came to appreciate "view all by" when you (or was it, er, Patrick?) pointed out in one of the "paid to comment on blogs" threads, the 'view all by" feature allows one to see who's a troll and who's simply passionately disagreeing with you, through things such as the sort of non-sequitors they make.

#86 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:05 PM:

Greg London @16: Enjoyed your verbal “Looney Tune” :)

#87 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:14 PM:

Lizzy L: How to destroy the Earth

Scroll to "Things which will NOT destroy the Earth."

#88 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:32 PM:

Lizzy L. --

Yup. It will. Western Civilization is toast.

This happens every generation (or less) anyway, and we might as well try picking futures we like better instead of being fearful of loss, most especially the loss of the imagined ideal world we created in our heads around the age of five.

It's not like the burkha-tightening, kitchen-chaining, sex-fearing, god-shouting nitwits have a better idea, any better idea at all, and certainly not better than setting honesty and gentleness in one's interpersonal dealings above concerns of gender and convention.

Honesty and gentleness are themselves very old virtues, and held so from days more scant, more uncertain, and more brutal than these.

#89 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:42 PM:

Graydon @75: Or completely divorce the notion of sacramental marriage from the legal family-for-tax-purposes definition [..]

Exactly. Once the contradiction was pointed out, it seemed that the State's only interest should be in civil unions. The “sacrement of marriage” should be a question left to each religion (or church).

#90 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:00 PM:

Rob Rusick@89: The situation gets particularly interesting when you factor in that some churches were performing gay marriages before it was possible to have civil gay marriages; those couples were married religiously, but could not get those marriages recognized by the state.

That's still going on, of course. Not a lot has changed there. But that infobit has an interesting effect on people who assume the damn librul secularists are forcing gay marriage down everyone's throats.

#91 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:01 PM:

I suspect Crouse hasn't thought of this meaning of “They are encouraging people who don’t have the advantages they have”, but Mary & Heather do have a wealth advantage over other gays and lesbians who have children in Virginia. When gays and lesbians have children in Virginia, the non-bearing partner(s) can not adopt the child, can not be a legal parent. Wealthier folks in this position get a second home in a better state and have a second-parent adoption for the non-bearing partner(s). That means the child has two legal parents and that if they split up, the non-bearing partner has to pay support and the bearing partner can't forbid visitation. So far, Virginia has honored those other-state second-parent adoptions. Gay & lesbian people who don't have the money for a second home or to move to a better state are stuck with Virginia's barbaric laws.

#92 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:05 PM:

Teresa: I can think of worse places to be :)

#93 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:06 PM:

I would love to separate legal marriage from sacramental marriage. It's a great idea. I believe that indeed many EU nations have done this, which no doubt makes the bishops of my church blather, but tough.

Graydon, you did know that I was not serious, didn't you? Please say you did.

#94 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:55 PM:

Michael W (81 & 82)
I think I understand what you thought I said and that you objected to, and I would've had the same objections to someone else saying that sort of thing. I'm not terribly into queer theory, or second-wave feminist theory, and frequently have nice loud arguements with people who are. But I also have arguments with people who say that if one is queer (and, for the record, I am), one must hold these opinions, must want this kind of relationship, must conform to thus-and-such expectations, no matter what those opinions, relationships, or expectations may be.
I get frustrated with Log Cabiners, too. But I also have more sympathy with them than most queers do. I come from a politically (but not socially) conservative family, and am myself a Libertarian. I agree with many of the classic aims of Conservativism (the central one being that the government should leave people alone, by and large), and can see why they appeal to people; I also see that the Republican party is no longer classically conservative, and is pandering to social conservatives, and I can't support that. I think that queer people who support the Republican party are being willfully self-deceptive, and I have little patience for them. On the other hand, I respect their right to make their own life-choices.

So yeah, I'm frustrated by Mary Cheney's decisions to do things like take a post in the current administration, but I'm much more angered by queer activists saying that she's a traitor or a bad dyke because of the relationship choices she makes. Either you respect all the forms of family and relationships chosen by people, or you don't. To quote R. Cheney, freedom means freedom for everyone.

#95 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 03:33 AM:

Rebecca, at 78:

"She hasn't fought against gay marriage (though she hasn't fought for it, and has supported those who are fighting against it). "

There you go. That's enough to condemn Mary Cheney right there. She's helping to spread homophobia and anti-gay measures while being priviledged enough to not have to deal with this homophobia herself.

#96 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 03:49 AM:

#71: Serge @#44

By the way, what's with Ann Heche not being a lesbian anymore? How does that work?

For some people, gender is not an ever-fixed mark. As they discover things about themselves and the world, they find they aren't as gay (or as straight) as they thought they were and who leave their spouses (or not) for same-gender (or not) lovers.

This leads to an interesting digression: I knew a woman who occasionally identified herself as a "pro-mo"-- a "professional" homosexual. She worked for a liberal gay legislator, she's active in the gay community, and her lesbianism was very public knowledge.

But she had a very difficult dilemma-- she had been wanting to try having sex with a man. A lot. And she couldn't act on those impulses, because of her position and public status. She thought, not without justification, that if it got around that she was suddenly interested in the opposite sex, that a lot of hard-right culture warriors would point to her and say, "See? Homosexuality can be cured!"

Closets come in all shapes and sizes, and hide all sorts of skeletons-- but this may be the only case I know of a closeted straight person.

#97 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 04:12 AM:

Martin W (95)
"There you go. That's enough to condemn Mary Cheney right there."
Condemn her to what?
Look, yes, you can say she's guilty of complicity, and of not doing much to stop it, but I still feel that's distinct from actually spreading homophobia or fighting against gay marriage herself. Which is really a minor point in my entire argument. What Mary Cheney has done by giving her support to the Bush administration is say that there are other issues that outweigh gay issues for her. It may annoy you and me, but she gets to make that decision for herself.
What I really had a problem with was the hypocrisy of someone who ascribes to a philosophy of respecting all of the forms of relationship and family that people choose turning around and calling someone else a bad dyke (partially) for the type of relationship she's chosen.

#99 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:19 AM:

Rebecca @ 94 -

*applause*
Well said.

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 06:37 AM:

Sajia 2 74 (*) wrote: Clifton Royston, you mention in your first post something about the "Christian scripture BDSM community." Somehow, I think that that community overlaps to a substantial degree with the readership of Harlequin Romances.

I'd have to ask my wife about that. She's in a good position to tell me as she writes romance novels, currently for Harlequin, but has also written for other publishers. From what she's told me in the past and from some of the letters people have written to her, yes, there may be some overlap, but not that much. Heck, one of her fans was a male sergeant who, when last heard, was in a construction battalion in Iraq. I think people like romance stories because, well, they are about people finding each other.

(*) Hi, Sajia!

#101 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:14 AM:

#95 Martin (and lots of others):

There's an assumption here that a lesbian has a different set of politican and social and moral responsibilities than a straight woman. That if Mary Cheney were straight, she could favor gay marriage while not campaigning for it when it seemed the best political strategy for her party, but since she's a lesbian, she can't do that. I just don't see why that makes sense.

There are two large parties in the US, and they win all the elections. It's not uncommon for people to find themselves alligned with a party with which they disagree strongly on some issue. There are plenty of Democrats and Republicans both who disagree with their party on gay marriage, affirmative action, gun control, abortion, etc. Why would it be surprising that some fraction (I'm guessing around 1-2%) of the people doing that are homosexual? Isn't this the position we're all in?

It seems really unreasonable to me to expect Mary Cheney to put gay rights issues ahead of everything else politically, including loyalty to her family. And this is just as true of everyone else.

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:19 AM:

Mary Cheney reminds me of this teenage girl my wife once corresponded with. She was quite the little Republican girl, and whenever she used the word 'feminist', one could almost feel the scorn. And this young lady loved playing hockey. And I'm sure that she voted as soon as she was old enough. In other words, she's one of those people who decry radical social changes, but are quite happy reaping the benefits while others take the lumps.

#103 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:42 AM:

One could easily look at abortion through this lens of privledge. I remember that during a family discussion around the time Roe v Wade was passed one of my older relatives pointed out that if you had money and the right connections it was always possible to "take care of that problem" in a safe hospital setting. I'm tired of hypocrisy and the Cheney pregnancy, the umpteen recent Republican and right wing outings all reek of it.
I am completely empathetic to closeted people of any type, life is complicated and we all make hard choices. However, when you start actively condemning your fellow citizens for the same behaviors/life style/choices you indulge than all bets are off.

#104 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:02 AM:

Lizzy L. --

I didn't think you were predicting the end of Western Civilization in all seriousness.

It gave me a great opportunity to riff on the idea that it's going to end anyway, that no one gets to keep their childhood, and so on, which I fell upon with glad cries.

As for Mary Cheney, working in Dick Cheney's political organization is utterly unconscionable in the first place. Her private life hardly has to enter into it to decide she ought not to be socially countenanced.

#105 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:31 AM:

#96 Glenn Hauman, actually my first thought was she's bi-sexual.

#106 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:37 AM:

About Heche... I thought either she was bisexual, or she found Jesus and she's been cured. (Yes, insert heavy sarcasm here.)

#107 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:37 AM:

or, as in the case of many of my friends who are lesbian, most of them have "tried" straight sex, but then didn't like it. Peer pressure is for more than just drugs and alcohol.

#108 ::: Maya ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:50 AM:

#96 Glenn Hauman, #71: Serge @#44
By the way, what's with Ann Heche not being a lesbian anymore? How does that work?

Sometimes the term "sexual plasticity" is used - it is suggested by some that sexual attraction in women is mediated more by emotional committment than inner orientation. I.e. partner preference isn't as strong a drive compared to personal attachment. "In women" is a general term, means "most, but not all of the women studied", not "all women, everywhere."

Similar research suggests that sexual orientation in men is very inflexible; hetero or not, men tend to not change stated identities. (Apparently this includes bisexual men not usually changing their stated identity.) Same disclaimer: some percentage of men won't fit this description, though the percentage is believed to be smaller compared to women. (less variability)

I have no opinion, personally, and I can't find my primary sources today. Sexual plasticity is also used to refer to a number of other things that don't have any bearing on this discussion.

#109 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:20 AM:

I don't have sources handy, but I was under the impression that Ann Heche started out identifying as straight and made a notable exception for a while.

#110 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:21 AM:

albatross@101: There's an assumption here that a lesbian has a different set of politican and social and moral responsibilities than a straight woman. That if Mary Cheney were straight, she could favor gay marriage while not campaigning for it when it seemed the best political strategy for her party, but since she's a lesbian, she can't do that. I just don't see why that makes sense.

First, be careful what assumptions you're assuming on behalf of others.

What I've heard a lot of people on this thread--and the related one concerning outing--saying is that participating in the oppression of a class of people whose goals or attributes you share because you personally have the resources not to be affected by that oppression is sleazy. I think straight politicians who favor gay rights but say nothing and do nothing because they aren't personally affected by it are sleazy, too.

I don't think gay rights have to be Mary Cheney's highest political priority. But her inaction, when she's in a position to influence policy on behalf of those in her situation who do not have the resources to get around the roadblocks her own party has put up because she, personally, has ways around them, amounts to condoning and participating in that oppression. I believe people with greater resources have greater responsibilities than those with lesser to use those resources for common good, and she has avoided those responsibilities while reaping the benefits of her resources. She can be out precisely because queers of all stripes before her put their lives on the line (literally, in many cases) to make that possible, and does nothing in return for the community that fought for her right to do these things she's so pleased to be able to do. That's parasitic.

#111 ::: Lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:37 AM:

Anthony @69,

You don't get to tell me what constitutes being a "good dyke", and your criticism of people's family arrangements is no different in that respect from the CWA. I'm monogamous because I want to be, not because I'm aping traditional heterosexual relationships. Not that that's any business of yours or anyone else's other than myself and my partner.

I'm familiar with the radical queer view on such things and have no more patience with this attempt to devalue my relationship than with attempts from the other end of the political spectrum.

#112 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:17 PM:

We each are monkeys alone in the cold night on a branch in a tree that's being shaken by wind and rain. Sometimes we're lucky enough to find another monkey just like ourselves and we hang on to each other and the night is a little less cold on that branch in a tree that's being shaken by wind and rain.

#113 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:53 PM:
I would love to separate legal marriage from sacramental marriage. It's a great idea. I believe that indeed many EU nations have done this, which no doubt makes the bishops of my church blather, but tough.
My wife and I did just that. In the state of Virginia, as a matter of fact. We were married by a retired Republican wardheeler in his basement office across the street from the Alexandria City Hall, in the presence of two witnesses who had never met either of us before.
#114 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:14 PM:

Theophylact, I am aware that in the US, legal, non-sacramental marriages are available -- to heterosexuals. But since I don't believe that legal homosexual unions are going to spark the end of Western Civilization as we know it, and as far as I can tell, all objections to such unions are ultimately based on the objector's religious convictions, I say, let's completely separate legal and sacramental marriage ceremonies. If you want a legal union, you must go to a Justice of the Peace, or the Mayor, or whoever. A priest or minister or rabbi or whoever can perform a sacramental union for you if you want one, but in order to receive the tax status and other legal advantages, you gotta get married by a representative of the state. Two different authorities, two ceremonies.

#115 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:20 PM:

#114: Hear, hear.

#116 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:42 PM:

#114:I think this is a perfectly sensible and rational solution. However, I'm finding it hard to believe that those who oppose same-sex unions are being sensible and rational. The argument has always been of the fear-mongering variety that civilization would collapse in the face of same-sex union. Well, same-sex unions are legal in Massachusetts and civilization has not collapsed. It's not even showing signs of collapsing. (Well, the Red Sox won the World Series the same year same sex unions became legal, but that's more hell freezing over than anything else.)

Of course, despite the non-collapse of civilization, there are still attempts to amend the MA constitution. The argument of the moment reminds me of when slave owners cast slavery as if it were a mere issue of state's rights. i.e., In a democracy, the people ought to have the right to vote on same-sex marriage, as if what is truly important is not whether or not people are allowed to marry members of the same sex, but that people are allowed to express a binding opinion about it. (Funny how there are a whole host of issues which affect their lives more which they do not feel this need to exercise this right over.)

That, however, is getting off the point. The point is that not only are there examples in the world of civilization not collapsing due to the legality of same-sex union. There is an example in the United States.

Why is this not better known? Why can't we point to Massachusetts and laugh hysterically any time anyone dares to suggest The End of Civilization As We Know It?

#117 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 04:13 PM:

Rebecca

She has worked directly against gay marriage, trotted out for campaigns by her father and his boss. I have no real problem with the family that she and her partner have decided to make, i have preferences, but thats none of my fucking buisness, and its my work, not hers to process those objections.

My problem is, when people have the money, access, and power to use queer discourse when conveient, and rip it apart when it is convient. it is like being in a large boat, and having people bore holes in the side.

#118 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 04:25 PM:

and Lorax...i am not saying Cheney is a bad dyke because she is in a loving monogomous realtionship, or even raising children (it would be nice, to have a partner and a child, it took a long time for me to admit that, but it would be nice)

What makes Cheney a bad dyke is her realtionship to power and status. That said, my wording could have been more delicate.


#119 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 07:31 PM:

Clifton (#58) - That was very wise, thank you for sharing!

#120 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:41 PM:

Lizzy L #114: Hear, hear! If/when my (heterosexual) partner and I ever decide to get married, it will be for legal and financial reasons, not religious ones, and we'll be going to the JP's office. There is NO LEGITIMATE REASON that a gay couple shouldn't be able to do the same thing for the same reasons that we are. It is SHAMEFUL that we have these special privileges simply on the basis of our respective genders.

JC #116: Part of the reason that the Christanists and their ilk are so determined to overthrow the Massachusetts law is precisely because it stands as a huge, local refutation for all of their claims. ("Local" as opposed to similar moves in furrin coutries such as Spain, for example -- after all, no red-blooded Amurrican cares what those people do!) And the longer the law stays in place, and civilization stubbornly fails to collapse, the bigger and less ignorable the elephant in the living room becomes.

#121 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 12:03 AM:

dolloch: Thanks! My ex-wife, Karen Lofstrom, gets the credit for at least half of that insight. (I finished putting together for myself why it makes fundies fulminate about "protecting the family".)

#123 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 12:07 AM:

Lizzy, #114, exactly what I think. If people want rituals, fine, but it doesn't make them joined in the eyes of the state.

#124 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 02:21 AM:

#105 -- Well, yes, that's obvious to you and me and lots of other people wandering around. But the thing of it is is that gender/sexuality continues, to a large extent, to be seen on an either/or axis, and people get so wrapped up in the either/or that they can't see the possibilities inherent in the frickin' continuum.

Which is to say, I wish bisexuality were an option that the firmly heterosexual camps and the firmly honosexual camps were more open to. But that's what you get when you Can't Change Your Identity. (Which, what? People change parts of their identities all the time.)

But this is something that has changed in my lifetime and will continue to change, so I'm... certainly not content, but, at least, comfortable with possibility.

Rebecca (particularly at #94)-- I'm a lot more scared and angered by someone who actively works with people who are trying to take my rights away than I am scared of people who disagree with my chosen worldview. (Although I do admit that some of the radical queer activists can be pretty damn hardline about it. But they continue not to be able to legislate my rights away, so I continue not to be /nearly/ as angry at them as I am at the Republicans In Power.)

But I'm sympathetic to Mary Cheney. Bad position to be stuck in.

#125 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 02:52 AM:

Kate (at 124)
I'm scared of people who are trying to take away my rights, too. I just don't think Mary Cheney is one of them.
This country is not going to see a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. The Republican Party knows it wouldn't pass, so they aren't going to do more than pay lip service to the idea. As clumsy and as difficult and as frustrating as it's going to be, that's a battle that's going to be fought state-by-state, and will not be won on the national level until an overwhelming majority of the states already have same-sex marriage. But since it's not a legal right I have already, I'm not worried about it being taken away. (Personally, I think all forms of legal marriage should be thrown out and replaced with a binding form of family-contract law that allows people to legally designate household and next-of-kin. Get the state out of the business altogether.)
Yes, I do worry about the rights of non-genetic parents of children of same-sex couples. I do worry about discrimination in adoption. I worry about queer teens' safety in school (I got death threats in high school because I was out, and only escaped being beaten because I had a number of large male friends to protect me), and the safety of queers of all ages anywhere. I worry about sodomy laws, and discrimination in custody cases.
But I'm even more worried about laws that do away with the right of habeas corpus and a Congress that condones illegal surveillance. I spend far too much of my time worrying about the people with real power who are making real attempts to erode our rights and freedoms to be bothered worrying about a collaborator here and there who has no real power and very little symbolic value.

#126 ::: Lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 11:18 AM:

Anthony @118, thanks for the clarification.

#127 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 01:59 PM:

I've had this radical notion knocking about in my head for a while: what about getting rid of marriage as a civil/legal relationship? I'd like to see it replaced with a general domestic partnership registry, allowing any people who live together and mutually assume household responsibilities to have certain legal privileges. Those privileges could vary from relationship to relationship and could be edited at will by the parties involved.

That way, people in non-marital-type situations(e.g., child caring for elderly parent, parent caring for disabled adult child, two single moms raising their children in the same house) could have access to the legal rights with bearing on their relationships, as could same-sex couples, polyamorous (cohabiting) groups, whatever.

If a couple wants to be Married in the Church according to the Great Holy Sacred Law, great. Let them go do that and enjoy themselves... best of luck. But just because someone else's life situation doesn't match up with their white picket fence ideal, why should that person be at a legal and financial disadvantage?

#128 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 07:24 PM:

Clifton, you were married to Karen Lofstrom? I had no idea.

#129 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 07:32 PM:

Red Molly @127: That's a great notion. I could even see it extending to temporary roommate situations (I've never had any problems to complain about, but I've had a couple of sisters tell me that my Christmas gifts were stolen by roommates).

#130 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 07:36 PM:

To clarify, it was gifts I had given them which were stolen by their roommates.

#131 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 08:22 PM:

I've had this radical notion knocking about in my head for a while: what about getting rid of marriage as a civil/legal relationship? I'd like to see it replaced with a general domestic partnership registry, allowing any people who live together and mutually assume household responsibilities to have certain legal privileges. Those privileges could vary from relationship to relationship and could be edited at will by the parties involved.

I think something of the sort was considered by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts when considering the suit for gay marriage. That is, they considered two potential remedies: giving gay people the right to marry, or taking it away from everyone by removing the state's recognition of it.

#132 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 08:41 PM:

As has been argued here before, one might say that marriage is primarily a mutual contract forming a partnership to provide the (potentially) optimum conditions for raising the children of the partnership. If (I SAY IF) this were true, it would follow that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples (or dare I say it, heterosexual groups), and this is not a line of argument based on religion.

However, it isn't true. The encroachments on it - by the other purposes of marriage, and by the fact that homosexual unions often do raise children, and by the protean nature of marriage as an institution throughout human society - render such an idea impossibly narrow and vastly outweighed by the argument that it is no business of a secular state to discriminate against people on the grounds of the gender of their partner, whatever it is, or to enforce religious law.

I used to hold that idea. I am pleased to say that I ditched it. It makes me think that I can be reached by rational argument. On a good day. With the wind behind it.

#133 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 12:26 AM:

#105, 107, 108:

Bisexuality was my thought as well, but my point was that it would be as hard for her to come out or even experiment with it as it would be for a straight person to do so. Perhaps harder.

There's a lot of antipathy in the gay and lesbian community towards bisexuals as well. Everybody's got to have somebody to look down on, I guess.

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:46 AM:

Dave #132: I remember clearly the moment when you ditched it. When I read your statement in that thread, I immediately decided that I liked you.

And you took action, IIRC; you wrote to your representative in [legislative body whose Ozite name I cannot recall] to say so. Standing ovation.

#135 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 02:12 AM:

Xopher #134: Yes, I did. An update. A Bill that would have entrenched a definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman died quietly on the backlog ticket of the following State Parliamentary session, after it became apparent to the government that the Bill's supporters were something of an embarrassment. So that question is, to some extent, still open, and some progress has been made towards at least a version of civil union.

In other news, the Federal Government made something like the same discovery when it rattled its sabre at the ACT (capital territory) Assembly, which brought in a fairly liberal version of civil union for gay couples. Strangely, as soon as Howard discovered that nobody gave very much of a damn, viewing-with-alarm didn't seem the go, all of a sudden. Tasmania, of course, spat the dummy some time ago and brought in civil unions, of like provisions as marriage, though even Tassie didn't call it marriage. Civilisation still appears to exist there, though. As much as it ever did, that is.

#136 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:39 AM:

Canada has had civil unions open to same-sex couples for years and years now. Perhaps society in the United States is just more fragile.

#137 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:00 PM:

Lizzy L said (#114):
... I say, let's completely separate legal and sacramental marriage ceremonies. If you want a legal union, you must go to a Justice of the Peace, or the Mayor, or whoever. A priest or minister or rabbi or whoever can perform a sacramental union for you if you want one, but in order to receive the tax status and other legal advantages, you gotta get married by a representative of the state. Two different authorities, two ceremonies.

For what it's worth, that seems to be the situation in Germany. As far as the state is concerned, you are only married if you go through the civil ceremony (usually at the city hall). A church ceremony is entirely optional (though common), and has no bearing on your legal status.

#138 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 11:47 AM:

I don't have sources handy, but I was under the impression that Ann Heche started out identifying as straight and made a notable exception for a while.

I had a friend who did something like that. Straight as an arrow until her senior year when she, pretty much out of the blue, moved in with a girl and had crazy lesbian sex for about six months; and as soon as she graduated, went straight back to being straight again. IIRC, when asked about her affair/liaison/whatever the hell it was, she said "I dunno, it just feels right."

She's now in the military and married to a Marine, I think. Have no clue how she was going to explain that to him...

#139 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 12:41 AM:

She's now in the military and married to a Marine, I think. Have no clue how she was going to explain that to him...

No words need be said... if you have juicy enough pictures.

#140 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 11:43 AM:

Lizzy #114: Good comment. Kudos to you.

Glenn #133: As a gay guy, I've never understood that either. I hope that I've never looked down on a bisexual because I think it would be amazing to be one. It certainly would have made my life a lot easier in some ways.

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