Dr. Horowitz is a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He formerly taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Last April, a brief series of events occurred in a Madison, Wisconsin, restaurant that spoke volumes about the current character of the homosexual rights movement. An employee of the Espresso Royal Cafe asked two women—presumably lesbians—to refrain from passionately kissing as they sat at a window table. Madison’s gay community was not amused. The very next day, about 125 homosexual demonstrators showed up on the premises, and conducted a “kiss-in” for several minutes. A spokeswoman for the protesters, Malvene Collins, demanded, “You say gays and lesbians cannot show affection here? Why not here but in every other restaurant in Madison?” The establishment’s chastised owner, Donald Hanigan, assured the crowd, “I regret that this incident ever happened. I want all of you to come in here every day.”
In October, several dozen homosexual males, many of them dressed in women’s clothing, openly hugged and kissed in a terminal of Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and handed out condoms and leaflets to travelers. Matt Nagel, spokesman for the Seattle chapter of a new homosexual organization, Queer Nation, seemed to sum up the feeling among militants in the local homosexual community. “We’re going to homophobic bars, we’re going to pack them, we’re going to be openly affectionate, we’re going to dance together and make it un-comfortable for all the straight people there.”
At the same time in Chicago, six homosexual couples staged a “kiss-in” at the cosmetics counter of a Bloomingdale’s department store until they were escorted out by security guards. Far from being deterred, the couples shortly went down to the cafeteria of a nearby office building, where they resumed their public display of affection.
A Bid for Legitimacy
After some two decades of confrontation, the homosexual rights movement is consolidating its bid for legitimacy. The phrase, “Out of the closet, and into the streets,” sounds quaint. That battle has already been won. Openly homosexual adults are certainly in the streets—d in stores, airports, and “homophobic” bars. Openly gay television characters, each with handsome, well-scrubbed looks, populate daytime and evening drama. Gay-oriented news programming is available on radio and television. Homosexual activists have all but completed their campaign to persuade the nation’s educational establishment that homosexuality is normal “alternative” behavior, and thus any adverse reaction to it is akin to a phobia, such as fear of heights, or an ethnic prejudice, such as anti-Semitism.
The movement now stands on the verge of fully realizing its use of law to create a separate homosexual society paralleling that of the larger society in every way, and to intimidate heterosexuals uncomfortable about coming into contact with it. Through aggressive lobbying by such gay organizations as the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the first part of that mission has enjoyed enormous success. About 90 counties and municipalities now have ordinances banning discrimination on the basis of gender orientation. There are roughly 50 openly gay public officials, up from less than a half-dozen in 1980.
Gay couples are increasingly receiving the full benefits of marriage, if not through state recognition of homosexual marriage ceremonies, then through enactment of domestic partnership laws. The State of California recently took a big step toward legalization of such marriages: this December it announced that “non-traditional” families, including homosexual couples, could formally register their unions as “unincorporated non-profit associations.” Divorced gay parents are receiving with increasing frequency the right to custody of natural children. Gay adults without children are increasingly receiving the right to adopt them. Aspiring homosexual clergy are demanding—and receiving—the right to be ordained. Openly gay teachers are teaching in public schools. Homosexual soldiers, aware that their sexual orientation is grounds for expulsion from the military, openly declare their proclivities.
A Federal gay rights bill is the ultimate prize, and homosexual activists are blunt and resolute in pursuing such legislation. For example, Jeff Levi, spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, remarked at a press conference coinciding with the national gay march on Washington in October 1987:
. . . we are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a protection from wrong. We also have a right—as heterosexual Americans already have—to see government and society affirm our lives . . . . until our relationships are recognized in the law—through domestic partner legislation or the definition of beneficiaries, for example—until we are provided with the same financial incentives in tax law and government programs to affirm our family relationships, then we will not have achieved equality in American society.
Yet, homosexual activists know that this legal revolution will never succeed without the unpleasant task of coercing heterosexuals into masking their displeasure with homosexuality. It is thus not enough merely to break down all existing barriers to homosexual affection being expressed through marriage, child-rearing, or employment. The law must additionally be rewritten to make it as difficult as possible for heterosexuals to avoid contact with such displays, or to show discomfort toward them.
This two-edged approach would create a world in which stringent laws at all levels, aggressively enforced and strictly interpreted, force business owners to refuse to discriminate against the openly homosexual in patronage, leasing, and hiring. Removing overtly homosexual patrons from a bar, an airport, or any other public space would result in heavy fines and even jail sentences against property owners or their employees (or in lieu of these sanctions, mandatory purgation). Derogatory remarks directed at homosexuals, even with sexuality only incidental, would likewise result in criminal penalties.
1990: A Pivotal Year
The year 1990 was pivotal for the homosexual legal revolution. The states of Massachusetts and Wisconsin in the late 1980s had enacted laws forbidding discrimination against homosexuals. The victories would come quickly now, especially at the local level. In March, the City of Pittsburgh voted to include sexual orientation as a right protected under the City Code. In October, Stanford University allowed homosexual couples to qualify for university Student housing. In November, voters in San Francisco, buoyed by a heavy turnout of that city’s large gay population, produced a “lavender sweep,” not only passing Proposition K, a city initiative to allow homosexuals to register as domestic partners at City Hall (a similar measure was defeated in 1989), but electing two openly lesbian candidates to the City Board of Supervisors, and an openly homosexual male candidate to the Board of Education.
Voters in Seattle refused to repeal an existing gender orientation ordinance. Congress did its part early in the year by overwhelmingly passing the Hate Crimes Statistics Act (or Hate Crimes Act), which requires the Justice Department to publish hate crime statistics according to classifications that include sexual orientation.
This agenda would likely have been even further realized with Michael Dukakis as President. In 1988, his Presidential campaign organization placed an advertisement in a New York homosexual newspaper, pledging, “As President, I will fight for Federal legislation to add a prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation to the existing protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:” Rank-and-file pressure on even a centrist Democratic Presidential candidate would be difficult to fend off. Rule 5C of the National Democratic Party currently states: “With respect to groups such as . . . lesbians and gay men . . . each state party shall develop and submit party outreach programs for such groups identified in their plans, including recruitment, education and training, in order to receive full participation by such groups in the delegate-selection process and at all levels of party affairs.”
For close to 20 years, old-time party regulars have been walking on eggshells on this issue, praying it would go away, yet never really having the stomach for open conflict. Now the day of reckoning looms. Democratic candidates and party officials opposing this recent requirement (none dare call it a quota) must be willing either silently to watch the slow disintegration of their party, or to speak out and face de facto expulsion. It is therefore not surprising that all candidates for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination in 1988, in response to a questionnaire circulated by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, promised to support a Federal gay rights bill.
Republicans offer only little more resistance. The few among them who do speak out against the homosexual lobby—most notably, U.S. Representative William Dannemeyer of California—enjoy little support from their party. One need only remember how reluctantly and belatedly Congress acted merely to reprimand U.S. Representative Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, for aiding a male roommate in running a prostitution service from the basement of his Washington, D.C., townhouse. One need only remember also how quickly a Bush White House official, Doug Weed, who circulated a memorandum complaining of the high visibility of gay activists at the Hate Crimes Act signing ceremony, was fired from his post.
“Gay Civil Rights”
The homosexual lobby speaks of itself as struggling for “civil rights.” “The gay community’s goal is integration—just as it was with Martin Luther King,” argues homosexual activist and San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Harry Britt. Yet, underneath the surface, gay civil rights seems analogous to black “civil rights” after Reverend King’s death. Far from seeking integration with the heterosexual world, it vehemently avoids it. More important, the movement seeks to win sinecures through the state, and over any objections by “homophobic” opposition. With a cloud of a heavy fine or even a jail sentence hanging over a mortgage lender, a rental agent, or a job interviewer who might be discomforted by them, homosexuals under these laws can win employment, credit, housing, and other economic entitlements. Het-erosexuals would have no right to discriminate against homosexuals, but apparently, not vice versa. Libertarians as well as traditionalists ought to be troubled by this.
Consider a recent controversy in Madison, Wisconsin, as noted earlier a national bastion of “enlightened” attitudes. Three single women had recently moved into the same apartment, and one announced that she was a lesbian. The other two, not unreasonably, asked her to move. The lesbian filed a grievance with the local Human Rights Board, and, predictably, won. The shock came in the punishment. The two heterosexual women had to pay $1,500 in “damages” to the lesbian, send her a public letter of apology, attend a two-hour “briefing” on homosexuality (conducted, needless to say, by homosexuals), and submit to having their living arrangements monitored for two years.
With such laws in effect, this outcome would not be so much played out as simply avoided. Let one hypothetical example suffice, one that no doubt has been played out regularly, and that goes a long way in explaining why in any metropolitan area gays tend to cluster in a few neighborhoods.
A man enters an apartment rental office, inquiring about a vacancy. He openly indicates he is a homosexual, or at least implies as much through certain mannerisms. For good measure, he brings along his lover. The rental manager fudges, dears his throat, and says, “Well, er, several people are looking at the apartment. Call me later.” An hour later, a second man, alone, walks in. He does not announce his sexuality. Who gets the apartment?
In the absence of gay protectionism, and assuming equal incomes, the manager (sighing with relief) would probably award the apartment to the second applicant. Gay militants would cry, “Discrimination!”—and miss the point. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is fundamentally different from that based on race. Homosexuality constitutes a behavioral, not a genetic trait. It is within the moral right of a landlord, job interviewer, banker, or anyone else performing a “gatekeeper” function to discourage economically risky behavior, sexual or otherwise. Libertarian columnist Doug Bandow articulates this:
The point is, homosexuals have no right to force others to accept or support their lifestyle. Certainly government has no business discriminating against them: Anti-sodomy laws, for instance, are a vicious intrusion in the most intimate form of human conduct. And gays who pay taxes have as much right to government services and employment as anyone else.
But someone who decides to live openly as a homosexual should accept the disapproval of those around him. For many Americans still believe that there is a fundamental, unchangeable moral code by which men are to live . . . .
Using government to bludgeon homophobics into submission is even more intolerant than the original discrimination.
Under normal circumstances, the rental manager would not want to lease to gays who, once moved in, might tell their friends that the neighborhood could have possibilities as a “gay” one. Word-of-mouth travels fast within their world. Beyond a certain “tipping-point,” many heterosexual residents near and within the complex, rather than risk feeling stigmatized, would choose to move. Their places largely would be taken by overt homosexuals.
In fact this is exactly how neighborhoods such as Castro (San Francisco), West Hollywood (formerly part of Los Angeles, now separately incorporated largely due to gay pressure), the West Village (New York City), and Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) all rapidly developed reputations as “gay neighborhoods,” and how large sections of Martha’s Vineyard, Fire Island, and Rehoboth Beach became
“gay resorts.” The tipping-point principle also applies to public facilities such as restaurants. At the Grapevine Cafe in Columbus, Ohio, for example, heterosexual customers stopped coming when the clientele became heavily gay.
What would happen with a sexual orientation law in place? The rental manager knows that ii he turns down an openly homosexual applicant, he risks prosecution. Any rejection can serve as proof of discriminatory intent, even with factors such as length of employment, income, and previous tenant record taken into account. In response to such a fear, the manager, though reluctantly, is likely to award the apartment to the homosexual.
For gay activists, therein lies the payoff. By codifying into law “protection” of homosexual mannerisms, they can intimidate gatekeepers into providing job security and housing for the openly homosexual. Thus, without necessarily mentioning anything about quotas or, for that matter, homosexuality, law in the U.S. is increasingly mandating homosexual affirmative action. Such law has the same intent as the recently vetoed Kennedy-Hawkins Civil Rights Act.
If the homosexual rights movement is in large measure an affirmative action strategy, certain consequences should be evident, all of which already are on their way to being entrenched. Most obviously, American culture is experiencing a sexual schism as deep as any racial one. There are other damaging ramifications.
First, wherever such laws exist, they will attract homosexuals to the jurisdictions enacting them. Common sense dictates that any community laying out the welcome mat for homosexuality lays it for homosexuals, implicitly telling others to kindly step aside. Aside from legal protection, there is political strength in concentrated numbers. Most aspiring elected officials in San Francisco, for example, must now pay homage to the achievement of local gays, and show up at gay events. As Proposition K coordinator Jean Hams remarked following the November elections, “We’ve shocked the world and made history with this lavender sweep . . . . It’s clear that if you don’t get the support of the gay-lesbian community you’re going to he in trouble.” While the homosexual voting bloc will never be a majority in any city, even San Francisco, it can wield enormous veto power over the objections of all other blocs.
Second, having learned the power of the gate-keeper role, many homosexuals will seek to become gatekeepers themselves. It takes no great stretch of imagination, for example, to understand that the growing number of college administrations severely punishing anti-gay harassment (even if such “harassment” takes no more sinister a form than a satirical campus newspaper editorial or cartoon) has much to do with the growing number of college administrators and faculty who are themselves homosexual (and possibly were hired on that very basis). Nor does it take much imagination to understand that gay employers have more reason than ever to favor homosexuals in their hiring and promotion practices.
Third, these laws will create market bottlenecks. Heterosexuals and even “closeted” homosexuals will be at a competitive disadvantage for jobs and housing. For them, prices will be higher and wages lower than in the absence of such “safeguards.” This is especially significant since gay culture is visible in high-cost cities such as New York and San Francisco.
Gays view economic victories to be won here, and few have been as resounding as the Braschi decision. In July 1989, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that a gay lover had the right to stay in his deceased partner’s rent-controlled apartment because he qualified as a member of the partner’s family, a decision recently upheld by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court. “We conclude that the term ‘family,’” the lower court argued, “should not be rigidly restricted to those people who have formalized their relationship by obtaining, for instance, a marriage certificate or an adoption order . . . . a more realistic, and certainly equally valid, view of a family includes two adult lifetime partners whose relationship is long term and characterized by an emotional and financial commitment and interdependence.”
Gay activists understandably were elated at this imprimatur for homosexual marriage; they know household economics. Homosexual couples defined as “married” could reduce not only their housing costs, but also their income taxes (by filing jointly), pensions, and insurance premiums. They also would qualify for paid medical leave, spousal bereavement leave, and other employee benefits. At this writing, the San Francisco chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is considering suing several locally based corporations that deny benefits to their homosexual employees’ part-hers.
Fourth, the new legalism will increase heterosexual anger—and even violence—toward homosexuals. Reports of “gay bashing” (the real kind) simultaneous with increased homosexual visibility cannot be a coincidence. What economist Thomas Sowell and psychologist Stephen Johnson have each revealed about racial affirmative action can apply to sexual affirmative action as well; unprotected groups, lacking recourse through rule of law, may resort to violence against innocent members of protected groups. Those who make it their baili wick to monitor every incident of petty harassment of gays are impervious to any possibility that when laws force heterosexuals to bottle up dialogue, their feelings may erupt in more destructive ways. Gay bashing, then, is in some measure a product of the very laws designed to punish it.
The Language of Victimhood
The radical homosexual movement seeks centralization of state power in the name of “civil rights.” What began as a demand for the state not to interfere against private homosexual behavior has evolved into a demand for the state to intercede on behalf of public homosexual behavior. In so doing, the movement has advanced further into the same totalitarian netherworld that various black and feminist movements also have come to occupy. In each case, activists proclaim “victim” status, malign the intentions of critics; and demand government entitlements that necessarily discriminate against others. “Once upon a time,” syndicated columnist Paul Greenberg writes in The Washington Times, “civil rights were unifying and universal—a way to open society to the claims of individual merit. Now ‘civil rights’ becomes a code word for dividing society into competing, resentful groups.”
Gay militants know the cue-card language of victimhood. For example, Gara LaMarche and William B. Rubenstein write in The Nation, “The targets of the 1950s witch hunts were both Communists and other leftists, labeled ‘subversives,’ and homosexuals, labeled ‘sexual perverts.’ Today, as the cold war mentality collapses, enemies are again being found at home, but this time lesbians and gay men are leading the list.” With former President Ronald Reagan and Cardinal John O’Connor leading the list of personages in the “McCarthy” role, the authors can make believe this really is the 1950s.
Just as opposing current racial and ethnic civil rights orthodoxies inevitably invites being labeled “racist” and “ethnocentric,” opposing the current homosexual orthodoxy almost guarantees being denounced as “homophobic.” One is simply not free to not pay tribute to them. The few people willing to toe the line pay the consequences. Pete Hamill, hardly an ally of the hard Right, knows this too well. Having written a column in the August 1990 Esquire sharply critical of those aggressively politicizing their homosexuality (though with genuine warmth for his homosexual friends), he was subsequently subject to constant attack by ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and other homosexual gendarmes. When early in 1990, Martin Luther King III remarked in a speech in Poughkeepsie, New York, that “something must be wrong” with homosexuals, enraged gay leaders demanded (and got) an apology.
Heterosexuals need not even fire the first shot to invoke gay wrath. When a pair of Queer Nation activists disrupted the airing of the December 14, 1990, segment of The Arsenio Hall Show, they insisted that the host explain why so few of his guests were gay. Unappeased by Hall’s assurance that many are, the activists continued their on-camera ranting for about 10 minutes. Hall, of course, must now bear the onus as a “homophobe.”
Gay activists may incessantly speak of their “rights,” yet oddly care little for those of others. Articles in Outweek, a year-old tabloid dedicated to exposing homosexual liaisons (real or imagined) of public figures believed otherwise to be heterosexual, routinely call for removing freedom of speech from anyone alleged to be “homopho-bic.” A placard at a recent gay rights march in Washington read, “BAN HOMOPHOBIA, NOT HOMOSEXUALITY.” Radical homosexuals apparently do not reciprocate when it comes to the First Amendment.
The most shameful example of the gays’ civil rights double standard, of course, was their temporarily successful attempt to blackball Andy Rooney, long-time humorist of CBS’s 60 Minutes program. The details of the saga—Rooney’s allegedly anti-gay comments on a CBS news special reviewing the events of 1989; the subsequent storm of protest by gay militants; Rooney’s explanation to them in the form of a letter to and an interview with a national gay newspaper, the Advocate; the anti-black comments falsely attributed to Rooney in the interview; and his three-month suspension without pay from CBS—are well-known.
Never mind that the interview was a pure frame-up, or that homosexual militants routinely make hate-filled denunciations of”straights.” More ominous is how quickly CBS moved to institute damage control, choosing to take the word of a gay cub reporter, lacking any tape of the interview, over that of Mr. Rooney, a loyal and popular CBS employee for some four decades. This is how CBS, which now hires a homosexual group to conduct “gay sensitivity seminars” for its news personnel, responded to its fear of a lawsuit or a boycott of network sponsors. The network’s action was an indication of how readily small businesses might capitulate under a Federal gay civil rights law.
Rooney, of course, was reinstated on 60 Minutes before the three months, but no thanks to any good graces from CBS top brass. Give the credit instead to Rooney’s supportive 60 Minutes colleagues and the show’s falling Nielsen ratings. Yet Rooney, chastened, had to issue a public apology prior to reinstatement, one that virtually forfeited his right to say “offensive” things about gays in the future, ironic since his job requires being cantankerously peevish. Free speech lost.
Homosexual militants also have little use for the right to privacy save their own. They view any public figure’s possible homosexual behavior as grist for voyeuristic public consumption. The mere existence of a spurious scandal sheet like Outweek ought to outrage the sensibilities of all individualists. The hypocrisy of it all begs a comparison. Suppose the National Enquirer or some other general circulation gossip magazine exposed as homosexuals the very same celebrities that Outweek does. Homosexual activists would properly see this as character assassination. Yet apparently when a homosexual publication engages in the identical practice, it is creating “positive gay role models.”
“Now, the idea that one must be either in the closet or out of it is an invention of those who would politicize sex and abolish privacy,” Thomas Short writes in National Review. “They wrongly make whatever is not publicly proclaimed seem secret, furtive. This dichotomy of being either in the closet or out of it should not exist . . . . We all have some secrets to keep.” Homosexual radicals do not keep sexual secrets. Since a homosexual act is political, even the most casual encounter by an otherwise heterosexual person must be made public, at whatever cost to that person. Outweek, and the mentality to which it caters, is more than indiscreet; it is totalitarian.
The Growing Threat of Violence
There is something about encountering homosexuality in its militant and pugnacious form that touches a deep, almost reflexive anger, even among most heterosexual liberals. That is why attempts at “mainstreaming” gay culture, even when holding an olive branch, are bound to fail. One of the saddest books to appear in recent years is After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s. The authors, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, both homosexual, advocate a national campaign to cheerfully “sell” gay culture. They suggest, for example, that gay organizations buy up advertising space in “straight” newspapers with pictures of historical figures such as Alexander the Great, asking: “Did you know he was gay?”
Kirk and Madsen, like their surlier compatriots, fail to grasp that public homosexuality strikes at both a heterosexual’s fear of loss of sexual identity and sense of belonging to a family. For even in this age of artificial insemination, families are not sustainable without heterosexuality. No matter how much the homosexual activist naively protests, “Gays are people, too,” such a plea will receive in return grudging respect, and little else.
In a summary piece for Newsweek’s March 12, 1990, cover story, “The Future of Gay America,” Jonathan Alter revealed a rare understanding of this dynamic. He notes, “‘Acting gay’ often involves more than sexual behavior itself. Much of the dislike for homosexuals centers not on who they are or what they do in private, but on so-called affectations—‘swishiness’ in men, the ‘butch’ look for women—not directly related to the more private sex act.” Quite rightly so-one doubts if more than a tiny fraction of heterosexuals have even inadvertently witnessed a homosexual act. Alter then gets to the core of the issue. “Heterosexuals,” he writes, “tend to argue that gays can downplay these characteristics and ‘pass’ more easily in the straight world than blacks can in a white world . . . .
This may be true, but it’s also irrelevant. For most gays those traits aren’t affectations but part of their identities; attacking their swishiness is the same as attacking them.’?
Yet if gays, through their carefully practiced “gay” mannerisms, know fully well they are antagonizing many heterosexuals, then why do they display them? Is it not in part to make heterosexuals sweat? By aggressively politicizing these traits, and demanding that those objecting must grin and bear it, they are in a sense restricting heterosexual freedom of speech. Male and even female opposition to persons with these traits is slowly taking a nasty turn, moving from violence of language to violence of fists. And yet, given the emerging legal climate, one discovers within oneself a disquieting empathy with the inchoate rage behind such acts.
Most heterosexuals are reasonably libertarian; an October 1989 Gallup Poll indicated that by a 47-to-36 margin (with the remainder undecided), Americans prefer legalization of homosexual relations between consenting adults. This is all to the good. Anti-sodomy laws serve no purpose but to intimidate people out of private, consensual acts. On the other hand, the brazen, open display of homosexuality—as if to taunt, to tease, to maliciously sow confusion into sexual identities—is something most heterosexuals do not handle gracefully. With an unofficial government mandate for preferential treatment, it is not difficult to imagine a backlash. When homosexual lawyer-artist William Dobbs plastered explicit homosexual artwork throughout the Yale University campus back in 1989, he was not simply making a homo-erotic statement; he was daring “homophobes” to remove the art, and risk suspension or expulsion from the university. Those having little to lose may accept his dare—and it may be people like Dobbs as well as such art that gets torn up.
Should a sober discussion of the possibilities for heterosexual violence be forbidden? Nobody in a rational state of mind would seek to emulate the exploits of “skinheads” or the late San Francisco Supervisor Dan White. Yet let readers here imagine themselves in that Madison restaurant or Seattle airport, being witness to mass displays of homosexual kissing, and feeling utterly helpless to evince the slightest disapproval. Would not such a scenario provoke an impulse, however fleeting and irrational, to do bodily harm? Does not the knowl edge that the law is now stacked against even nonviolent disapproval (“hate crimes”) merely add to the likelihood of a conflagration?
The principal motive of the gay movement is coming into focus with each passing month: to bait heterosexuals’ less morally sturdy side, goading them into verbal or (better) physical assaults against the openly homosexual. That way, cries of homosexual victimhood would carry even more self-fulfilling prophecy, so much the better to vilify heterosexuals.
Gay militants aren’t hesitant about admitting to such motives. Some want nothing less than war in the streets. Homosexual playwright and ACT-UP founder, Larry Kramer, recently called upon a gay audience to take gun practice for use in eventual combat against police and gay-bashers. “They hate us anyway,” he rationalized. A cover of a recent issue of Outweek displayed a lesbian pointing a gun at the reader, with the headline, “Taking Aim at Bashers,” while another cover announced, “We Hate Straights.” Even “mainstream” gay leaders, such as Urvashi Vaid, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, endorse such tactics, whatever the loss of potential supporters.
The crowning legacy of the new gay legalism may yet be widespread violence, a violence brought on by state inhibition of rational dialogue at the behest of gay radicals, and in the name of “sensitivity.” That alone is enough reason to oppose it.
1. “Gay Rights Protesters Win Right to Kiss,” The Washington Times, April 18, 1990.
4. One of the best arguments that homosexuality is not simply a statistical aberration, but a behavioral abnormality, can be found in Steven Goldberg, “Is Homosexuality Normal?” Policy Review, Summer 1982, pp. 119-38.
9. The term “hate crime,” in the hands of the homosexual lobby, is so vague that even an accidental epithet could qualify as an offense. For example, of the 462 anti-homosexual “hate crimes” committed in Virginia in 1987, 423—over 90 percent—involved mere name-calling. See Patrick Buchanan, “The Real Victims of Hate Crimes,” The Washington Times, March 7,1990. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), in its own estimate of hate crimes committed nationwide in 1988, admitted that 77 percent were verbal. In fact, the origin of the legislation lay in a 1985 NGLTF presentation before the National Institute of Justice. See Congressman William Daunemeyer, Shadow in the Land’ Homosexuality in America (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), pp. 71-75. Congressman Dannemeyer’s book is the best currently available on the homosexual lobby.
15. Even sympathetic observers of this process admit that the public identification of a neighborhood as “gay” induces non-gays to move out. See Manuel Castells and Karen Murphy, “Cultural Identity and Urban Structure: The Spatial Organization of San Francisco’s Gay Community,” in Norman L and Susan S. Fainstein, eds., Urban Policy Under Capitalism (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1982), pp. 237-59. For a decidedly unsympathetic (and highly personal) account of how the process works in resort communities, see Midge Decter, “The Boys on the Beach,” Commentary, September 1980, pp. 3548.
18. For example, gay activists have now convinced the courts that having AIDS qualifies as a condition covered by Federal handicap discrimination laws. Shuttleworth v. Broward County, 41 FEP Cases 406 (S.D. Fla. 1986); Thomas v. Atascadero Unified School District, 662 F. Supp. 376 (C.D. Cal. 1987).
20. At Harvard University, for example, the administration quickly suspended a student who removed a sign from an empty table in a dining hall indicating that it was reserved for a campus homosexual organization. Leave aside the absurd notion that a lunch table ought to be reserved for any particular sexual group, and the absence of alice on the part of the student (who simply sought a vacant seat in an otherwise crowded room). This student’s suspension could only have come about either because the administrators meting out the punishment were radical homosexuals, or because they were heterosexual but feared crossing swords with campus homosexuals.
In a sad coda to this incident, the suspended student later committed suicide. See Thomas Sowell, “Call of the Woolly Pulpit,” The Washington Tunes, December 7,1990.
24. Thomas Sowell, “Affirmative Action: A Worldwide Disaster,” Commentary, December 1989, pp. 21-41; see also Sowell, Preferential Policies: An International Perspective (New York: William Morrow, 1990).
25. Stephen Johnson, “Reverse Discrimination and Aggressive Behavior,” Journal of Psychology, January 1980, pp. 11-19;, Johnson, “Consequences of Reverse Discrimination,” Psychological Reports, December 1980, pp. 10351038.
30. Quoted in Andrew Sullivan, “Gay Life, Gay Death,” The New Republic, December 27,1990, p. 24. That Sullivan, an ally of the homosexual legal revolution, is alarmed over the totalitarianism inherent in such pronouncements should be taken seriously; he supports—on conservative grounds, no less—legalizing homosexual marriage. See Sullivan, “Here Comes the Groom,” The New Republic, August 28, 1989, pp. 2O-22.
32. Here was Rooney’s “anti-gay” remark: “Many of the ills which kill us are self-induced.” They include, “too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, and cigarettes.” Given that at the time of that statement, over 50,000 persons already had died of AIDS, Rooney would hardly qualify as anything other than a bearer of unpleasant truth.
33. For good interpretations of this episode, see Erie Breindel, “The Andy Rooney Affair,” Commentary, May 1990, pp. 56-57; Cal Thomas, “Silence from the Pluralism Corner,” The Washington Tunes, March 12,1990.
34. The evidence suggests that increased social tolerance of homosexuality does not necessarily lead to homosexuals themselves being happier. See Martin 5. Weinberg and Colin J. Willams, Male Homosexuals (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974); Samuel McCracken, “Axe Homosexuals Gay?” Commentary, January 1979, pp. 19-29.