No, I’m not coming out. I’m saving that for my future disastrous Senate run in Ohio. I’m just making a couple of quick comments about the New Jersey Governor and San Francisco annulments.
New Jersey Governor: Call me impolitic, but the real issue here for me is not that he’s gay (although as a practical matter he would seem bisexual, actually) but that he apparently gave the person with whom he was having an affair an important and high-paying state job for which he was not qualified. Had he not done this, it seems he would have not have had to do the pre-emptive strike of outing himself in advance of a political scandal, and everyone would be, if not exactly happy, at least keeping their jobs. The moral of the story: When it comes to sex, keep work and play separate.
The reason I think this is fundamentally not about the Governor’s gayness is simply that if a heterosexual governor did the same thing, he or she would be in very hot water as well, politically speaking. It’s not really about sexual identification, it’s pretty much about sexual stupidity. I see a lot of high-minded statements out there about how it will be great one day when someone like McGreavy doesn’t have to say “I’m a gay American,” and I say, well, sure, just as long as we can all also continue to point out that setting up your sex toy with a cushy state job is still corruption, regardless of which tabs go into which slots.
San Francisco Wedding Annulments: Well, everyone was aware that they were participating in civil disobedience, right? The San Francisco marriages were akin to black people sitting at the counter of an Alabama diner in the 1950s; the act of the disobedience didn’t make the act legal (it is of course not a direct analogy, since the disobedience in this case was a matter of one level of government acting up against another, with about 8,000 people as the tool). As I understood it, the ultimate point of the attempted marriages was to force the California Courts to rule on whether barring gays and lesbians to marry runs afoul of the California state Constitution, and indeed, that question will be before the courts later this year. So well done there.
I’m pretty sure that everyone from Gavin Newsom on up realized that legally speaking, these marriages would be voided by the state in the short run. It’s sad if everyone down from Newsom didn’t also realize this, but I think most of them did — they were willing pawns in a game with some very deep strategy. What I hope we’ll see, if gays and lesbians are allowed to marry in California, is that all these couples will take the plunge again. If nothing else, it’ll be a fine refutation to all those people against gay marriage who say that the only reason gay people want to get married is for purely political reasons. Gay people do want to get married for political reasons, of course, as in, they want the same rights and privileges under the law, a belief which is necessarily political. But — and call me crazy, here — I suspect for most of them “as a political statement” is probably no higher than #4 on the List of Reasons to Get Married (#1: Because we’re in love. #2: Gift registries! #3: To make our mothers happy. Oddly enough, the top three reasons for straight couples, too).