Posted by: captainfalcon | July 21, 2011

De minimis developments in left sexual politics

Since the gay – its politics and biology – is a bit of a subtheme around here, I thought I’d point out Jonathan Turley’s op-ed in the New York Times. I am reliably informed that it was ghost written in 2003 by the Anti-Family Research Council, which was anti-established in the late-60s, at a point equidistant between the Stonewall Inn and Woodstock, by a committee of hippies, commies and Homosexual Agendeists. The crux of its message:

One might expect the civil liberties community to defend [consensual polygamous relationships] as a natural extension of its campaign for greater privacy and personal choice. But too many have either been silent or outright hostile to demands from polygamists for the same protections provided to other groups under Lawrence.

The reason might be strategic: some view the effort to decriminalize polygamy as a threat to the recognition of same-sex marriages or gay rights generally. After all, many who opposed the decriminalization of homosexual relations used polygamy as the culmination of a parade of horribles. In his dissent in Lawrence, Justice Antonin Scalia said the case would mean the legalization of “bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality and obscenity.”

Justice Scalia is right in one respect, though not intentionally. Homosexuals and polygamists do have a common interest: the right to be left alone as consenting adults. Otherwise he’s dead wrong. There is no spectrum of private consensual relations — there is just a right of privacy that protects all people so long as they do not harm others.

This is the second Times op-ed in recent weeks that’s in [probably healthy] tension with the [probably correct] dominant strategy of those working on the left side of sexual politics. The first was Katherine Franke’s, the day after SSM passed in New York, cautioning against the development of cultural pressures in favor of marriage within the gay community on the grounds that “[a]s strangers to marriage for so long, we’ve created loving and committed forms of family, care and attachment that far exceed, and often improve on, the narrow legal definition of marriage.”

From one point of view, both Franke and Turley are united in favor of calling for a greater pluralism now, against the dominant strategy of emphasizing the special analogy between gay and straight couples. On the other hand, Franke’s bottom line (but not Turley’s) has a whiff of the trimmer to it insofar as it stands against cultural upheavals (even if those upheavals would bring the minority-culture in which they might occur more in line with the majority). That said, her logic doesn’t support this reading.

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Responses

  1. […] their decisions in the language of technocracy. Jonathon Turley, in his op-ed on polygamy previously mentioned, makes a first effort along these lines: Others have opposed polygamy on the grounds that, while […]

  2. Steal my thunder will you. I have a post sitting in the drafts section on this topic…


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