The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

John McCain Swings Both Ways

Ladies and Gentlmen, the Maverick on gay marriage.

That’s just a clip, but there’s more on the full video from Hardball, including this quote.

“On the issue of the gay marriage, I believe if people want to have private ceremonies that’s fine. I do not believe that gay marriage should be legal.”

Thus the wannabe presidential candidate tries to have it both ways on gay marriage, coming across as anti-gay but not anti-gay at the same time.

John, you fucking idiot. You just don’t get it, do you?

Gay people have been “having ceremonies” since there have been gay people. (In other words, forever.) There’s nothing stopping us from “having ceremonies.” There are even churches that will welcome us and clergy who will happily officiate. (And some of those clergy are gay too.) Fortunately, nobody is trying to bad churches and clergy from hosting or officiating at same-sex weddings. (Yet.) So, that’s not the problem. (Yet.)

The problem is that those ceremonies have no meaning beyond the wedded couples and the people attending in support of their unions. Outside of that, they carry no weight in the courtroom, or the hospital room, or in any number of areas in American life where a marriage certificate makes a huge amount of difference. At the risk of repeating myself, met me remind you of some examples of what a walk down the aisle doesn’t get us, and how that plays out in real life.

  • There was the friend I wrote about recently who was turned away from from the emergency room, where his partner had been taken after suddenly collapsing at work, and told he could not be given any information because he was not next of kin. He had to leave the hospital and retrieve their legal documents before he could gain admittance to see his partner when a married spouse would have been waved through without question.
  • My friend was luckier than Bill Flanigan. When his partner Robert Daniel was hospitalized in Baltimore, the couple had their legal documents with them, including durable power of attorney and documentation that they were registered as domestic partners in California. But those documents were ignored by hospital staff and Flanigan was kept from seeing his partner until Daniel’s mother and sister arrived and by then Daniel was unconscious, with his eyes taped shut and hooked to a breathing tube; something Daniel had not wanted.
  • Even having a will didn’t help Sam Beaumont when his partner of 23 years, Earl, died. Oklahoma requires a will to have two witnesses, but Earl didn’t know that and his will leaving everything to Sam had only one. So Earls cousins, who disapproved of his relationship and most of whom never spoke to the couple or even came to Earl’s funeral, successfully sued to take away the home and ranch Sam an Earl had shared for 23 years. A married spouse, even in the event of a will lacking enough witnesses, would’ve had the right to automatically inherit at least some of the estate.
  • Laurel Hester gave 23 years of service as a investigator for the county prosecutor’s office, only to be denied justice when she requested that the county government to provide domestic partnership benefits as permitted (but not required) by New Jersey state law. Hester was dying of cancer and wished to leave her pension to her partner, Stacee Andree, so that Andree could keep their home after Hester’s death. Her request was denied. It wasn’t until the story attracted media attention, cause people to rally in support of Hester, and eventually drew threats to boycott the tourism-dependent county that the county government finally granted Hester’s request shortly before she died.
  • Having a domestic partnership didn’t spare Crispin Hollings any trouble when his partner Eric Rofes died recently. While making funeral arrangements, Crispin had to mount a legal challenge against a funeral home director who refused to recognize their relationship and refused to let Hollings proceed with the funeral arrangements. The funeral home director eventually relented, but no heterosexual spouse would’ve had to face that challenge in the midst of mourning and carrying out a spouse’s last wishes.
  • Having a civil union won’t help Robert Scanlon and Jay Baker, even after 30 years together. With Robert facing inevitable decline and death from ALS, the couple will likely have to liquidate all of their belongings to pay for the necessary care. A married spouse, as mentioned before, would at least be able to keep the house.

It isn’t about having a ceremony, John. And, despite your dismissive comments about “if you want to call it that” we’re not fucking playing house, John. We’re making commitments to one another, and building lives and families together. The question is, are we “real” families or not, and do we get treated like “real” families? Or is the distinction now between “nonfamilies and “state sanctioned families”? The sad part, John, is that you’re trying to have it both ways — coming across as a “nice guy” who’s not anti-gay while at the same time not pissing off your friends at Liberty University and Bob Jones University — but you fail miserably because even your pseudo attempt at least appearing not to be anti-gay falls on its face. It’s not about whether we get to walk down the aisle or not John. It’s about whether we have the same rights and protections as other families after that walk.

Actually, John, your remark reminded me of an interview I saw years ago when some sweet little old lady was asked about a law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. I guess she wanted to preserve her image as a sweet old lady when she said of the proposed law, “Oh, I’m against discrimination. I just don’t think we need a law against it. It’s a nice sentiment, but even then I knew the reality was that in the absence of a law there was no way to prevent discrimination, no possible penalty for those who did the discriminating, and no legal remedies or recourse for those who were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation to fight it.

In her mind, that little old lady got to have it both ways by personally opposing discrimination, but at the same time supporting it by supporting a status quo that at best took a “do nothing” approach to anti-gay discrimination that left people no better off. But she got to feel good about herself, and remain a sweet old lady.

I guess you feel good about yourself too, John. You’re still an SOB too. And by that I don’t mean “Sweet Ol’ Boy.”

[Via Good As You.]

One Comment

  1. In the past five years, McCain has absolutely broken my heart. The one Republican I could have voted for, and he has done nothing but trade in his credibility an inch at a time. Who the hell does he think he’s fooling? He’s become a bootlicker, and in 10 years he’s going to realize that neither party will want anything to do with him.