It’s sort of a slow news day, but there are three interesting pieces sitting here as open tabs on my screen, so I will share them with you so that I may then close them:
1. Damon Root has an interesting analysis at Reason about the state of the Prop 8 case and its chances when it inevitably reaches the Supreme Court. Reason is often an intellectual wasteland, but this is one case where their libertarian perspective and analysis is worthwhile reading, especially as it pertains to Anthony Kennedy:
As for Monday’s proceedings, the outcome looks likely to be favorable to Prop. 8’s opponents. Earlier this week the 9th Circuit announced that Judges Michael Hawkins, Stephen Reinhardt, and N. Randy Smith will hear the appeal. Hawkins and Reinhardt are both widely known as judicial liberals. Indeed, National Review’s Ed Whelan promptly denounced Reinhardt as arguably “the most aggressive liberal judicial activist in the nation.” But perhaps more importantly, as George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr pointed out, “Reinhardt writes like there is no Supreme Court, and as a result his opinions have a remarkable ability to annoy the Justices.” That makes the chances of Perry reaching the Supreme Court even higher.
Assuming that happens, much will depend—as it often does—on the swing vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy. And when it comes to gay rights, Kennedy leans libertarian. In Lawrence v. Texas, for instance, Kennedy declared that “Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct.” Similarly, in his 1996 majority opinion in Romer v. Evans, Kennedy struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment forbidding state officials from taking any action designed to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. As he wrote, “the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.” Together, these decisions suggest Kennedy will once again join the Court’s liberal bloc.
2. Re: the Wingnut Freak-out over gay things at the Smithsonian, a writer named Mark Judge has a piece at Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller which is, somehow, worth reading. This is officially the first time I’ve read anything at that site that made any sense. It’s interesting because Judge is, like Bill Donohue, a conservative Catholic, but somehow his panties aren’t all in a wad about the gay stuff! Indeed, he appreciates the art for what it is, and, unlike Bill Donohue, Judge is intelligent enough to understand the controversial installation about AIDS:
“A Fire in My Belly” shows a crucifix being covered by ants. To me — a conservative Catholic and supporter of Bill Donahue and the Catholic League — it made perfect sense. Christ took on our sins, which meant enduring the terrible humiliation that can come with suffering. This doesn’t mean one needs to resort to blasphemy or scatology, as (yawn) avant-garde artists have done in the past; but it also means that showing Christ with sores, or bruises, or even bugs on him can be an expression of faith and solidarity. If David Wojnarowicz was identifying a friend’s suffering with the suffering of Christ, he was just doing what Christians are called to do. Of course, liberals love to identify their suffering with Christ while ignoring the Lord’s call to conversion, of rejecting sin and becoming a new man. And gay art can particularly suffer from watch-me-suffer kitsch and bombast — “Angels in America,” etc.
He’s wrong about Angels in America, and he’s wrong about the value of blasphemy [I would argue that blasphemy is an extremely appropriate subject matter for art], but it’s nice to see a conservative religious person who hasn’t completely checked his brain at the door. The writer actually loved much of the art in the Hide/Seek exhibit, and even talks about which piece of art in the exhibition was his favorite and why.
3. Finally, former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper has a message for troops who would complain about having to serve with people they know are gay: Deal with it.
Happily, the vast majority of service personnel will do what they’re told. Which will not be a hard sell given that most have already gone on record that they will not mourn the inevitable death of DADT.
Of course, if what bugs you as a pro-DADT warrior is the idea (or the reality) of being forced to get naked in a shower or jammed into a tight submarine or fox hole with someone who’s attracted to members of the same sex, the answer for you is simple: Deal with it. That brother or sister is a human being, you are a human being: Work it out. Straight cops across the country have been lathering up with openly gay colleagues for a long time now. Yet, incidents of locker room misconduct are so uncommon as not to register at all in internal affairs data.
Having spent three-and-a-half decades in a paramilitary institution, I can attest to the rarity of a policy, any policy, that is embraced by all. But I can also confirm that most police personnel adhere to even those policies they find onerous. Why? In part, because they’re made to understand the penalty for not following orders. There’s every reason to believe military personnel will likewise comply.
As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who served with many gays throughout his long and distinguished service, pointed out, military personnel who can’t or won’t accept the new policy will have to find another line of work. (Don’t look for a mass exodus.) The same is true for those considering military service in the future.
Yep. The whole piece is great, so read it.