The Conservative Future of the LGBT Movement

Libertarian think tank the Cato Institute hosts symposium

The Conservative Future of the LGBT Movement

If you support the agenda of the LGBT movement as it exists today, if you consider yourself to be in favor of same-sex marriage and gays in the military, you need to watch this video, because it is the future of your movement.

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, hosted a symposium last week called, “Is There a Place for Gay People in Conservatism and Conservative Politics?” Speaking were Nick Herbert, an openly gay conservative British M.P., Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage, and conservative gay blogger, Andrew Sullivan. In a sense, I feel utterly defeated admitting this – because I am not conservative, and because I consider my queerness to be the essential reason why – but I think that the alignment of the struggle for the rights of sexual minorities with other peace and social justice movements (anti-military, labor, the poor, prisoners, homeless, women) – an alignment that has existed at least since the late Sixties and the Stonewall era – is coming to an end.

The American LGBT movement has thrown itself wholesale behind the argument Sullivan makes in his book, Virtually Normal (which is basically that homosexuals want to be and will be normal if they are allowed honest access to civilizing institutions such as marriage and the church and the military, that they are only derelicts because they are excluded from the kind of whole lives that can come from participation in such institutions). It’s not hard to see how this happened; it’s a moving, persuasive argument which offers to salve the wounds most of us have from being shut out of our birth families and shamed and discriminated against in so many ways all our lives. It's a powerfully logical argument. I will even say that it is an argument I respect. But Sullivan's world of respectable homosexuals is not a world I want to help create. (I don't mean to single out Sullivan; there are lots of other gay conservatives who have become prominent spokespeople for LGBT rights in the last few years. Dan Savage for instance.)

I’ve blogged many times before about my mixed feelings regarding Andrew Sullivan. This Cato Institute talk and Q&A is quintessential Sullivan. Those who love him will find him eloquent and moving, and those who hate him will probably find him to be a sanctimonious boor. I think he’s both. And I think he’s a gifted writer, thinker, and debater whose political convictions come from rigorous thought and deep compassion.

The video is long, so get a snack and a cup of coffee and resist the urge to fast-forward through it. The details are important. And how often do you get to see Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher face off in person?

Even though the conservative turn which the LGBT movement has taken irritates me to my very core, the American history nerd in me loves watching it happen because I think it is a kind of genuine political realignment that happens only every few generations. This is the future of homosexuality in America; get used to it.

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