Homosexuals and Special Rights?

Gay demands shift from equality to special endorsement

By Michael Medved
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

In current debates over gay relationships and their position in society, we’ve moved beyond a plea for acceptance and equality to an increasingly strident claim of homosexual superiority and a demand for special status and endorsement.

In a recent syndicated column about Pastor Ted Haggard, the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals who confessed to a three year affair with a gay, drug-dealing prostitute, Ellen Goodman wrote of "people who heard a man wounded by the culture of demonization. Their sympathy was for a man primed for repression and deception by the teaching of homosexuality as a sin… More gays, more friends, families, co-workers have come to believe that gayness is not a choice, let alone a sin."

In other words, some tender-hearted Americans feel ready to forgive, even to embrace, a religious leader who routinely paid a sex-for-hire hustler to cheat in a Denver hotel room on his wife and five kids while getting high on illegal and dangerous methamphetamines. Try to imagine that Haggard had engaged in his extra-marital adventures with a female hooker, rather than a middle-aged call boy. Would anyone have come forward to express "sympathy" for the man or to view him as a sad victim of "repression"?

By the same token, former New Jersey  Democrat governor James McGreevy recently wrote a best-selling book called "Confession," describing his risky and degrading encounters in men’s rooms and back alleys. He even spoke of inviting his male lover (placed on the state payroll despite a total absence of qualifications) into his marital bed in the governor’s mansion while his wife struggled in the hospital with a troubled pregnancy. Oprah Winfrey (and others) now hail McGreevy for his "courage" in speaking so openly and proudly of his newly-discovered status as a "gay American." Would any public figure receive similarly indulgent treatment after confessing serial infidelity with a member of the opposite sex?

Finally, the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, made headlines as the first openly gay clergyman to reach such a leadership position in his denomination. The media paid little attention, however, to the fact that Bishop Robinson (who is currently undergoing rehab treatment for alcoholism) had initially embraced his gay identity when he left his wife and three children for a relationship with another man. Would the Episcopal Church or any other significant religious body so readily grant a position of spiritual leadership to a priest who had abandoned his family for an extra-marital affair with a partner of the opposite sex?

In high profile cases, in other words, we seem far more willing to forgive and forget faithless behavior if that infidelity involves a homosexual connection. This amounts to the granting of a special dispensation, a privileged position, to same-sex attraction-giving more latitude to gay relationships than we’d ever grant to straight romances. The justification for this attitude involves the notion that gay men who leave or destroy their families for the sake of homosexual affairs are simply discovering, at long last, their true identities after years of repression- coming to terms with "who they really are."

But what about those aging heterosexuals who may also suddenly discover– at age sixty, say-that they’ve been repressing their true identities? Couldn’t they also argue that it seemed suddenly inauthentic to remain trapped with a sagging partner of similar age, when a powerful, undeniable inner voice and the evolutionary imperative demanded they connect with nubile twenty-somethings eager for experienced and wealthy companionship?

In fact, every study of human sexuality would suggest that far more men feel tempted to heed their deep-seated, undeniable authentic desires to cheat with other (particularly younger) women than feel drawn into relationships with other men. Does this greater incidence of heterosexual temptation make it more – or less– "natural" and worthy of respect than homosexual impulses? The tendency to forgive, or even endorse, same-sex attractions while condemning the vastly more common opposite gender desires, amounts to the granting of a preferential position to homosexuality.