I posted excerpts from an email exchange with Will Cain this evening. In the interest of preserving all relevant context, I’m publishing the exchange, in full, below:
Tommy Christopher: Just to clarify what you said on the show this morning, you personally support gay marriage, right?
Will Cain: I did say that, yes.
Tommy Christopher: And you said that opposition to marriage equality isn’t bigotry, in effect. If i heard you right, how do you figure? Its the subject of the column I’m doing.
No. I don’t think I said that. It’s hard to remember and I pause because I could have said that in a more thoughtful and complex conversation. But this was a quick TV conversation. Did John introduce bigotry?
Here is what I’d say: this morning I was first seeking accuracy, because I saw the language of multiple stories saying that Grenell was pressured out for being “openly gay.” I do not think this is what happened and reinforces the narrative that many want to perpetuate – that conservatism and Republicanism is hostile to gay people…period. I tried to point out that Grenell has been open and gay and Republican for some time.
Rather what the pressure was about, was that Grenell was a dedicated gay marriage advocate. (At least from reading Matthew Franck.) This criticism of Grenell makes no sense to me, nor to other conservatives. I would offer his internal debate on NR with Kevin Williamson as an example. I personally wish conservatives would embrace gay marriage. But even if they won’t, it seems stupid that someone’s dedication to that issue infects their other positions – kinda Franck’s argument. Anyway – I was trying to point out the Grenell issue is about gay marriage advocacy, not for being “openly gay.” Also – it’s possible the Grenell issue isn’t even about gay marriage advocacy. Can you imagine someone would resign bc of a few conservative bloggers? I wouldn’t be surprised it this had more to do with how he conducted himself on Twitter.
Back to your original question. I think it’s possible to be opposed to gay marriage without relying on bigotry or religious zealotry. I think there is a Burkean-traditionalist, cultural-mores-should-change-slowly argument. I also think there is an arbitrariness to the definition of marriage that isn’t resolved by simply encompassing same sex couples. In the end, I don’t personally find these arguments compelling – thus I support gay marriage. But I recognize they aren’t based in bigotry. (I don’t think I waded into these waters on TV today. Basically I was focused on the middle paragraph here.
Does this help?
Tommy Christopher: You’re right, I was paraphrasing. Here’s what you said: ” this is not about republicans or mitt romney’s campaign being unaccepting of gay people. that’s not what this is about. “
I guess I don’t understand how you can see “accepting gay people” as co-existing with opposition to marriage equality. To me, it’d be like, say, a Jim Crow-era politician being “accepting” of black people, as long as they weren’t opposed to segregation.
Can you be “accepting” of gay people and oppose gay marriage? I don’t know. Uncomfortably maybe. But by this standard virtually all politicians and political parties fail. Is the Dem party unaccepting of gay people?
In the end, I obviously think the gop is on the wrong side of this issue. But this morning I was striving for accuracy, not to save a party or a candidate. And I feel like the narrative is becoming Romney didn’t want (bc some bloggers didn’t want) to be “associated” with an openly gay dude. When we repeat “resigned for being openly gay” that’s what we’re saying.
That’s all I was pressing upon.
Tommy Christopher: No, I get that. I guess I feel like that’s two ways of saying the same thing. I thought what you said was interesting, in that I think a lot of conservatives compartmentalize being anti-gay away from being anti-marriage equality. I am really glad to hear you’re on the right side of this.