Nearly everyone is, so far as I can tell, somewhat obsessed with sex. This is a terrible thing, because as a result they are less interested than they ought to be in my fascinating theories about International Monetary Fund policies.
And if I dared to spend even a few paragraphs looking at the highly relevant problems of agriculture in the Baltic states since the end of the Soviet era, you, dear reader, would turn to the personals immediately. I have no illusions. However, this is also sort of normal; sex is the one thing pretty much all humans have in common.
But that doesn’t mean that they all have — or should have — the same tastes. Last week, in an incredibly important decision that advanced the cause of civilization, the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to live their private lives the way they wish to.
In the most moving decision since Brown vs. Board of Education, the court found that “adults may choose to enter upon (a gay) relationship in the privacy of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons...
“The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,” Justice Anthony Kennedy added, expressing the views of a 6-3 majority on the court. Kennedy, it must be noted, is not any kind of liberal, but one of the five conservatives who hijacked the presidential election in December 2000.
Yet even the Supreme Court must, sooner or later, recognize reality, and except for the malevolently right-wing William Rehnquist, the hater Antonin Scalia, and their pet dog Clarence Thomas, the justices unanimously have done that. Haters like Gary Glenn of the “American Family Association” will howl, and may send money to Pat Buchanan, but this decision is bound to be as final as Brown vs. Board.
Which is as it should be. What consenting adults do with each other in private is none of our business, much less government’s. Incidentally, my inclinations and experiences are none of your business either, but since I am pontificating on the subject, let me say that they are and have been exclusively heterosexual and pretty conventional.
That doesn’t, by the way, make me a better person. For years, I have regarded sexual preferences the same way I regard hard-boiled eggs. The thought of the taste and the texture of a hard-boiled egg in my mouth is the most repulsive thing I can imagine. Yet some of my best friends — people I love — actually relish hard-boiled eggs. That doesn’t make them, or me, right or wrong. That means we have different tastes.
What mystifies me is why anyone thinks they, or the government, should have any right to tell any consenting adults how they should eat their eggs, or how they ought to live their private lives. What’s even stranger is that some so-called conservatives who get indignant because the government infringes their freedoms by, say, making them pay workers a minimum wage, think these same feds should become the sex police.
Nobody is going to become gay because the Supreme Court now says they have a right not to be persecuted. Science now believes sexual orientation is generally something we are born with. In any event, living the straight life will still be easier, socially and otherwise. Predictably, idiots like Jerry Falwell are hollering that this decision may lead to the legalization of bestiality, child molestation and probably eating macadamia nuts in public, but I get the impression that even they don’t really believe it.
Now it is true that most religious traditions disapprove of homosexuality. But it is equally and more importantly true that the fundamental principles on which this nation was founded include a strict separation of church and state. Every one of us, according to some major religion out there, is already going to hell for some reason. Might as well be for supporting freedom of choice.
Incidentally, Tony Scalia, who seemed apoplectic with indignation, said the ruling made same-sex marriage a logical next step. For once, I agree with him. Establishing a legal civil union, or at least some sort of recognized contractual arrangement covering any two people who seek to bind themselves together would be a sensible, safely conservative thing to do.
It may sound corny, but it is especially nice that the high court continued the American tradition of expanding and protecting rights and freedoms just before what, for millions of us, must be a supremely happier Fourth of July.
Affirmative action: The court’s ruling on gay rights followed another decision, almost as happily startling, that reaffirmed a 1978 case allowing affirmative action as a factor in deciding who gets admitted to public colleges and universities. The court’s ruling has now been thoroughly chewed over, but one item bears mentioning. While happy that the Supremes did not, as feared, end affirmative action, some liberals were unhappy with the court’s decision to throw out the University of Michigan’s “point system” for undergraduate admissions. They shouldn’t be. Seldom explained correctly by the media, the system was capricious, illogical and indefensible.
Did you know it provided for any candidate to get a deal-sealing 20 points at the “provost’s discretion?” Basically, it allowed an arrogant bureaucracy to accept or reject whomever they wanted, without any accountability. U-M deserves better.
Not surprisingly, the court’s odd trio, Winkin, Blinkin and Clarence Thomas, voted against affirmative action. Incidentally, during oral arguments, Scalia sneered that if U-M wanted more minorities, they should just lower their standards. Suppose someone could get Clarence’s wife to explain to him just what that meant?Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org