Saturday, September 06, 2003

True Conservatism

I have always thought there was a difference between intellectual conservatives and the Religious Right zealots who lay claim to the conservative title. I think some of that was evidenced years ago when conservative icon Barry Goldwater remarked that you needn't be straight in order to shoot straight, as he indicated his support for homosexuals in the military. Again, a real conservative has made that distinction once again clear as Alan Simpson (former WY Senator) penned a thoughtful editorial in opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

As our country has gained honest and steady knowledge about homosexuality, we have learned that it is not a mental illness or a disease or a threat to our families. The real threats to family values are divorce, out-of-wedlock births and infidelity. We all know someone who is gay, and like all of us, gay men and women need to have their relationships recognized in some way. How are gay men and women to be expected to build stable, loving relationships as all of us try to do, when American society refuses to recognize the relationships?

Not long ago the daughter of an old family friend of mine came home for a Thanksgiving dinner with her lesbian partner -- and my friend is one of those "old cowboy" dads, too! He and his wife gently took their daughter's hand, and her partner's hand, and said grace together just as millions of American families do every year.

To reach the best understanding, the debate over gay men and women in America should focus not on what drives us apart but on how to make all of our children -- straight or gay -- feel welcome in this land, their own American home.

(full piece)


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