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    May 13, 2007

    Sunday Survey: Abortion a gay right?

    Posted by: Chris

    Not a lot of disagreement among visitors to this blog about Jim McGreevey, the governor of New Jersey who announced his "truth" that he is "a gay American" and then resigned because he was cheating on his second wife with a member of his staff.  In response to last week's Sunday Survey, more than three quarters of you (82.4%) said he was an embarrassment to the rest of us, while the remainder (17.6%) were proud to call him a fellow traveler.

    McgreeveywifeI count myself among the majority of you.  I am happy to see a governor come out of the closet, but the messy circumstances more than made up for whatever social advance we could claim.  I would place McGreevey in the same category as any number of other celebrities, including Mark Foley and George Michael, who only come out after years of hiding when the news that they're gay is intended to help deflect even worse publicity they face for their personal misconduct.

    I am sympathetic to how the closet might have led these men to their ignominy, although in George Michael's case his conduct hasn't changed since he was free of the closet.  (In fact, he's claimed "cottaging" — as public sex in the bushes is known among Brits — as some sort of gay right.)  And the closets of McGreevey and Foley have too long a body count, in misled wives and manipulated teens, to simply forgive and forget.

    You need look no further than McGreevey's latest round of divorce filings to see his claim to being a "changed man" is as big a sham as his years of pretending to be heterosexual.

    On to this week.  I was happy to run columns by freelance writer Jamie Kirchick during my tenure at the Washington Blade and its sister publications.  He is a thoughtful conservative with often provocative opinions.  He has kept it up since my departure, penning a column in last week's New York Blade that argues against gay rights groups treating abortion rights as if it were a gay rights issue.

    It might surprise you to learn that I wrote an editorial years ago making the exact opposite argument.  I'll post my thoughts soon, but in the meantime, what do you think?  Is abortion a gay rights issue?  Vote on the Vizu poll to the right, and as always, you won't be transported off the site or have to deal with any pop-up ads.



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    1. Rob Power on May 14, 2007 2:34:21 PM:

      Harry Browne was right. If the government started a "war on abortion" and it was as successful as the government's "war on drugs," then in a matter of months, men would be having abortions.

      Abortion is murder. But it's a unique kind of murder that can be totally undetectable to law enforcement, thanks to technology like the RU-486 abortion pill.

      Short of an Orwellian solution like implanting a monitoring device inside every woman of child-bearing age, laws against abortion are as futile as laws against drug use. At that point, libertarians realize that government can't protect life without utterly destroying liberty (same as with handgun bans), so we take government out of the equation and simply rely on basic human goodness to minimize damage. It's not perfect, but it's better than the status quo and better than any alternative I've ever heard.

    1. Joseph Kowalski on May 14, 2007 8:01:58 PM:

      As a man, I feel abortion is wrong and can't think of any circumstance which would make me want to have an abortion if I was a woman.

      But the key thing here is I'm not a woman and I'm not ever going to face this decision.

      While I believe abortion is wrong, I also believe each woman's decision to have an abortion is between that individual woman, her doctor and her God.

      Banning clean, legal abortions won't lesson the number of abortions. It will only increase the number of women who will die attempting to have an abortion by any means they can find.

      Laws banning abortions are also unfair to low income women. Wealthy women will still have access to sterile and legal abortions in other countries.

      As for abortion being a gay issue, no, I don't believe it's a gay issue in the strictest sense. One can be pro-gay and anti-choice.

    1. The Scientist's View on May 16, 2007 8:55:09 AM:

      I think that abortion rights relate to gay rights the same way that immigration law relates to gay rights.

      Some people who are gay happen to be directly affected by abortion or immigration law - but it is by no means the majority of us gay folk. I think that gay rights organizations should support those political positions (pro-choice and pro-immigrant) from the point of these issues as human rights issues.

      I think the real legacy of abortion in relation to gay rights will be the way that gay marriage is proceeding down a similar track as abortion did.

      The legislative branch is not solving the problem and leaving it to the states and the Federal courts to resolve. At some point, the Federal courts will have to deal with the Equal Protection Clause and gay marriage will become another issue tainted by judicial fiat for eternity.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on May 16, 2007 12:31:15 PM:

      Abortion is not a gay-rights issue.

      Those who try to make it so are merely attempting to co-opt gay issues as a smokescreen for their own.

    1. torrentprime on May 16, 2007 5:18:30 PM:

      To expand a bit on ND30:
      Abortion is *definitely* not a gay rights issue. The right for humans to follow their natural inclination to choose their sexual and romantic partners from the same sex instead of the opposite sex, and to demand that their government and society neither repress nor discriminate against them for that orientation, has absolutely nothing to do with deciding when it is and isn't legal, moral, or right to terminate a human fetus. Lumping the two together under the rubric of privacy is a mistake, and further weakens the gay rights movement by excluding those who are dedicated gay rights *and* pro-life advocates.
      It's also a sign of deeper kneejerk alliances between gay rights orgs and the Democratic party, which although not bad in and of itself (by any means!), again drives away those who champion gay rights yet are conservative in fiscal, foreign policy, trade, etc. areas.

    1. Jeremiah on May 16, 2007 5:41:23 PM:

      Abortion rights will eventually collide with gay rights when the day arrives when we can (claim to) determine the sexual orientation of a fetus. For some will be tempted to abort a fetus if it can be determined that its sexual orientation is gay or lesbian. (Just as, hypothetically, some will be tempted to abort if it can be determined that it is straight.)

      In 2005, during a soft-spoken line of questioning to then-Supreme Court nominee Justice John Roberts, Sen. Sam Brownback of the Senate Judiciary Cttee asked whether Roberts believed that the Americans with Disabilities Act had merit. Roberts said that he believed so. Without pressing him to answer then and there, Brownback then said it was his hope that Roberts would regard a fetus diagnosed with a disability as entitled to protection under the ADA.

      Imagine a liberal senator asking a similar question regarding a gay or lesbian fetus. Anyone who consents to "choice" as a basis for legal abortions -- from die-hard activists to "hands off" types like JosephKowalski (above) -- would have to consent that a woman who does not want a gay or lesbian child has a right to abort a gay or lesbian fetus.


    1. Jeremiah on May 16, 2007 5:45:09 PM:

      (Not that a gay or lesbian fetus would be protected under the ADA. Some other statute or principle would be invoked, of course.)

    1. aspasia on Jun 5, 2007 7:46:57 PM:

      It is an odd coupling of political agendas to say the least.

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