by Max Brantley
Perhaps you've read about Minnnesota Sen. Amy Koch, the Republican majority leader, who recently gave up her leadership position because of an "inappropriate relationship" with a Senate staff member.
John Medeiros, who curates an LGBT reading series in Minneapolis, wrote an open letter to Koch, saying he is sorry gays and lesbians have destroyed the institution of marriage and contributing to her inevitable relationship with a subordinate staffer.
“These recent events have made it quite clear that our gay and lesbian tacts have gone too far, affecting even the most respectful of our society,” Medeiros wrote in the letter. He continues:
"We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry. And we are doubly remorseful in knowing that many will see this as a form of sexual harassment of a subordinate.
"It is now clear to us that if we were not so self-focused and myopic, we would have been able to see that the time you wasted diligently writing legislation that would forever seal the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, could have been more usefully spent reshaping the legal definition of “adultery.”
On a far more sober note, I'd encourage you to read a NY Time op-ed on why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call for support for gay rights around the world isn't an empty cultural flourish or even about gay marriage — it's about life and death in some African countries where, shamefully, nominal U.S. "Christians" have exported homophobia. Legislation still pends for the death penalty for homosexual acts in Uganda and other countries also discriminate in terrible ways.
The way I see it, homophobia — not homosexuality — is the toxic import. Thanks to the absurd ideas peddled by American fundamentalists, we are constantly forced to respond to the myth — debunked long ago by scientists — that homosexuality leads to pedophilia. For years, the Christian right in America has exported its doctrine to Africa, and, along with it, homophobia. In Uganda, American evangelical Christians even held workshops and met with key officials to preach their message of hate shortly before a bill to impose the death penalty for homosexual conduct was introduced in Uganda’s Parliament in 2009. Two years later, despite my denunciation of all forms of child exploitation, David Bahati, the legislator who introduced the bill, as well as Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem and other top government officials, still don’t seem to grasp that being gay doesn’t equate to being a pedophile.
In May, following criticism from the West and President Yoweri Museveni, the bill was shelved. But the current parliament has revived it and could send it to the floor for a vote at any time. Meanwhile, the bill’s influence has been felt in Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon, all of which have recently stepped up enforcement of anti-gay laws or moved to pass new legislation that would criminalize love between people of the same sex.