Friday, October 30, 2009

Washington Post hammers VA GOP attorney general candidate on anti-gay "natural law" stance

The Washington Post has an important editorial Friday Oct. 30 about the GOP candidate (Kenneth Cuccinelli) for Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Virginia, “Mr. Cuccinelli’s Bigotry: as attorney general, he would be an embarrassment for Virginia”, link here.

The editorial quotes Cuccinelli’s past comments to the effect (I speak here in the subjunctive mood, as does the editorial) that “homosexual acts are intrinsically wrong … because they don’t comport with ‘natural law’.” He thinks that America is a “natural law-based country”.

This sounds a bit like Vatican theology, that sexuality must always be willing to risk the responsibilities that come with procreation – hence it is owned by traditional marriage.

I do look back upon my own upbringing in the 50s, and remember a component of our thinking then. Life was a gift to you, and you owe your loyalty to your family and your community before you decide on your own course in life and speak up for yourself. Among other things, that meant you helped take care of the family your parents created and you didn’t claim full adulthood until you were able and ready to continue the family by forming one of your own. Speech and rebellion were seen as denial that you had any obligations to others, and homosexuality (especially in men) was seen as a "rejection" of your own family and the social structure that your family provided for others besides you in your family of origin. Society had regarded the family as an essential social "grabularity" and had not yet supported the idea that everyone go out and prove himself away from home. But, ironically, wartime needs (migrating into the Cold War) had made the individual intellect and special talent more valuable in its own right. Starting in the 1960s (even before Stonewall) we started to see the individual as sovereign, and look at harmlessness, rather than familial and community obligation, as a basic moral principle. This would develop into a libertarian political outlook that would become increasingly visible in the 1980s and beyond. (Reagan, ironically, was part of the libertarian trend, even though many LGBT activists don’t see that.)

Cuccinelli, however, brings back the idea of the 50s with his encapsulating phrase “natural law”. The Post did well to remind us of the dangers of our past.

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