Difficult-to-like “paleoconservative” homosexualist Jack Donovan (ancien nom de plume Malebranche; q.v.) argues, at the latest ill-coded, fly-by-night Drudge-wannabe site, that gay marriage should be illegal but gays in the military shouldn’t be. (These are American terms, of course. There actually isn’t any such thing as “gay marriage”; there’s only marriage. Gays are already in the military; he means out gays.)

My question is: Why do right-wing assholes insist on handing you an even bigger ball of entwined elastic bands than their left-wing equivalents? You’re supposed to take the whole ball without unravelling it. You are handed a package deal of issues, many of which have nothing to do with each other. Examples from Donovan’s piece:

  • Promiscuity
  • Sadomasochism
  • Transvestism, transsexuality and “flamboyant effeminacy”
  • Marxism
  • Opposition to the military, patriarchy, the nuclear family, Christians, the West
  • (Aspirational) veganism
  • Queer theory
  • The combination of pink hair and punk rock
  • Feminist stepchildren
  • Moderate Muslims
  • Multiculturalism
  • Heteronormativity
  • “European styles of government” (like democracy and proportional representation?)

I’m tired already. I thought we were here to talk about marriage and military service?

  • Donovan’s contention is that society (“There is no such thing as society”?) cannot afford to allow gay marriage. Babies wouldn’t be born and the society would die out.

    This is one of those times when one wishes commentators would do their research beforehand. It also helps to be numerate.

    • Homosexualists are a tiny minority of any country’s population, perhaps 3%. Only a minority of those choose to get married. Even if all those “gay-married” couples remained childless, they would exert negligible statistical effect over a country’s overall birthrate.
    • Some gay men, lesbians, and gay-male and lesbian couples already have children, with or without the benefit of marriage. (It has been argued that allowing marriage provides added stability and credibility for married couples’ children, but I haven’t seen any data on that.)
    • Some unmarried heterosexualists already have children, either alone or in couples.
    • Some married heterosexualists never will procreate, by accident, by design, or by nature (due to infertility).

    Donovan’s policy, if honestly articulated, would not simply ban gay marriage. It would permit only heterosexual marriage and only with three or more children, to address the replacement rate Donovan also throws into the discussion. Perhaps unmarried parenthood would be banned in all its forms. Or it would be permitted – but you could never get married, and any benefits resembling those of marriage would be rescinded. (Or you might still get those benefits: “[A]lternative relationships need not be openly scorned, and they may deserve some sort of reasonable accommodation.”)

    If Donovan is serious about promoting “big, patriarchal families,” he’ll have to repeal various equal-rights laws and certain parts of the U.S. Constitution so that mothers become legally subordinate.

    That’s quite a kettle of fish to open up, isn’t it? Especially for “aspirationally vegan” gays who don’t even eat fish.

  • Next, Donovan goes on at some length about how allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces would at least provide a socially sanctioned outlet for masculine gay males. He does manage to mention lesbians, but they aren’t really his focus here or anywhere else in his life. This, at least, is a defensible posture; gay men do not have the same interests as lesbians in any sense of the term, though at a legal or constitutional level the overlap is considerable. But even with the lesbians, he likes ’em manly.

    I have two objections here. One, all the accounts of gay males in the U.S. military I’ve read make it quite clear there are a lot of flamers in their midst. (Read Steven Zeeland’s books, for example. Then there’s the drag-queen commanding officer of an old friend of mine.) They aren’t fooling anybody, and usually they aren’t really trying.

    If you’re already in the military, all you need do is watch a single episode of Project Runway to become armed with enough detective skills to spot the fundamentally similar men serving alongside you.

    Performing well in the armed forces does not require masculinity at all times, though as the experience of heterosexualist women reveals, it does seem to be the expectation. (As a cultural indicator, Doonesbury has featured a lot of strips about the trials and tribulations of “wrench wenches” lately.)

    Next, despite Donovan’s rejection of the way right-wing politicians insist on yoking the gay-marriage and gays-in-the-military issues together, they actually may be inseparable – just not in the United States. Any reasonably qualified economist could survey data in countries that allow and disallow both rights in different combinations.

    As examples: Canada merely has marriage, not gay marriage or straight marriage, and merely has military service, not gay or straight service. The U.K. has civil partnerships for gays, not marriage, but allows gays and lesbians in the military. Israel has nothing resembling gay marriage but permits gay service in the military. The trick would be finding a country that allows gay marriage but bans gays in the military; you might want to look at Portugal or most of Venezuela.

    In essence, I argue that the relationship between Donovan’s two issues is economically testable. His claim that they are unrelated could be proved or disproved by available evidence. His other concerns, or the other issues mixed in with his manly gay stew, may be beside the point.

So: Jack Donovan remains as hard to like as ever. He suffers from the Log Cabin Republicans Paradox: If you’re a right-wing homosexual, both the homosexuals and the right-wingers already hate you before you even open your mouth. Probably afterward, too.

And how does manly, blue-collar Jack Donovan handle people he thinks are his enemies, even if they aren’t? He calls them names. Yes, actually, that is a habit I tend to associate with “paleoconservatives.”

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.03.21 13:53. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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