Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Politicizing Gays and Gay Marriage

I hear all of the time from conservative and right wing groups that this whole gay marriage issue isn't something they are creating or politicizing just to stir up their base. They say this is a really important issue for them. Some will go as far to say the future of our society depends on preserving marriage (and thus outlawing gay marriage and any type of gay coupling at all). This article really made me doubt this claim more than ever.

This is a story I had heard about a few weeks (months?) ago, so forgive my tardiness in writing about it. However, I was thinking about it more today, and it really got me irritated. The article describes a political ad run by the conservative group USA Next against the big evil liberal group, The AARP. Yeah, I was as shocked as you are to learn that the AARP was a bastion of liberalism. The ad has a picture of an American troop with a big "X" through it set next to a gay couple kissing after their wedding. The implication here, obviously, is that the AARP is anti-US troops and pro-gay marriage.

The article I linked to mentions that the AARP has no official stance on gay marriage, for or against. A few local branches had lobbied against a "Marriage Ammendment" because it outlawed any legal recognition of any relationship that might mirror any benefits of marriage. That is a lot of "any's," but it is necessary. The ban would arguably outlaw an older, non-married couple from having power of attorney over each other, hospital visitations, etc. So of course, the AARP thought the ban was too broad.

So, one local chapter was against one specific, overly broad ammendment. But, the USA Next group put out a national campaign against the national AARP group making it look like the AARP was spending money on pro-gay marriage initiatives and against the troops. Neither, of course, is true. The real reason for this ad was to create the impression of this idea. The group was more interested in getting money, votes and support. The AARP had nothing to do with gay marriage, but the group new gay marriage was a hot-button issue that would rally their conservative base, so they went with it.

I guess the truth isn't what matters here. What really matter is winning elections, even if it means ostracizing gays. Par for the course in their minds. This is really sickening to me, and it is why partisan politics really angers me, yet again.

On a side note on the ad, just to show more dishonesty from the group, the gay couple sued the company for illegal use of the picture. They never gave their permission to have their picture used for such an ad, of course. USA Next initially claimed that they had purchased the picture (knowing that legally they needed to do this to use it, I am sure), but later admitted they had not. A judge in the case already inacted a restraining order to halt the use of the photo until he hears the particulars. This is not a good news for the USA Next folks. I bet they lose big on this one. Shouldn't other conservatives hold this group to the "moral standards" they claim are so important to them? I hope the AARP sues too for misrepresentation (yeah, I know, nearly impossible to win, but some retailliation should be in the works).


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