Thursday, November 11, 2004

Is Ken Mehlman Gay? Should We Care?

In an entry at AMERICAblog about the possibility of Ken Mehlman becoming Chairman of the Republican National Committee, John Aravosis states he thinks the public has the right to know Mehlman's sexual orientation, listing six pretty dubious reasons. He continues,
"Now, I have no idea whether Ken Mehlman is gay, bi or straight. But therein lies the problem. In the face of longtime rumors, this 37 year old single man has, oddly, refused to answer questions about his sexual orientation. I can't recall many, if any, straight men who refuse to acknowledge that they're straight - if anything, most are a bit too obvious about it - and that ultimately leads to speculation, caused by Mehlman's own failure to respond to a direct question posed by a reporter."

I don't know if Mehlman is gay, bi, straight, or asexual, and frankly I don't care. Whatever his feelings about the privacy others are entitled to, I believe he is entitled to keep his own preferences to himself. What he is and who he has sex with is nobody's business but his and whoever he is doing it with. It doesn't concern me, it doesn't concern you, and it shouldn't concern Aravosis.

One of the arguments Aravosis makes to justify his demands that Mehlman reveal his sexuality is that "Mehlman has already said publicly that the gay issue is fair game for politics. If it's fair game, then the same rules apply to him." It doesn't work that way, though.

With Albert Gonzales having been named Bush's nominee to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General, there has been much discussion the last couple of days about Gonzales' role in the memo justifying the use of torture. One of the arguments I've seen excusing Gonzales and the Administration is that our enemies, the terrorists, do not abide by the restraints of the Geneva Conventions, so we shouldn't have to either. What that argument ignores is that some things are intrinsically wrong, torture among them. It doesn't make it right to torture people, to treat your enemies inhumanely just because that's how they do business. With our Declaration of Independence, we acceded to "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind." A concern that we would be viewed as just by the community of man and by posterity has guided our nation's nobler endeavors. At our best, we have done things because it was right to do them. We have declined to do other things because to do so would have been wrong.

The same principal applies here. People are entitled to sexual privacy. It's their right. It doesn't matter whether that appears in the Constitution or not. It's part of the fundamental right people have to be left alone. They don't forfeit that entitlement, that right, because they wish to deny it to others. It is an appeal to our baser nature to strip that privacy from people we disagree with because it is politically convenient to do so.

If we disagree with Mehlman's politics, then let's battle his politics. To focus on whether he likes men or women distracts us from the real issues and deprives us of the luxury of being morally right. We can't depoliticize sexual preference by making a political issue out of it.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by