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Proposition 2 in Texas: Reluctant Comments

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Here’s the question I have for those who voted for Proposition 2 in the
recent election here in Texas: How many gay people have you been friends with?
Any family members? Have you ever spent appreciable time with anyone who is
gay? Enough time to understand them in a thorough way? My guess is that answers
in the positive to this question number in the low single digits.

Gay marriage affects very few people, but its emotional appeal is the heart
of the conservative republican strategy to get out the vote. The real agenda,
of course, are the economic policies that get passed quietly while all the noise
is being made about the issues that make us uncomfortable. (Thomas Frank has
done an excellent job of outlining this strategy in What’s
the Matter with Kansas

When I left Texas for graduate school in 1989 I had little experience with
anyone who was openly homosexual. Though I liked to think of myself tolerant
and liberal, I had no direct experience.

The first thing that happened to me upon arriving in Southern California was
to end up living with a gay man in a rent house in Claremont. I was literally
walking the streets looking for a place to live and this guy put me up in a
room in his house. For nine months I took part in parties, dinners, and general
lounging about. Whatever was different from straight culture was learned and
became a matter of course. There was never any issue about me being straight
and him being gay.