Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Lincoln navigator

Andrew Sullivan writes: "If America's greatest president was gay, it must play a part in the current discussion of gay equality in America."

If America's greatest president was gay, then said president would have to have been one of the more recent ones (i.e. not Lincoln) since "gay" wasn't around in Lincoln's time (Thanks to Nick for this info., btw.). Moreover, as I've noted before, even if Lincoln was, to use timeless terms, into guys, that still doesn't have any particular implications for gay equality in America today. Lincoln may have liked men, but he was not an activist for other likeminded men, and as far as I know was never interested in marrying any of the men with whom he was close. Last month I also wrote that "contemporary Republican opponents of gay marriage and gay rights would, if they agreed that Lincoln was attracted to men, call this attraction a flaw, a weakness possessed by an otherwise remarkably strong man. I can't imagine an effect of, 'If Lincoln was gay, then gays are great,' resulting from the revelation." I stand by this. Lincoln's role in shaping this nation's history may well have steered us on the right path in terms of equality in general, but his possible sexual attraction to men is neither here nor there, and I'm saying this not as a Weekly Standard, anti-gay-marriage type (the group Sullivan accuses of trying to hide the truth about Lincoln) but as someone who strongly supports gay marriage and equal rights for gays in all other institutions as well.

No comments: