The headline speech is from Nick Herbert, an openly gay, civilly partnered MP from the UK. I love the part of his speech where he shows his ring :-)
The following debate is between Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher. Andrew speaks passionately about his libertarian, non-Republican convictions and quite emotionally about his own marriage to his husband. (For the non-Catholics out there, yesterday was ash Wednesday. Sullivan is a practicing Catholic, which explains the ashes on his forehead.) Maggie Gallagher... well, I'll let her speak for herself.
Some of my own thoughts:
- I disagree with Herbert's statement that heterosexual couples as parents are superior to gay couples. In fact, many studies have investigated this area and have found that on virtually every metric studied, children of gay parents fare as well or better than children of heterosexual parents.
- Gallagher stated "if gay rights are understood as liberty interests and rights they are extremely compatible with American conservatism. But equality rights and arguments lead to the expansion of government power to repress, stigmatize, and marginalize those who advocate for and institutionalize around ideas that are contrary to basic democratic norms of equality." I think there is a nuance here that I don't quite understand, and I hope someone can explain it to me. I'm trying to substitute any other equality issue (e.g. race, gender, national origin) into her second sentence and make it make sense, but I can't.
- Gallagher lamented her perspective that the view that heterosexual marriage is superior to gay marriage is considered bigotry or a modern equivalent of racism. I don't think this is actually the case (yet) in the majority of the country, but I do think this public attitude is on it's way. And I actually think such a public attitude is acceptable--in the public sector. By the same token, I will happily fight alongside Gallagher (just as the ACLU would and indeed now does) for her to teach such things to her children in her home or teach other like-minded people in her personal club or faith community.
- Herbert bombed responding to a statement from the audience that implied hate crimes legislation was contrary to conservative values because they "give a different penalty for the same crime if it aimed at a gay person or a straight person." The correct response to this question is to identify that the claim is based on popular misconceptions of hate crimes law. Most people have not read the actual law, which makes it clear that American hate crimes legislation assign equivalent punishment intensifiers to crimes committed against straight people and gay people, provided the motivation for the crime is shown to be based on the victim's orientation--regardless of whether victim's orientation is gay or straight. So a gay criminal can be charged with a hate crime against a straight victim provided a jury is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the crime was motivated by the criminal's opposition to the victim's heterosexual orientation.