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May 08, 2003

The Loneliest Group In America

I think you'd have to look long and hard to find another group so willing to alienate itself from its naturally consonant ideological partners than the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians. The reasons for this are fairly obvious, I think. Most anti-abortion types are religious conservatives, many of whom, as Rick Santorum so delightfully illuminated recently, consider homosexuals in the same class as sheep-fondlers.

On the other hand, gays and lesbians are classically pro-choice, part of that whole "we gays are pretty liberal" package that comes almost naturally in a society which seems works on the polite assumption that anyone who deviates from the missionary position is unregenerate straight-ticket Democrat. Also, of course, for many gays and lesbians, anyone who finds common cause with religious conservatives on any subject is likely to be treated with deep and abiding suspicion.

For these reasons, I suspect PLAGAL members find themselves in the position of being the proverbial turd in the punchbowl no matter where they choose to hang out. Perversely, however, I find that I have to respect the PLAGAL folks, just a little bit. It takes guts to to intentionally be the most unpopular people in the room, regardless of the room. And these guys and gals are it. So shine on, you crazy diamonds! And, I suppose, at least they have each other.

Interestingly, I can't seem to find any pro-choice, anti-gay groups. Odd.

Posted by john at May 8, 2003 10:55 AM

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Comments

Daniel H. Alvarez | May 8, 2003 11:36 AM

Isn't "I'm a Pro-Life Homosexual" an oxymoron? Considering all of the fighting that gays/lesbians/bisexuals have had to do to gain any sort of acceptance in this society, isn't it a bit odd that a faction of them are now going around saying it is wrong for someone else to determine what they're going to do with their own bodies?
Of course, I thought gay Republicans were odd as well (they do exist, believe it or not).

Micha Ghertner | May 8, 2003 11:55 AM

Being pro-life and homosexual aren't mutually exclusive, and as Scalzi said, its fairly brave of them to stand up for what they believe even though it won't win them any friends on either side.

The problem with your argument, as with any simple pro-life or pro-choice argument, is that it doesn't take into account the underlying assumptions of the other side. The pro-life side doesn't consider it wrong to tell women what to do with their bodies because they consider abortion "murder", not a legitimate choice.

I don't agree with this argument, but at least I can see where they are coming from. What I can't undestand for the life of me, however, is how anyone could logically justify a moral rule against homosexuality. On what possible premises could one base this position?

mark | May 8, 2003 12:00 PM

It's dirty, unclean, and contravenes Leviticus. But then, as the Simpsons brilliantly explains, so does going to the toilet.

Fuck religious conservatives. It's got nothing to do with logic, rationality, or having a good reason to support your beliefs.

Lynn | May 8, 2003 12:52 PM

Keep in mind that what these gays and lesbians may be thinking about is a time when some people can "select" for homosexuality as they do for gender now. (Sure, that's not what amniocentesis and chorionic vilii tests are for, but that's what they get used for in societies where sons are valued more than daughters.) As research into the human genome and "causes" of homosexuality continue, this isn't that farfetched.

And not everyone who is pro-life is some stripe of fundamentalist. I'm pretty radical in my *personal* stance toward abortion; I don't believe in it even in cases of incest and rape. It's either wrong or it's not. I'm not even a Judeo-Islama-Christian let alone fundamentalist. I number among my friends several who've had abortions and I don't love them any the less, though I wish they'd made different choices. I'm sure I've made choices they wish I hadn't made (I know I can think of some I wish I hadn't made).

However. My position cannot be legislated without causing even more suffering as a result. (Translation: I'm not a traditional right-to-lifer trying to get Roe v Wade overturned and abortion "rights" rolled back--far from it.) The correct legislative approach is helping prevent unwanted pregnancies and supporting pregnant women to be able to make a pro-life choice--either by making it possible for her to keep the baby or to make an open adoption tenable.

Guy Matthews | May 8, 2003 01:23 PM

Nevermind all that, it's the logo that really gets me. I mean is it just me or is that particular one excrutiatingly stupid..? Last time I checked the big cry slogan was "abortion=murder" not "death". I mean think about it, of COURSE abortion=death, that's not part of the debate it's a simple statement of fact, if you abort you're killing SOMETHING, even if "something" is defined as a non-sentient non-significant cluster of cells, yer killing them cells with extreme prejudice :P. The debate is about whether it's wrong or right to do so, and whether sentience is involved and at which stage, and blah blah blah so on through quite a few factors (on which I'll stress right now I'm taking no position either way in this post, so nyah) but I'm pretty sure crying out that "Abortion=Death" is a compeletely wasted argument.

John Scalzi | May 8, 2003 01:38 PM

Lynn writes:

"However. My position cannot be legislated without causing even more suffering as a result. (Translation: I'm not a traditional right-to-lifer trying to get Roe v Wade overturned and abortion 'rights' rolled back--far from it.)"

What you're saying is that you are personally anti-abortion but socially pro-choice. Which (if I've characterized your position correctly) is perfectly consistent. I suspect many people who are "pro-choice" would not necessarily characterize themselves as "pro-abortion," and some people who are "anti-abortion" are likewise not entirely "anti-choice." The imprecision of language is a funny thing.

Dennis | May 8, 2003 02:55 PM

Way to go Lynn!

I am a christian, maybe even a fundamentalist (but not by THEIR definition!) and you have summed up my position on the abortion topic very nicely.

I sometimes wonder why the abortion groups don't make up advertisements like the anti-smoking groups. Something along the lines of "It's your choice. Please make the right one. Here's how we can help you. 1-800-get-help." I guess it is because traditional pro-life groups can't seem to make an arguement that isn't offensive and nasty, and traditional media wouldn't touch this subject with a fifty foot pole...

MAB | May 8, 2003 03:23 PM

Dennis: I can't tell if you're asking whether pro- or anti-abortion groups don't make advertisements. If it's the latter (as I infer from your pro-life mention in the last sentence), then the reason is simple: they *do* advertise (quite heavily, in fact). Around here (GA), there are tons of "Pregnant? Worried?" print and billboard advertisements; women who contact the number listed are given a heavy dose of anti-abortion information (with abortion not given as an option, even if asked about). It's their right, of course (freedom of speech and all that), but preying on the fears of pregnant women hardly seems the moral thing to do.

Bowler | May 8, 2003 07:12 PM

"What you're saying is that you are personally anti-abortion but socially pro-choice. Which (if I've characterized your position correctly) is perfectly consistent. I suspect many people who are "pro-choice" would not necessarily characterize themselves as "pro-abortion," and some people who are "anti-abortion" are likewise not entirely "anti-choice." The imprecision of language is a funny thing."

I couldn't agree with this more. It's tough talking to people about it, because everyone wants polar arguments ("look, you're either pro-life or you're pro-choice! Which is it?!"), but I also vote pro-choice and personally am anti-abortion (with the exception of rape). Ultimately, it's up to the individual to decide, not the government. And it's not my position to tell someone else how to decide. I only know that if my wife were to get pregnant, and she consulted my opinion (duh), I'd want her to have the baby.

There's an old great song that relates to this topic out there, although it's a bit grating. I think the band's name is Corrosion of Conformity, but I know that the song's name is Butyric Acid.

Mark Kille | May 8, 2003 09:16 PM

Re: pro-life advertising that isn't nasty...does anybody else remember the "Life: It's a Beautiful Choice" TV ads?

As for pro-choice, anti-gay groups, I'm not sure about in this country. But my very hazy understanding of a lot of Communist countries is/was that abortion is no problem, but homosexuality is a bourgeois decadence, according to the powers that be.

rick mcginnis | May 8, 2003 09:27 PM

I can respect what, in this case, seems like a logical disconnect, at least according to contemporary political pieties. It's like being an pro-war leftist - something that, I suppose, you could call Christopher Hitchens, or myself for that matter, a guy who gets called conservative all the time even though his voting record is solidly for his country's mainstream socialist party. What can I say - I think unseating dictators AND socialized medicine and welfare are good things.

As my wife, a traditional, pro-life Catholic, is often forced to confront, too many religious pro-life types have precious little sympathy for funding social programs to help single or underage mothers or widows actually raise the child they CHOSE to have, once it's actually out there and no longer a totem of the movement.

Roger | May 9, 2003 11:25 AM

Currently, the most famous lesbian anti-abortion
activist is probably Norma McCorvey.

If that name looks familiar and you hear the
irony alarm going off, it's because she was the
"Jane Roe" of the 1973 Roe v. Wade case.

This is all true.

Colleen | May 13, 2003 12:33 PM

John Says:

"Interestingly, I can't seem to find any pro-choice, anti-gay groups. Odd. "

I say:

I bet that when a test develops for any genetic homosexual disposition, you'll see them, along with a lot more people jumping on the gay/lesbian pro-life platform...

Colleen