Monday, August 26, 2013

R.R. Reno Perpetuates the Myth That the Gay Rights Movement is an Upper Middle Class Endeavor

R.R. Reno - First Things
Defining the gay rights movement as elitist is important to the Christian right. It's an effort to disconnect gay civil rights from the average American.

Russell ("Rusty") Ronald Reno III is the editor of First Things magazine and previously a professor of theology and ethics at Creighton University. He is an important Catholic intellectual. So is Robby George for that matter. Being a prominent "thinker" doesn't necessary coincide with intellectual honesty or legitimate conclusions.

Today, Reno writes; The Elite Project of Gay Marriage. According to Reno:
The first thing to say is that the gay rights movement has been largely an upper middle class project. Thurgood Marshall attended Lincoln University, an all-black college in southeastern Pennsylvania, and then Howard University Law School. Gay activist Larry Kramer went to Yale. Judge Vaughn Walker went to Stanford Law School. I have little doubt that the first gay Supreme Court Justice will be a graduate of either Yale or Harvard Law Schools.
This is baloney. Ironically, Mr. Reno has a PhD from Yale. Most Justices of the Supreme Court have Ivy League law degrees so he is correct that the first [openly] gay Justice will likely have a law degree from Harvard or Yale. Moreover, President Obama (Harvard Law) is the son of a single mother on welfare. Reno mentions Larry Kramer who attended Yale on a scholarship (his parents were lower middle class).

Reno's point is summarized as he concludes a rather verbose essay:
…sexual freedom fits nicely with economic freedom.
[…]
Same sex marriage is the issue today because our culture is now dominated by people for whom freedom is (conveniently for them) the solution to most problems. People don’t have jobs? Answer: more freedom. Terrorists want to kill us? Answer: more freedom. People are unhappy in their intimate lives? Answer: more freedom.
Mr. Reno has a religious objection to same-sex marriage. I don't know if marriage equality is the issue today but it is important. Mr. Reno fails to recognize that the gay rights movement tends to have support that correlates to educational achievement. Economic success is often the result of education.

Mr. Reno also fails to appreciate the overall effect of marriage equality. Fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of gay people all have an interest in the marriage rights of their gay family members.

However, this is only possible because marriage equality is an issue of equal protection under law that has no proven negative consequences. None of the "horribles" have materialized.

A popular cause is constitutionally mandated and has no downside.

There should be little surprise that the cause has traction. Mr. Reno is desperate to find logical, secular support for his religious agenda.
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