And yet even in this context of pious displacement of reality, CNN’s Anderson Cooper stands out. On Tuesday, he “absolutely grilled” Florida attorney general Pam Bondi. Her crime? She was helping victims of the terrorism, even though she had defended Florida voters in litigation against redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. Florida’s very constitution defined marriage as the union of man and woman, and she wrote court briefs explaining the harm caused by redefining marriage into something else.
Her “crime” was hypocrisy. Bondi was holding herself out as a friend of the gay community. She even claimed to have put a rainbow image on her website after the Orlando shooting. The truth is that Bondi has vigorously opposed every measure of gay rights that she has been in a position to oppose. For example, a year after a federal judge declared that Florida's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, Bondi refused to allow state agencies to list both same-sex parents on birth certificates. Equality Florida had to sue the state months after the ruling in Obergefell to get the state to comply.
With respect to marriage Bondi continued her defense of Florida's same-sex marriage ban despite five court rulings against it. Bondi was intent on denying gay citizens everything from tax treatment to end-of-life decisions for as long as possible. Bondi is an idealogue. Her briefs in support of marriage discrimination included the same hypothetical, theoretical nonsense that we saw from people like Ryan Anderson and Robert George. She wrote in one brief in 2014, opposing the recognition of same-sex marriage from other states, that doing so would impose significant public harm. Hemingway continues by speaking for Cooper:
Cooper believes very strongly that it’s hypocritical, in any way, to support the idea that marriage is ontologically the union of man and woman while also believing that gay people should not be murdered by Islamist terrorists. So he took issue with her advocacy of victims of the terrorism. Bondi repeatedly tried to return the interview to the subject of what was being done to help victims while Cooper said things like, “Well it is gay pride month; you’ve never tweeted about gay pride month.” (Really.) He further said that legal arguments about the “harm” of redefining marriage were actually claims that “gay people are harming” Florida. He said she’d “gone after” gays and sarcastically asked her if she really thought she was a champion of the gay community. Then he repeatedly suggested that this meant she had incited the terrorist in Orlando. He was belligerent and insulting and childish.It is hypocritical to hold yourself out as a friend of the gay community. Ontology (philosophy associated with the nature of being) has nothing to do with it but Hemingway gets extra credit from Sister Mary for using a six syllable word with a possible tie to Aquinas. Marriage is about legal rights and responsibilities. Believing today that marriage is restricted to one man and one woman is a religious perspective that people are entitled to. However, Bondi has to account for her actions to prevent people from literally getting legally married. Hemingway and Bondi both share an incapacity to separate religious belief from public policy..
As a gay man Cooper was probably angry. Where is all the harm that Bondi claimed would ensue from marriage equality? Perhaps she owes us an apology. She has done nothing to make LGBT citizens or her LGBT employees welcome in Florida or in her department. Bondi has never even recognized or shown any appreciation for, gay pride events in the past.
He ended by saying he’d gone ahead and checked on her Twitter history for a year (a real life version of Seinfeld’s Wear The Ribbon sketch) and had seen no indication that she had shown proper deference to gay rights. Cooper then suggested that, in the future, she better get into line and show proper fealty to gay rights. He spoke for most of the “interview,” turning it into a petulant lecture about the importance of conformity to media elites.Parroting the phrase “media elites” makes it even less meaningful. It is not a matter of showing “deference” or “fealty.” Hemingway is only trying to deflect the obvious. As a community we deserve consistent respect; not only as citizens entitled to equal protection but as human beings. Bondi has never even addressed or mentioned the LGBT community as a constituency unless it was in an effort to deprive us of legal rights.
Quoting Anderson Cooper:
The hotline that you've been talking about on television which allows family members and spouses of the dead to get information, which is incredibly important, and I appreciate you talking about it on the air, had there been no gay marriage, had there been no same-sex marriage, you do realize that spouses, there would be no spouses, that boyfriends and girlfriends of the dead would not be able to get information and would not be able probably even to visit in the hospital here. Isn't there a sick irony in that?