Oct 17, 2006

"Forcing their moral convictions"... [LINK]

In addition, it seems presumptuous to call gay rights the "last great civil rights chapter in modern American history," since that necessarily excludes subsequent marginalized groups. My letter to the Globe:

It seems rather obtuse for Abby Collier to cite Gerry Studds on the "fight for gay and lesbian equality," while in the same letter she criticizes conservative Republicans for "forcing their moral convictions" on the rest of us. Recall that Studds was censured by Congress after forcing his own brand of morality on an teenage staff member.


Anonymous said...

True, Studds had an affair with a 17-year-old page. Although the page was not a minor, the relationship was considered inappropriate because the page was a congressional subordinate. Studds made a mistake, which he admitted, but to suggest that he was in turn "forcing his own brand of morality" on the page—when the affair occurred between two consenting adults—is a bit of a stretch. No one ever said Studds was perfect. The point, it seems, is that Studds was a significant political figure as the first openly gay member of Congress and an influential advocate for gay rights, and made a profound impact on the gay rights movement. I doubt that the quote by Dean Hara (with whom Studds had a 15-year relationship) was intended to "exclude subsequent marginalized groups," but to emphasize the importance of this issue in terms of the future of civil rights in America.

LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

Two problems here. While outside the workplace they may have been considered "consenting adults," the added employer/employee relationship adds a coercive dimension.

Also, any benefit from admitting he made a mistake surely evaporated when he expressed contempt for the censure voted on him, turning his back on his colleagues while the vote was read.

Just a thought: As such a vaunted pioneer, one would think the first openly gay member of Congress would be a tad careful about such matters.