Will & Grace co-creator and writer Max Mutchnick says U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin “Scalia uses the word ‘homosexual’ the way George Wallace used the word ‘Negro.’” New York Times opinion writer Maureen Dowd shares Mutchnick’s feelings in her column today, sadly titled, “Happily Never After?”
Dowd was reflecting on last week’s historic Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 and DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
“I’m worried about how the justices can properly debate same-sex marriage when some don’t even seem to realize that most Americans use the word ‘gay’ now instead of ‘homosexual’; when Chief Justice John Roberts thinks gays are merely concerned with marriage as a desirable ‘label,’ and when Justice Samuel Alito compares gay marriage to cellphones,” the 61-year old Roman Catholic laments:
The Nine are back there in their Miss Havisham lairs mulling, disconcertingly disconnected. In his zeal to scare people about the “possible deleterious effect” of gay parents adopting, Justice Antonin Scalia did not seem fully cognizant that gays and lesbians can have their own biological children.
“It’s tiring being a member of the last group in America subject to official discrimination,” Mutchnick tells Dowd in an email which she publishes at the end of her column.
“I believe if you’re a homosexual of a certain age or one born on the wrong block in this country, your first steps are inextricably fused with lying,” the Will & Grace writer confesses. “It makes the journey of life much heavier. Like Jack, I eventually grew tired of lying and came out to everyone. Now, however, I find myself tired of telling the truth.”
More and more people think it’s wrong to hate gays. The support for same-sex marriage now exceeds the opposition to it. According to Rick Santorum, that’s all because of “Will & Grace.” (Thanks, cutie. DVD sales are way up!) But, if the good guys are on my side, why do I feel so depleted? I live in a place where all men are created equal, but, for some reason, I am not afforded the same rights. Should my take-away be: I am not a man? It feels as though the Supreme Court is O.K. with that notion. This court is speaking some of the same language that was being used before Stonewall.
Justice Alito raised the question of whether or not it’s too soon to allow gay people to marry. Is it better to keep doing what’s wrong until people are good and ready to do what’s right? Scalia uses the word “homosexual” the way George Wallace used the word “Negro.” There’s a tone to it. It’s humiliating and hurtful. I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive, merely vigilant. I once had to be vigilant for fear that people would find out what I am. Now I have to be vigilant for fear that I will be discriminated against for what I am. Then, as now, it’s a defense against danger.
No wonder I’m tired. I’m committed to fighting this battle until the war is won. I owe it to my inner gay child and my daughters. As Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It’s the long part that’s kicking my butt.
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