Sunday, September 1, 2013

ROUNDHOUSE ROUNDUP: A Big Gay Box of Pandoras

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Sept. 1, 2013

Unidentified woman releases several
Pandoras from box
Only a couple of weeks ago, there was no place in New Mexico where gay couples could get married. Things have changed.

At this writing (Friday morning) six counties in the state, including Santa Fe County, allow such marriages.

I’ve observed that the backlash against these developments has been relatively muted. Gov. Susana Martinez, an opponent of same-sex marriage, said in a TV interview that she doesn’t like the patchwork approach and reiterated her belief the issue should be settled by voters. The state Republican Party organization has been completely silent on the issue.

But it would be wrong to say there has been no backlash.

For instance, the Portales News-Tribune reported Thursday that Curry County Clerk Rose Riley said allowing same-sex marriage is like “opening Pandora’s box. If they can force county clerks into giving same sex-marriage licenses, what’s next? Incestual marriage? Bestiality? Where does it stop? … I think it’s wrong. It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what the law says.”

Doesn’t Riley realize that the proper phrase in New Mexico is “box of Pandoras”? I thought the late Gov. Bruce King settled that decades ago.

Sen. Sharer
What’s so great about Alexander? Meanwhile, state Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington — who was among several GOP lawmakers filing suit Friday against the Dona Ana county clerk for issuing same-sex marriage license — wrote a blog post on his own website that got quoted last week in The Huffington Post.

Sharer wrote, “Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) married a Bactrian woman — [from] modern-day Afghanistan. Alexander may have engaged in homosexual activity, but he married a woman.

“He directed his officers to stop ‘whoring’ around and find a local woman to marry. … It is only through blood relations that hatred and war will end.” In other words, Alexander the Great thought that marriage was about creating and raising the next generation.

“This is the reason for Marriage — The creation and raising of children who have the best chance to grow to be peaceful, responsible citizens.”

This prompted Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, the only openly gay legislator, to demand an apology because of the “whoring” line.

Gall in the family: Besides Alexander, Sharer’s blog post mentions several other historical figures — not in the context of engaging in homosexual activities, or even for “whoring,” but for being in favor of marriage.

One of these was the Greek philosopher Aristotle, of whom Sharer said, “Aristotle fully believed that marriage, between Greeks, was fundamental for civilization — marriage between a Greek man and a Greek woman to make virtuous Greek babies. It was only with virtuous Greek babies that Greek civilization could succeed.”

I was reminded of the recent CNN documentary Our Nixon, in which the 37th president, on a recently released White House tape, made a different point about Aristotle.

In the tape, Nixon is grumbling with his aides H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and future Santa Fe resident John Erhlichman about a then-new television series called All in the Family. Tricky Dick was not amused.

I’m not sure about the particular episode of the show that set him off, but Nixon said, “The point that I make is that goddamit, I do not think that you glorify, on public television, homosexuality! You ever see what happened, you know what happened to the Greeks? Homosexuality destroyed them. Aristotle was a homo, we all know that. So was Socrates.”

At that point, Ehrlichman chimed in, “But he never had the influence that television has.”

Nixon ignored that. “The last six Roman emperors were fags,” Nixon continued. “You see, homosexuality, immorality in general, these are the enemies of strong societies. That’s why the communists and the left-wingers are pushing it. They’re trying to destroy us.”

Somehow civilization withstood Archie Bunker.

And I’ve noticed that even though hundreds of gay and lesbian couples were married in New Mexico in late August, the sun keeps rising every morning.

Blog bonus: Nixon on Archie Bunker, Aristotle, etc.