In watching evangelical preacher Ted Haggard’s life implode amid his admission that he popped methamphetamines and had repeated homosexual sex with a prostitute, it suddenly dawned on me how the twisted logic in his mind must have worked. Prior to his public humiliation, Haggard was a key advocate for a Colorado constitutional amendment that seeks to deny homosexual relationships equal protection under the law (we in Virginia are also considering a similar “pro-marriage” amendment). As Haggard is a self-loathing homosexual who kept is true sexual identity under wraps, I wager he thought that the more legal prohibitions against gays there were, the easier it would be for him to reject his is “repulsive” and “dark” nature and remain faithful to his fundamentalist Christian creed.
After all, evangelicals argue that protecting homosexual marriage under the law threatens non-gay marriage; the implication being that if homosexuals are free to marry, men and women will suddenly quit their heterosexual marriages and abandon their children. Given the depths of Haggard’s dishonesty and hypocrisy, perhaps that would be true for him. Yet it still remains that Haggard has no moral right to control what other consenting adults do with any aspect of their lives, let alone their sexual natures. Furthermore, the anti-gay marriage bigots forget the true purpose of marriage law, which is not to protect married relationships (most people do that well enough on their own), but to provide a means for establishing order when one of the marriage partners is incapacitated, or the marriage dissolves, be it by death or divorce.
Yet as a Republican and a Christian evangelist, no moral principle checks a man like Haggard from entering in the bedrooms of his fellow Americans in order to regulate their private and consensual behavior. Haggard could hardly control his own life, yet he actively sought to control the lives of others (in fact, he has not made any statement whatsoever renouncing his Christian anti-gay political agenda). I almost feel for his wife and children, who now must face the shock of knowing that their husband and father practices a despicable evil according to their chosen creed–were it not for the fact that their creed is irrational and morally repugnant.
At root, protecting homosexual relationships under the law is the natural progression of the principle of individual rights first codified by the founders. There is no rational reason to oppose this progression, just as there was no rational reason to oppose freedom for blacks, or equality for women. Yet the religiously-inspired Republican party has become so enthralled with lording over people’s lives that on a road trip yesterday to enjoy Virginia’s fall countryside, I could hardly escape being reminded by the myriad of campaign signs that it is the Republicans who are pushing the anti-homosexual agenda with all the political power they can muster.
It is wicked; it is immoral, and it deserves to be defeated.