Thursday, February 10, 2005

Did ya hear about Alan Keyes?

If you follow politics at all, you've probably heard of Alan Keyes. Or at least you've seen him on TV. Short, excitable-looking African American ultra-conservative who put on such a fantastic show running to the right of everyone in the 2000 Republican race? Yeah, him.

Well, Alan is... Alan is kind of special, really. Most public representatives of the "Religious Right" are careful to cloak their agenda of hate in the guise of being traditional constitutional-conservatism, but not dear Alan. Alan is right up front about it: anti-choice, virulently anti-gay, right down the line.

Aaaaaaanyway, the last time anyone heard from this clown was back during the election when Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, Mary, became a brief object of media fascination (culminating in John Kerry's gasp-inducingly clumsy would-be gotcha invocation of her name in a debate) and Keyes got himself quoted as follows regarding the "gay" issue in an interview:

"The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principal excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism."

Gee, ya think they asked him specifically about Mary Cheney being a "selfish hedonist" next for a money quote? You bet they did. Take it away, Alan:

"That goes by definition. Of course she is."

See what I mean? How can you not love such openess and honesty from a purveyor of faith-based hatred? Suffice it to say, that last part lit a fire under the media's butt and they went back for more. An article from Washington Times Online... (from whence these quotes were taken and which you can read in full here:)
...reports that someone finally did ask Keyes what he would do if HE had a lesbian daughter. As they reported it:

"Keyes said if he had a lesbian daughter he would love her but tell her she was sinning."

Hey, y'know what would be really interesting?

I mean really, really, really interesting?

(oh, hat tip to bloggers Oliver Willis, Andrew Sullivan, and Daily Kos for this, BTW)

Fast forward to today. A gay-equality march in Maryland lists the following for their scheduled events: (bold-highlights are mine)

"March to Lawyer’s Mall (in front of the State House) for the rally, featuring community leaders, Judy Shepard, and Maya Marcel Keyes, the self-described queer activist who is also daughter of ultra-conservative Alan Keyes, whose recent campaign for senator from Illinois included his calling Mary Cheney a “hedonist.”

shorthand: Alan's daughter is a lesbian.

Well, well, well...

Okay, aside from the obvious schaudenfreud (sp?) of seeing yet another acolyte of Religious Fundamentalism get smacked in the face by a little thing called the real world, the basic story here really isn't so big: An anti-gay-rights politician has a gay daughter. At best, it's a TV movie. But then it gets a little tragic...

Unlike Dick Cheney, who made it subtly but unmistakably clear in his Vice Presidential Debate that his administration's anti-gay stances are not necessarily his doing (remember his near-mutinous moment in the debate when Edwards broached the topic and Cheney merely joined his rival in mutual man-to-man "good family ya got there" praise and refused to even mention Bush's ammendment to ban gay marriage?) Well, sadly, it doesn't look like Alan Keyes is quite the closet-progressive so many suspect Cheney is...

Nope, apparently Alan Keyes has approached the issue of gays in his family the same way he and his fellow so-called "religious" right allies seem to want to approach the issue of gays anywhere else: He threw her out of his house.

How do we know that? Well, Maya Keyes has a blog of her own, and she's keeping the web up to date on her adventures right here:

Alright, look... I posted this because I find it interesting and relevent. Keyes considers himself a culture-warrior, and part of my mission with this blog is chronicling the actions of those who favor censorship which he certainly does. This is news about him, and it's going to be a big story.

I want to stress that it's also a NEW story, and there could be dimensions we don't know of yet, but right now I think it's fair to say that IF this is all true, Alan Keyes has revealed himself to be a hypocrite and world-class creep. I respect those who disagree with the various dimensions of gay rights issues, and political issues of ALL stripes, but some things are bigger than politics and this is one of them. If Alan Keyes really did throw out his own child because she's gay, then Alan Keyes is even less of a man than I thought he was. For all those who look to Keyes because of his supposed Christian values, look to this news and see for once and for all: IF this is all true, Alan Keyes has no business calling himself any kind of Christian.

The bottom line is, as much as I want to see Keyes and all of Keyes' ilk suffer as much political embarassment as possible, this is ultimately a sad story, made sadder still by the fact that it's playing out in thousands of homes across the country that will never make the news. It's true, sure, that Mrs. Keyes will likely find friends and allies in this difficult time in rights groups and other friendly entities who will see her need (and the big potential news story connected to her need, of course) and help her out.

You can bet I'll be following this one, as more details emerge...


DeviantSimian said...

While I haven't explored the links yet to investigate the matter of Ms. Keyes, I'd like to point out that "queer activist" does not always translate directly to "lesbian". The word "Queer" has been affectionately adopted by a wide variety of people who consider themselves as existing outside the mainstream, particularly in terms of sexual preference/gender identity. If a human claims to be queer, it might be gay. It might be bisexual, asexual, nonsexual. It might be transgendered, bigendered, nongendered or a variety of shades and mixes of flavors in betwixt. And, with the inclusion of the word 'activist', that person might be an 'average' heterosexual comfortable living in accordance with its birth gender who is simply working toward the equal treatment of queer folks.

Just because I'm picky about the use of words.


Bob said...

Duly noted :)

My reference to Ms. Keyes as a "lesbian" was entirely based on the three websites from which I primarily caught the story refering to her as the same. If the term has been incorrectly applied, then I appologize at least for passing on mistaken information.

DeviantSimian said...

After I made my comment, I did go ahead and read a bit of her blog. Interesting your lady, I must say. I'm not entirely sure still whether or not she is a lesbian as I didn't see any direct "hey, I'm gay" statements, but then, I didn't read the entire thing. The happy gay rainbows all over the place are a pretty strong indicator, but still not hard proof, as my heterosexual sister also has happy gay rainbows scattered about her things, in support of her gay friends.

I just wanted to make the distinction on queer as it does have its own definition separate from gay, which is one of the definitions it includes.