Every June is gay-pride month, but this one ended with a Supreme Court decision that--according to a suspiciously broad consensus among media elites--is supposed to make lesbians and gays prouder than ever. "A historic legal victory," declared the Los Angeles Times; a SWEEPING REVERSAL, gushed the New York Times in a banner headline, the kind the paper uses when we go to war.
Let's take a deep breath. Using a lot of florid language, the Supreme Court has essentially said it's O.K. for us to sodomize one another. Terrific, but we were way ahead of you. I don't know a soul who has ever declined what Senator Rick Santorum might call "man on man" sex just because it was illegal in a dwindling number of states.
So why are legal activists--gay and conservative--saying the decision is a sea change? Partly because donations rise when emotions do. When the Rev. Jerry Falwell said in the New York Times that Thursday was "as bad a day as the court has had," you caught a whiff of his next funding pitch. Similarly, David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay political group, admits that there have been "only a handful" of sodomy prosecutions. "But," he notes brightly, "this decision provides momentum to our legislative work."
It was sweet of Justice Kennedy to say gays can now "enter upon [a] relationship in the confines of their homes ... and still retain their dignity as free persons." Apparently, gay-activist lawyers wept in court upon hearing this. But they should know that dignity is not the court's to give. Gays have found their own dignity through decades of refusing to hide. For the court to come around, at this late date, to acknowledging our existence as "free persons" is shockingly patronizing; it's condescension that has been cast as liberation. I'm glad those two Texas fellas can freely have sex, but they still can't visit each other in certain hospitals, serve openly in the military or get married. Let's save the banner headlines for when they can.