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The new gay politics


 

An interesting tangent near the end of John Lorinc’s piece this week on the current generation of gay politicians.

Still, there are subtle but significant differences between serving as an openly gay MP, MPP or city councillor, and holding a prominent political leadership role. Though most people take them for granted, the habits of high public office are steeped in the symbols of heterosexual marriage. At official functions, the prime minister or premiers are often seen with their spouses (typically wives), and greet visiting leaders with their other halves in tow. “I do think that’s a barrier,” Prof. Rayside says.

… With same-sex marriage now commonplace, some gay politicians – such as Mr. Brison, who has run and lost in two national leadership contests – have allowed their marriage ceremonies to become quasi-public events, thus giving voters a glimpse of customs that turn out to be familiar to most. Yet, in so doing, they may also face even greater expectations to maintain long-term monogamous relationships than do their straight colleagues.


 

The new gay politics

  1. Yet, in so doing, they may also face even greater expectations to maintain long-term monogamous relationships than do their straight colleagues.

    I doubt it. Straight politicians who get married, whether "quasi-publicly" or privately, are also generally expected to maintain long-term monogamous relationships. That's the whole point of marriage, after all. I don't think Mr. Brison faces greater expectations in this respect than anyone else, gay or straight, who ties the knot.

    • "I don't think Mr. Brison faces greater expectations than anyone else"

      Maybe theoretically this is true but people are full of contradictions. I am pro-gay marriage and it amazes me how many people think gay marriage is going to wreck what marriage has meant traditionally. I remember having a conversation with a couple of people a few years ago, right at same time Britney Spears was having her two day marriage annulled, and they claimed gays would destroy the meaning of marriage and I argued hetero's had already gone a long way towards what they feared.

      • I'm pro-gay marriage, too. I just don't think that Canadians hold gay politicians to a higher standard than straight politicians when it comes to things like marriage. Canadians don't seem too preoccupied with the "other halves" of politicians, unlike the Brits.

        • I forgot to add thought to end my comment. I believe gay people will be held to higher standard until others get used to gay marriage. It is like when first women/black/brown people entered new fields of work in the 1960s/70s. There are always higher expectations. I have heard many stories from people who felt they had to perform twice as well as colleagues to get half the recognition.

          People might not be preoccupied with 'other halves' but there certainly is an interest in spouses. Just because spouses rarely feature in msm does not mean there is little interest.

          And I did not mean to imply that you were against gay marriage if that's how you read it. There are a lot of ankle bitters here and I was just making it clear what I believed too stop numerous comments about how I want to go back to 1700s and kill all gay people or somesuch.

          • Nope, didn't read it that way. I was just clarifying my own position, in the spirit of discussion. :-)

            I think you're generally right that people are interested in public figures' spouses, whether gay or straight. I'm just not sure that it applies to Canadian politicians, or to Scott Brison in particular. I barely noticed when Brison got married, and if he ever splits up (hopefully not; I wish him and his spouse the very best) I probably won't notice that, either.

            I don't believe Canadians care that much about the marital relationships of their MPs. If they did, we'd be seeing a lot more tabloid-style coverage in Canada (to sate the public appetite for gossip).

  2. "Yet, in so doing, they may also face even greater expectations to maintain long-term monogamous relationships than do their straight colleagues."

    I don't even know where to start. Exactly who does he think will expect a same sex marriage to be any different for a traditional marriage? I'm absolutely sure there will be as many miserable gays and lesbians in marriages as there are straight men and women. John Lorinc's speculation is asinine.

  3. What's more likely is that it's going to feel like a higher standard. Relationship longevity and integrity are different for male female, male male, and female female relationships – the reasons why lesbians aren't cruising parks go beyond the logistics. Much of the movement for gay marriage has been specifically intended to destroy the institution (the people who did the intellectual groundwork for gay marriage saw traditional marriage as a tool of oppressive patriarchy) – they'll see any expectation of monogamy as heteronormative oppression.

    Politicians should be expected to be monogamous because that creates the most stable environment to do one's job. If you have drama in your personal life you're not going to be able to do your job to the same level as you would if things were calm. Libertinism is great, but politicians need to be held to a higher standard since they're in 24/7 jobs with substantial impacts. It's of no serious import if a bar tender has a messy, complicated personal life. A senior executive or professional causes problems when their home life is disordered, but that is best addressed by their employer. As employers of politicians, the public must be the final arbiter of whether their private behaviour is compromising their public role.

    • I guess JFK was a crap politician?

  4. Why does Maxime Bernier spring to mind as soon as I hear the phrase, "expectations to maintain long-term monogamous relationships…"?

  5. I'm pro choice… if you want to get married go for it but what im against is the imposition of gay marriage on the church! If it's against the christian teachings then leave it alone! you can't force God to do anything!

    http://everyonesguilty.blogspot.com

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