In 1999 and 2000, the president issued proclamations recognizing June as Gay Pride Month. This year, the practice has been discontinued.

President Bush doesn’t want to separate people that way, we are told.

Yet he has signed proclamations designating Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Irish-American Heritage Month.

What may be worth remembering is how recently – in the greater arc of history – there were help-wanted signs commonly posted around New York and Boston with the addendum: IRISH NEED NOT APPLY. And the next thing you know, they were having St. Patrick’s Day Parades and one of them, for crying out loud, was being elected president!

Listen to Nancy Reagan (whose husband, now that you mention it, is half Irish): ‘Women’s liberation and gay liberation [are] part of the same thing: a weakening of the moral standards of this nation. It is appalling to see parades in San Francisco and elsewhere claiming ‘gay pride’ and all that. What in the world do they have to be proud of?’ (What have gay people ever contributed to the culture?)

But that was Nancy Reagan in 1981. She had a lot of company in those sentiments. My guess is she might want to soften them, at least a little, now.

Hey – the mayor of Paris is openly gay. Who cares?

‘I don’t believe in the gay movement….I think they should stay to themselves, just climb back into the cupboards,’ said Rupert Murdoch in 1980. He still likely feels that way, along with Trent Lott and Jesse Helms, and those at the White House who chose to discontinue the gay pride proclamations.

But most younger folks don’t see it that way – any more than they would agree with this, from billionaire televangelist and sometime Republican candidate for president Pat Robertson at the 1992 Republican National Convention: ‘Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.’

It’s a great quote, but it’s overdone. I know the Bible says that women should be obedient and that non-virgin brides should be stoned in the public square until dead. I know it says it’s an abomination to touch the skin of a pig (a football?). But times change. Archaic prejudices fade away. What should not change are love, honesty, fairness and a devotion to leaving the world a little better than we found it.

One notes that the hurricane Pat Robertson once intimated might hit Orlando in retribution for Disney’s non-discrimination policies curved around and hit Virginia Beach instead. And that it’s been awful damn rainy around Houston lately.


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