Crimson Über Alles

Given as two good friends of mine will be going to a lower-tier university in New Haven, CT this fall, whereas another friend and I will head to America’s oldest and greatest institution of higher learning, our conversations have contained an unusually high level of trash-talking recently, so much so that shouting “Dorothy Parker!” is now automatically assumed to be a reference to her quip, “if all the girls at Yale prom were laid from end to end, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.” When even citing Parker isn’t enough to settle the issue, one must bring out the big guns, and so I present the following evidence:

That would be Matt Yglesias, Harvard class of 2003, beating the rhetorical and intellectual crap out of Jamie Kirchick, Yale class of 2006. Bulldogs, consider thyselves owned.

In Yale’s defense, I went to a panel on LGBT activism at the Campus Progress National Conference this past Tuesday, and while there were theoretically four participants, it was basically Kirchick versus Richard Kim of The Nation. I discovered pretty quickly that, when you match Kirchick up against one of the remaining remnants of the early ’90s, anti-marriage gay left, a guy who argues that the battle for marriage equality has kept our eye off the prize of legal recognition for the Golden Girls (no, really, he actually said that), the neocon starts sounding pretty reasonable. Indeed, the only actual original idea I heard in the panel came from Kirchick, who made the case that there ought to be a gay refusenik movement, where Western countries demand, and use Jackson-Vanik like measures to pressure, countries with oppressive and homophobic legal and social environments to allow LGBT people to emigrate freely. I somehow think a movement predicated on granting asylum to lots and lots of gay foreigners would make Pat Buchanan’s mind explode, but it’s an unquestionably good cause, and if anything would do more for gay equality than marriage justice, a refusenik movement would be the ticket.

Kim kept insisting that we need to fight for recognition of unmarried couples, gay and straight, and give them things like hospital visitation rights, adoption rights, inheritance, etc. That really got me thinking: what if there were an institution that can confer those rights in one fell swoop? Oh, wait, there is, and it’s called marriage. Straight unmarried couples want more rights? Good for them; they should get married. And what about gay unmarried couples who need those rights? Hmm…maybe it would be a good idea to fight for marriage equality. I didn’t expect to agree with the organizer of the Beyond Marriage statement, but I didn’t expect him to sound quite this clueless.

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