Saturday, March 2, 2013

The absence of heart

In an article entitled "Refusing to Be Late on Gay Marriage" by James B. Stewart in the New York Times, the surprising eagerness of so many large companies to file amicus briefs supporting gay marriage is explored. Various interviewees cite both the changing tenor of the times, and the business interests that are adversely affected by the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), including "tax and benefits issues, administrative costs, employee morale and the ability to attract gay employees and to move them to locations where gay marriage is prohibited".

This is all striking stuff, and as some in the article noted, it's hard to imagine that so much support could have been amassed even five years ago.

Nevertheless, there's still resistance. And that resistance is contemptuous of the buy-in by big business.

The conservative Family Research Council, which filed a brief opposing gay marriage, blamed “a corporate environment dictated by wealthy, pro-homosexual activists” for the growing corporate support of same-sex marriage and added, “We applaud Exxon Mobil for refusing to cede the moral high ground to the special interests of the left.” A spokesman for the council told me he thought that the business issues cited in the briefs were “trivial” and that companies signing the briefs were “motivated by political correctness, pure and simple.”
[Last year ExxonMobil's shareholders, the article notes, "overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to extend employee benefits to same-sex partners".]

"Pro-homosexual activists" — it never occurs to retrograde outfits like the FRC that people with whom they disagree might not be part of a conspiracy to gayify the world. And that bit about "the special interests of the left" — heaven forbid that people who are being treated like dirt by the likes of the FRC should protest and seek equality under the law. Motivation by "political correctness" — again, it never occurs to the FRC that people could be motivated by a sense of justice and fairness. In any case, companies like Apple hardly seem to be in need of the juicing such political correctness would seem calculated to bring to their bottom lines.

What must it be like to be, as the members of the FRC and other groups defending DOMA and California's Proposition 8 are, bereft of heart?

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