Colbert asked her about how her life had changed since she had “come out” as a gay person about five years ago. The audience burst into applause. Whereupon Ms. Page described how good she felt being openly known as a homosexual; how happy she is to be done with shame and self doubt.
Colbert asked her what she thought of the folks who oppose gay marriage on religious grounds. She basically said that they will come around when they have had enough exposure to LGBT people in the movies, on television, and on the Internet.
Ms. Page is very articulate. She evokes sympathy for herself and by extension to all people who identify themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual or Transgender.
Stephen Colbert asked the question about religious belief in a very friendly way, mentioning that, while he is a man of faith, he knows that he believes lots of things that just aren’t so. Guardian Angels, for example. It gave his guest a chance to assert her unqualified support for the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom but remind the audience that lots of bad things have been done in the name of religion.
Undoubtedly, the positive audience response to Ms. Page’s outing was in recognition of her courage in confronting the discrimination, ridicule and ill will often heaped upon homosexuals in America.
Other audiences have cheered Kim Davis for her courage in accepting imprisonment rather than offend her personal belief about the morality of same sex marriage.
And so the battle between religion and sexual liberation spans the gap between a feisty Kentucky County Clerk and a sophisticated late night talk show. For both sides, it seems to be all about how you feel.
What is missing, for me at least, is any conversation about public policy.
Whether homosexual conduct does or does not violate the tenets of any particular religious belief should have no influence on public policy. Some religions abhor dancing or gambling. At one time many States had laws against working on Sunday. So called ‘blue laws’ even prohibited playing baseball on Sunday.
There are few if any vestiges of such laws still on the books. The reason is simple. The general opinion of the citizenry does not support them.
Statutes prohibiting same sex marriage may very well go the way of the blue laws some day. That day has not come, and there is no certainty that it will ever come.
The National Health Interview Survey, administered by a branch of the U.S. Census Bureau, reported in 2014 that 1.6% of the American people identify themselves as gay or lesbian and 0.7 percent consider themselves as bisexual.
Perhaps, as it has been suggested by some, that survey and others which reach similar conclusions are skewered because closeted homosexuals don’t admit to their conduct. Still, there is plenty of evidence from actual referenda on constitution issues that there is overwhelming public support for traditional marriage.
Whether in or out of the closet, “being” a homosexual is like “being” a smoker. It is a status determined by conduct. What you do defines what you are.
Political support for same sex intimacy got its boost from the Supreme Court back in 2006 in Lawrence v Texas. That decision essentially said that what consenting adults do in private is their business and not subject to government control. Now, less than ten years later the Supreme Court has opened the closet door and sanctioned public recognition of homosexual conduct.
In my church we believe that we are all sinners. When we come out of the confessional we feel relieved of shame and self doubt. Maybe even Kim Davis would have applauded Ellen Page.