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    Ann Rostow: I Heart Good Republicans

    By Ann Rostow–

    I Heart Good Republicans 

    Did you ever imagine you’d feel a sense of solidarity with Liz Cheney? Do you remember Liz Cheney back in the day? The woman who made a point of disavowing her gay sister and her sister-in-law in her unsuccessful effort to win a Senate seat, telling Fox News in 2013 that she believed in the “traditional” view of marriage?

    Cheney’s sister-in-law Heather Poe posted on Facebook: “Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012—she didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least.”

    Mary Cheney, in turn, posted: “Liz—this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree—you’re just wrong—and on the wrong side of history.”

    Well, that was then and this is now. “Good job, Big Sister,” tweeted Mary on January 7. “Liz and I have definitely had our differences over the years, but I am incredibly proud of how she handled herself during the fight over the Electoral College. She defended our constitution, our country and our people while many of her colleagues were willing to risk our democracy in order to further their own political careers.”

    I find myself sending the once-loathed Cheney psychic pats on the back as she courageously destroys her political future in Trump’s bonfire of the vanities. That’s after nodding along with George W Bush and cheering on Mitt Romney, two men I have absolutely despised in the past. In the fairly recent past!  

    I understand why the enemy of your enemy is your friend, but rarely have I seen it made manifest so clearly. Normally, I’d toss in a little folksy wisdom at this point, rhetorically wondering if someday I might change my view of Trump or Matt Gaetz in the context of something even worse taking over American politics. But I can tell you that will not happen. 

    And for the record, I have not completely forgotten or forgiven the blunders and stumbles of the early 2000s. I’ve just changed my perspective. 

    The X Philes

    As for Matt Gaetz, I just watched a couple of Tik Toks by his fiancé’s sister, Roxanne Luckey, who says Matt urged one of his 40-something buddies to repeatedly ask her out when she was 19 or 20. Eventually, Roxanne told the guy to cool it, and he explained (oddly) that he was only pursuing her to get Matt off his back. When Roxanne confronted Matt about this situation at Thanksgiving, he reportedly went ballistic. Meanwhile, Roxanne’s sister Ginger is madly in love with Gaetz and is looking forward to their wedding. 

    Roxanne says Gaetz is not a pedophile, but an “epehbophile,” namely, someone mainly attracted to people in their late teens. This observation led me to learn about things called “chronophilias,” which are attractions based on age ranges. Pedophilia, perhaps the most famous, refers to pre-pubescent children. But there’s also “hebephilia” which is post-pubescent but younger than late teens. 

    Of course, our discussion would not be complete without referencing “teleiophilia,” a preference for adults, “mesophilia,” an attraction to middle-aged adults, and “gerontophilia,” you guessed it. My pleasure at discovering these fun, new characterizations is somewhat dampened by the fact that these last three terms were invented in the last 20 years, so instead of uncovering important new knowledge, all we’re really doing here is blindly following a modern trend of creating Latin-esque expressions for things that don’t really need names to begin with.

    Still, I like the sound of mesophilia. What was that ad slogan for Vegas? Just the right amount of wrong? You remember those ads, don’t you? A beautiful woman walks into a hotel room with a goat on a leash. She might be a mesophile, for all we know. 

    M, I, C … ‘C’ You Real Soon

    So, I loved the story about Anita Bryant’s lesbian granddaughter, who is about to be married. According to an article on Yahoo News, when Sarah Green was celebrating her 21st birthday, her grandmother, the famed antigay activist and Mouseketeer, sang “Happy Birthday” and then speculated that a husband was going to come along in the near future.

    “I just snapped,” Green recalled, “and was like, ‘I hope that he doesn’t come along because I’m gay, and I don’t want a man to come along.’” Bryant sternly informed Green that no one is really gay, but that homosexuality was like an evil spell you could revoke with time and effort. 

    “It’s very hard to argue with someone who thinks that an integral part of your identity is just an evil delusion,” Green said on a Slate podcast called One Year. “She wants a relationship with a person who doesn’t exist because I’m not the person she wants me to be.” 

    Now, years later, Green is about to get married and trying to decide whether or not to invite Granny to the festivities. According to the report, Bryant’s face froze when her son, Sarah’s father Robert Green, told her about the wedding plans. Sarah says she plans to call Bryant and ask her if she wants an invitation. 

    Am the only one that thought Anita Bryant died a while ago? Oh, wait! I just checked. I was confusing Bryant with Annette Funicello, who unlike Bryant was, in fact, a Mousketeer, and who did die in 2013. Anita Bryant was a singer, a Miss America contestant, not a Mouseketeer, and lives in Oklahoma. 

    K,E,Y. Why? Because we love you! M,O,U,S,E.

    Gross!

    I keep preparing to launch into GLBT legal news (my favorite thing!) but then getting caught up in random anecdotes, like the Anita Bryant story or the bit about Matt Gaetz’s lascivious buddy. Oh, and I was also going to write about the win/loss records of over a thousand candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund!

    Now, just as I was starting one of these interesting topics, I noticed the MetroWeekly headline: “‘Trump Man’ Found Guilty of Repeatedly Pooping on Gay Men’s Lawn.” Guys? How are we supposed to resist pausing to cover this disturbing development in the life our extended community?

    “A so-called ‘Trump man’ in Ohio has been sentenced to prison after repeatedly defecating and urinating on a gay neighbor’s lawn,” MetroWeekly explains, relying on a report from Smoking Gun. Seventy-something Jerry Detrick of Greenville, Ohio, confessed to the crimes after getting caught in the middle of the night May 30 by Matthew Guyette, 59, and his husband. 

    Detrick, a retired high school biology teacher, said the men’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with his offenses, but insisted it was because the men were Democrats, while he himself was a “Trump man.” But writing on Facebook, Guyette said police finally caught the guy who had been pooping on his lawn for a decade, leaving little pieces of restaurant napkins in his wake. 

    Detrick was eventually sentenced to 20 days in jail, 30 hours of community service, and $232 in fines for littering. He was also ordered to write his neighbors an apology, and he did so, telling Guyette and husband he was “extremely sorry.”

    “Let me say that I didn’t know you were gay, I did know you were a Democrat. I am a Republican,” Detrick wrote. “Doesn’t make any difference, my actions were disgusting and cruel.” Detrick added that he was raised in a “Christian family,” and “should have known better.” Hmmm.

    Oh, before I go, in the course of careening around the internet, I read about a woman who paid her bill in a restaurant but left no tip because she thought the waiter made a sexist comment. I don’t really remember much of this story and it’s been a while since I read about it, but at any rate, the comment wasn’t actually sexist, for the record. So, the woman continued on with her day and accidentally left a cashier’s check worth $400,000 at the table! That’s like leaving nearly half a million in actual cash. 

    She couldn’t remember where the restaurant was, but the waiter looked her up with her credit card information, called her, and gave her back the check, which she was taking to a real estate closing. She felt like a heel. Doncha love it?

    Brass Tacks

    Okay, Victory Fund. Here goes. From 2016 to 2020, non-transgender lesbians and bisexual women were the most successful GLBT wannabe politicians, winning 69 percent of their races. Gay cisgender men were next at 59 percent, transgender women won 54 percent of the time, while transgender men won 18 percent of their races. That sounds low, but only 11 out of 1,088 GLBT candidates in this report were transmen, while 39 were transwomen. There were also 11 non-binary candidates. 

    Some 59 percent of all candidates were cisgender men, while 35 percent were cisgender women. By the way, “cis” is Latin for “on this side,” ergo, it’s sort of the opposite of “trans.” I say sort of, because we could have ended up with non-trans or homo-gender or many other adjectives, which, in turn, makes you wonder how these new words settle into our vocabulary.

    Moving right along, I note that a case close to our hearts has just been decided in our favor by a split panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. I also note that the July 26 opinion consists of 103 pages and I can’t find any smart summaries! 

    Are we really going to spend the next three hours squinting at legalese and drinking nothing stronger than diet Dr. Pepper in order to manage a two-hundred-word synopsis that I can plop down at the end of this column and which you will probably skip, if I know you, which I do. 

    Dear Reader, I think not!

    The case is out of Colorado, where as you know the state has outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender in public accommodation. This was the law that led to the ambiguous Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and now it has triumphed in the case of a one-woman website and graphic design company called “303 Creative.” 

    Run by Lorie Smith, the company plans to offer wedding websites in the future, but will not take on a client for a same-sex wedding. Smith planned to put a little notice up to this effect, which will directly violate the “Communications Clause” of the Colorado Anti-discrimination Act (CADA). As such, she preemptively sued the state, arguing that the enforcement of CADA violated her First Amendment rights. 

    The lower court ruled that Smith had standing to challenge the Communications Clause, but since she had yet to discriminate against an actual client, she could not challenge any other part of CADA. The judge then ruled against her, at which point she appealed to the Tenth Circuit, where (Yay) two out of three judges agreed with the court below.

    “As to the merits,” they wrote, “we hold that CADA satisfies strict scrutiny, and thus permissibly compels Appellants’ speech. We also hold that CADA is a neutral law of general applicability, and that it is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad … Accordingly … we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Colorado.” 

    Perhaps you remember “neutral law of general applicability” from our recent discussion of the 1990 precedent, Employment Division v Smith, that says you can’t use religion to avoid following a neutral law of general applicability. I’m guessing that the majority here applied this precedent to the current case and that their reasoning did not help our web designer. But I don’t know for sure because I’ve only read ten pages and I have 93 to go. 

    As for the phrase “strict scrutiny,” the majority apparently believes that Colorado has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination against the GLBT community and that its Anti-discrimination Act is narrowly tailored to serve that interest. 

    Look, I now have two weeks to read the rest of this opinion, plus the dissent, plus a ton of other articles by smart lawyers and analysts. And (drum roll, please) this sounds suspiciously like the kind of case that might wind up before the High Court, the same Court that barely allowed Employment Division v Smith to survive the beat down between Catholic Social Services and the City of Philadelphia. 

    So, the excitement awaits!

    arostow@aol.com

    Published on July 29, 2021