COMMENTARY: It's time for Ann Coulter to come out of the closet. Her right-wing followers would never know it, but she thinks gay people are just great.
Or so she says...
I was among those in attendance when she spoke over the weekend at a fund-raiser for GOProud, a fledgling organization of gay conservatives. She looked spectacular, gay assistant in tow, mingling with the crowd -- many of them her friends -- and delivering her signature witty and hilarious political jokes about liberals.
All was going smoothly until the Q&A after her speech, when I asked her whether she would start defending gay people when she goes on conservative talk shows like Glenn Beck's and speaks at other straight conservative events. She dodged the question, saying she doesn't tell many gay jokes to Christian conservatives. "Out of sweetness they don't laugh at the gay jokes," she said, "because they feel like they're being mean, so I've been saving them up for this audience."
I pointed out to her that this is simply not true. I've seen plenty of YouTube clips where conservatives laugh their asses off at her jokes mocking gay people.
As you'll see in the exchange we had, I never got the answers I was looking for, and she decided to stop the Q&A after my question.
Disappointed about not getting a response on Sunday, I asked GOProud chairman Chris Barron to forward her an e-mail. Read it on the following page.
Dear Ms. Coulter:
You are telling us that you love gay people, that you appreciate our talents and creativity, that you are happy and excited when we move into your neighborhoods, and that you have many gay friends. But your base is still filled with homophobic people. Most conservatives (including George W. Bush) think that homosexuality is a choice. I am sure you know that this is not true, that we are born gay, and we can't change our sexual orientation. However, lots of Americans who listen to you do not understand this.
I believe if more conservatives understood that homosexuality is not a choice, they'd be less inclined to judge us, spew hate toward us, and oppose our civil rights. They'd stop sending their sons and daughters to "reparative" therapy and finally put an end to the rhetoric that contributes to the high suicide rate among gay teenagers. You have real power to explain this to people.
And this is not about just talking to some "conservative Christian groups," as you told us at Homocon. Why won't you take a brave, on-the-record stand on conservative TV and radio shows -- from Fox News to the many other media outlets where you're a frequent guest? Will you take a public stand supporting gay people as deserving, if not marriage, then (at the very least) civil partnerships and an end to "don't ask, don't tell"? Would you also tell them that there's no reason to try to change a son or daughter who's gay, because you believe there's nothing wrong with being gay?
Coulter makes no bones about the fact that she opposes same-sex marriage. All right. Well, so do President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Granted, she expresses her viewpoint a bit differently: ''[Marriage] is not a civil right -- you're not black.... Blacks must be looking at the [wealthy] gays saying, 'Why can't we be oppressed like that?' ''
That's just how she is. She loves making her audience cringe and laugh uncomfortably. And I do admire her for her principled stand. She didn't weasel around this issue to ingratiate herself with her gay and lesbian audience. She stood firm on her point. I find this really admirable and worthy of respect. Even though we'll have to agree to disagree with her on this issue for now.
But if Coulter wants to be our friend, and I truly think she does, she should be as courageous and outspoken in her support of us with her straight, far-right followers as she is on any other issue she believes in. She should be honest with them and say that she loves gay people, and so should they.
As last week's vote on "don't ask, don't tell" proves, progress for gay people absolutely requires bringing some Republicans on board. Like it or not, it's reality, and it's also why it would be to our advantage to have a friend like Ann Coulter. But not if she just wants to be the sassy, fierce fag hag who brunches with her gays, only to later make jokes at our expense.
I applaud Ms. Coulter for coming to this event, despite the criticism from some conservative bloggers. It seemed that everyone, including her, had a great time. It's thanks to the leadership of GOProud's Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia that our community is finally making these important inroads and advancing our cause where it matters most.
I just hope Coulter will answer my e-mail and use her response as an opportunity to come out publicly and definitively as a friend to gay people.