Sunday, March 12, 2006

So Shall We Score One for Sykes?

I have to admit to being wrong about something. I always thought that Milwaukee talk radio host Charlie Sykes was a reactionary on all issues. I never thought that he was able to thoughtfully consider points of view that were not on the extreme right. Then he posted an opinion piece on his blog late last week. In the post he tells us that he is actually undecided about the amendment to discriminate against gays.

When I heard about his post, I thought that perhaps he was trying to be ironic or something. Then I read the post and realized that I think he may be for real on this one. Rationally and thoughtfully Sykes writes:

Does the amendment – which seeks to avoid a judicial mandate – itself veer too far in the opposite direction, by freezing both social and legal policy and removing it from the give and take of legislative compromise and social evolution? Conservatives also believe that, as a rule, constitutions should limit the powers of government, not of individuals.

Other questions also nag:

Exactly how does allowing gays to enter into legal, monogamous relationships undermine the institution of marriage? Isn’t in society’s interest to foster and recognize such stable relationships? And why would that be something that conservatives would oppose?

Let’s be honest: when gays point to divorce as a greater threat to marriage, they have a point. Yet, so far, none of the defenders of marriage have proposed banning divorce, or barring the infertile from the rites of marital bliss.

If the concern is combatting threats to marriage, why not focus on the “domestic partner” benefits that extend insurance etc. to members of the opposite sex who merely shack up with favored employees? The only real justification for such shack-up benefits is that, short of recognizing gay marriage, they are the only way to extend such benefits to committed gay couples. But by conferring marital benefits to boy friends and girl friends alike, they erase the distinction between marriage and casual sex – a far greater challenge to the primacy of marriage than gay marriage itself.

Is this a surprise to anyone else? I had no idea that Sykes’ view on this issue had evolved to such a degree. No doubt he will likely be taking some lumps from the fringe right for these comments. We can only hope that the evolution continues and that he airs the thoughts on his radio show.

Not that he pays attention to this blog or cares, but I must commend Sykes for this post. As anyone who has read Eye on Wisconsin for the past few months would know, I was not very kind to Charlie in a previous post. Truthful but not very kind or civil. Now learning of his changing view on the discrimination against gays amendment, I regret having made that post. It looks like I have learned a lesson. Everyone can have a change of heart (if only on one issue), even if they are a neo-con radio talker.

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