About a month ago I complained that Andrew Sullivan was unfairly singling out Hillary Clinton for being “against gay marriage.” I wrote at the time:
Politicians know that their critics hang on their every word and, wishy-washy as it seems, they have to measure what they say carefully, especially when it comes to super-charged issues — and Sullivan knows it. Would he apply the same litmus test to George W. on gay marriages? Because if he did, I suspect he would be mighty disappointed.
Looking at what he has to say about this very topic today, it appears I was right:
It seems clear to me that we are now headed toward a terrible and possibly definitive tempest on the issue of gay equality. President Bush said yesterday, in so many words, that he is considering amending the constitution to deny gays legal equality in their relationships – indeed to enshrine second-class citizenship for gays in the sacred words of the founding document. It is very hard to think of any act any politican could endorse that would alienate and marginalize gay citizens and their families more.
What bothers me but certainly doesn’t surprise me is that his tone throughout this very long post is one of guidance; he is offering his friend George counsel on how to deal with the issue.
When Hillary Clinton was put on the spot on the same issue, Sullivan was far less charitable; in fact, he lashed out at her, and sneered, “”So there you have it. The Senator from New York State is opposed to equal rights for gays and lesbians.”
Bush went way further than Hillary did, and actually suggested he had legislators working on an amendment to ban gay marriages. Yet Sullivan makes no such pronouncement, no categorical condemnation, no “So there you have it….”
An glaring example of double standards.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.