Lucinda Creighton went there. I was astounded to hear her adopt the 'some of my best friends are -' approach this week.
Speaking to Marian Finucance on RTE Radio, the former Fine Gael Junior Minister denied she is against gay rights.
Well color me intrigued.
Said Creighton: 'I supported the (Civil Partnership) legislation because I felt that it was wrong that gay people in Ireland couldn’t have their relationships legitimized and recognized by the State, that they couldn’t enjoy tax rights and so on.'
And so on? Gosh, thanks Lucinda. I can see why Fine Gael appointed you Spokesperson for Equality.
Then she added: 'I mean loads of my friends are gay.'
That claim got my attention. In the gay community that line gets you scoffed at. The only thing she could possibly say to top it would be something like, 'I really believe Cardinal Dolan has your best interests at heart.'
So I would like to ask just two of Lucinda Creighton's many 'gay friends' to step forward and identify themselves so that they can either defend or criticize her claim that she is not homophobic. Because otherwise she's just using them to defend herself against an accusation of prejudice.
Creighton claimed she was shocked that anyone could have construed her widely reported comments last year as proof she was a homophobe. Last year she Tweeted that she did not support gay marriage, because marriage was 'primarily about children' and it's main purpose is to 'propagate & create environment for children to grow up.'
Gay couples should be treated 'fairly and justly' in matters such as tax and inheritance, but they should should only get Civil Partnership's because, she said, heterosexual marriage is 'different.' She never did explain in what ways, precisely, heterosexual marriage was 'different.' Maybe the catering wasn't as good?
By Creighton's reasoning all childless marriages aren't marriages at all. The news will come as a surprise to millions of childless heterosexual couples who have not propagated and 'created an environment for children to grow up in.'
And what about couples who are unable to procreate? Should they be barred from marriage entirely?
It's clear Creighton hasn't given a nanosecond of actual thought to her job description or, you know, the complexities of human existence. That could explain why she was appointed Fine Gael's Spokesperson for Equality. Creighton is someone who sees the virtues in inequality. Perhaps they have a thing for irony.
But I'm leery of her sudden about face on gay issues, because I suspect she's simply grasped that the issue is out of her hands.
'I believe (gay marriage equality) will go to a referendum,' Creighton said this week. 'I’ve said that before and if the Irish people vote in favor of gay marriage, I’ll vote for gay marriage in the (Parliament) to recognize that position.'
'At the moment, that is not recognized by the Constitution,' she continued, 'it’s recognized and understood to be marriage between a man and a woman. At this moment in time, that’s the definition I support.'
As we say in the gay community: Mary, please. Either you support marriage equality or you don't. Opaque sophistry about timelines, referendums and Constitutions should be scorned for what they are: cowardly evasions.
I don't believe her. I mean I believe she's lying when she says she has 'loads of gay friends' who don't want the same legal rights she enjoys herself. Who could possibly be so self-defeating and so stupid? I don't believe her when she says she supports legal equality for gays because it comes with an asterisk.
Just what decade is Lucinda Creighton living in anyway? Making the claim you have Gay/Black/Jewish/Muslim friends as a defense has for years been construed as ipso facto evidence of your homophobia, racism or sectarianism. Creighton has just made herself the Archie Bunker of Irish politics. Remember his famous claim:'I'm not racist! My best friend is black. SHE'S the racist one.'
Bunker's best black friends turned out to be shoe-shines, waiters and the people who work for him, rather than anyone he actually socialized with. I suspect the same thing applies here. Creighton's homophobia is not vindicated by knowing the odd (very odd) homosexual. If she did they would have failed spectacularly in their solemn duty to present her with a clue and that does not sound like my people.
Myself, I can imagine a night out on the town with Lucinda would go something like this:
Lucinda: 'I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. At this moment in time that is, until there's a referendum, so for the moment that’s the Constitutional definition I support.'
Me: 'Well… I would love to sit and listen to your fas-cin-ating theories about girls and boys and nature and God but I have a life and truthfully I can't bear to listen to another minute of witless half examined b.s. from another entitled national figure. G'night.'
That's not nice, but neither is being denied your legal equality by a person who has never given it any thought. The other line in her interview this week that really caught my attention was her insistence that gay marriage isn't a big deal. 'It’s not a fundamental issue for me in the way that abortion is…' she said.
It's not an issue for you? For YOU? Well that's nice, and - gosh - that's an interesting way to identify and parcel out your religious and moral objections. Abortion bad; gays whatever?
Translated from the original Creighton, she is saying that gays are a problem or we wouldn't be having this conversation, but she is not herself gay so she doesn't care what happens to them quite in the way that she cares about something that could actually happen to herself, TO HER. Get it?
This week she ostentatiously (and momentarily) left the national stage; the plain people of Ireland were given a champion. She'll back be back before you can say General Election. In Irish politics some are born great, some achieve greatness and some are groomed to lead the party whether they have the talent to or not.
But with friends like Lucinda Irish gays (and it turns out Irish women) don't need enemies.