Political Hay

Nancy Pelosi Ducks

A double standard -- or a stealth agenda? Social conservatives might want to pay attention.

By 10.13.06

Nancy Pelosi's office decided not to respond.

After three phone calls to the office of the San Francisco Democrat who will be the Speaker of the U.S. House if her party wins the November elections, she ducked.

When Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider was told that the subject of the call was Pelosi's participation in the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade -- the welcoming tone on the other end turned frosty. Having written the original column in this space that revealed Pelosi had marched in the parade that honored man/boy love advocate Harry Hay ("When Nancy Met Harry"), I have to say I was not all that surprised. After all, if you're busy charging the House Republican leadership with a "cover-up of Foley's internet stalking" (Crider's words as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle) of teenage boys, the last thing you would want anybody to notice is that your boss found it just ducky to lend her support to the honoring of a man who was famous for talking about men having relationships with "the nine-year-old, the eleven-year- old, the twelve-year-old, the fourteen-year-old...."

This is embarrassing stuff when elections outside the moral cloudiness of San Francisco hang in the balance. If you're a Democrat in Pennsylvania or Montana or Indiana -- actually a Democrat just about anywhere outside of the City by the Bay -- this will not help you win points. To confess that your first vote as a freshman Democrat in Congress will be to put someone in the Speaker's chair who is apparently afraid to condemn Harry Hay's philosophy even after the man is dead for fear of angering his supporters -- this is a tough sell to all those Soccer Moms and Dads with boys.

BUT THERE IS A SECOND QUESTION that this incident with Nancy and Harry brings to the fore. A question that goes far, far beyond Pelosi's double standard.

Remember Bill Clinton's November Surprise?

After spending the 1992 presidential campaign relentlessly campaigning on the idea that, in the memorable words of Clinton campaign manager James Carville, "it's the economy, stupid," a newly elected Clinton, not even settled into the White House, suddenly came forth with something else entirely as his first legislative issue.

Gays in the military.

Writing in his memoirs, ex-Clinton aide and now ABC-TV Sunday morning anchor George Stephanopoulos labeled gays in the military "the stealth issue of the 1992 campaign." Clinton had religiously ignored the issue in large public settings. There was no mention of it in his convention acceptance speech, the candidate never said a word about it in his debates with then-President George H.W. Bush, and no Clinton campaign commercials ever touched the subject. What he did say, Stephanopoulos writes, was said at quiet "fundraisers before gay groups and in a questionnaire for the Human Rights Campaign Fund." And that was it.

Yet on November 5, 1992, a mere two days after the election, the New York Times gleefully headlined a story this way: "GAY AREAS ARE JUBILANT OVER CLINTON." Suddenly, with the election safely over, the Times told its readers not that the election had great meaning for "the economy, stupid." No, what readers were now told was that the election was "a historic moment in the history of gay politics" and that the gay rights movement would be "full and open partners in the government." Six days after that story, on November 11, the specifics began to come clear. The first item on this "stealth" agenda was, according to the Times front-page headline: "CHALLENGING THE MILITARY." Reported the paper: "In saying today that he would honor his campaign pledge to lift the military's ban on homosexuals, President-elect Bill Clinton is challenging one of the military's most entrenched traditions."

Sworn into office a little over two months later, the issue instantly became Clinton's first legislative fight, astounding those who had bought into Carville's "it's the economy, stupid" line. It set off a battle royal between Clinton and military traditionalists, led by the unlikely combination of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, Senate Armed Services Chairman Sam Nunn (D-GA), and Senate President Pro Tem Robert Byrd of West Virginia. The last-named, according to Stephanopoulos, confronted Clinton personally at the White House, insisting that such a move "will lead to same-sex marriages and homosexuals in the Boy Scouts."

Byrd was nothing if not prescient. Fourteen years later the issue of same-sex marriages is the court-ordered law in Massachusetts, quickly forcing the Bush White House to endorse a constitutional amendment banning them. A number of individual states haven't bothered to wait, frantically putting the issue on statewide ballots and amending their own constitutions to thwart court decisions that would undermine the centuries old tradition of marriage between a man and a woman. As to the Boy Scouts, their insistence on maintaining a policy of heterosexuals-only as scoutmasters spent the Clinton-era being taken all the way to the Supreme Court. In a narrow, 5-4 decision written by then Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court decided in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that the Scouts had a right to set their own standards for scoutmasters. Still, in a number of localities the venerable organization has been pilloried as a gathering of bigots, its commercial or religious sponsors withdrawing from sponsorship. Little noticed at the time, when there was a move in the House to revoke the Boy Scouts' charter over the issue of admitting gay scoutmasters Pelosi ducked that one too by voting "present."

SO HOW DOES ALL OF THIS relate to Pelosi's refusal to condemn San Francisco's favorite advocate of man/boy love?

There is a growing realization that l'affaire Foley has, unexpectedly and with potentially stunning long-term political consequences, turned a premature and decidedly unwelcome national spotlight on what many consider to be the next "gay liberation" issue after same-sex marriage and gay adoption: the eventual legalization of man-boy love.

One need do no more than look northward to Canada and you will find the newly elected Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper fighting off an effort by Canada's most prominent gay rights group, Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE), to have the age of consent for gay sex lowered to 16 from 18. Take a trip to the Canadian LifeSiteNews.com, tap in "age of consent" and you will find this headline: GAY ACTIVISTS ASK CANADA TO LOWER AGE OF CONSENT FOR ANAL SEX, NATIONAL POST AGREES. The story begins this way:

Homosexual activists have long sought to distance themselves from pedophiles, however Canada's most prominent homosexual activist group has now demanded the lowering (of) the age of consent for anal sex to 16 from 18. Surprisingly, Canada's National Post, regarded by some as a 'conservative' paper, has come out in favor of the proposal.

The article goes on to quote a Canadian gay activist as saying, "There's no reason to treat anal sex differently than other sexual acts except to stigmatize gay and bisexual men."

In other words, lowering the age of consent to allow young boys to be the sexual partners of older men -- men like Mark Foley - is being presented not, as it now is with the vast majority of Americans, as an issue of sexual predators and child molesting. The objective is to transform it into an issue of discrimination -- a civil right.

Which brings us back to when Nancy met Harry -- and her refusal to take the opportunity I offered her office, three times -- to distance both Pelosi and the Democratic Party from Harry Hay's agenda for America, an agenda that we now know is being actively pushed on the Canadian government by the powerful Canadian gay rights movement.

WHAT PRECISELY COULD A LEFT-WING gay rights agenda, sprung as a surprise after the November election as Bill Clinton did back in 1992, actually do about this with the control of a Democratic Congress headed by a Speaker Pelosi and a Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? After all, the age of consent in the United States is frequently a state, not a federal issue.

Ironically, the very first thing they could do would have let Mark Foley himself off the legal hook. Foley is in potentially serious legal trouble because he may have violated a federal law that forbids communication over the Internet (those pesky salacious e-mails) for the purposes of enticing a minor -- defined as under the age of 18 -- to be involved in a criminal sexual act. Another: missing children. It is currently against federal law to transport a minor -- again, a child under the age of 18 -- across state lines to engage in criminal sexual acts.

There's more, of course. But the question is how could Pelosi and her Harry Hay-minded allies use her power as Speaker to do this? Lowering the age of consent would be the charge of the House Judiciary Committee. In a Pelosi-led House that would mean a Judiciary Committee chaired by same-sex marriage and gay adoption advocate Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). On the Senate side it would be heard by a Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Vermont, of course, is the very liberal home of the first civil union legislation in the nation, signed by then-Governor Howard Dean, now the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

So does the repeated refusal of Nancy Pelosi to apologize or back away from her connection to the late Harry Hay's agenda have any meaning for the future of America beyond just another tired double standard? What do you think?

Tell me again why social conservatives want to sit this one out?

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.