If you're educated, you'll vote for gay politicians. That was the underlying message of the Time's article "Europe's Gay Leaders: Out at the Top" by William Lee Adams. Adams based his premise on the worn out stereotype that conservatives lack forward-thinking skills - or perhaps any thinking skills whatsoever - and need to be educated by progressive liberals such as himself. (And since we're dwelling on stereotypes, note that the first sentence above used only eight words to summarize what Adams, like a typical pontificating liberal, took 1,867 words to say.)
Adams argued in his article that Iceland, which elected Johanna Sigurdardottir last year - the world's first gay leader, was an "extremely homophobic" country until its citizens were given an "education."
"Over the last 30 years," Adams wrote. "Samtokin '78, a Reykjavik-based gay-rights organization, worked with the national media to produce news programs that gave gay men and women a human face, and acquainted the public with the prejudice gays encounter. Activists visited high schools to create gay role models and counter stereotypes. By 1996 the country had legalized gay civil unions, and Sigurdardottir had served as a Cabinet minister. Today, only 6% of Icelandic clergymen say they would refuse to perform a gay marriage."
And Adams failed to find any of them - or anyone else hesitant to celebrate gay pols - for his article. America, Adams concluded, needs just such an education. The country that's fallen behind its peers in the race towards sexual equality. And who's to blame for that?
"Religious conservatives," of course.
The "attitudes" of these conservatives - notice he doesn't refer to them as deep-seated religious beliefs - Adams claimed, destroy the political aspirations of America's homosexuals. He quoted Denis Dison, the spokesman for Victory Fund, "an organization that offers financial support to gay political candidates," who said that "it's hard for [gay politicians] to even go into a town hall meeting or public forum because they get such nasty questions."
In Adams' ideal world, Americans wouldn't even point out - much less focus on the sexuality of their candidates, just like in the case of Iceland's new Prime Minister.
"The Icelandic media didn't mention Sigurdardottir's sexuality for days," Adams wrote. "Sure, she was gay and had entered a civil partnership with another woman in 2002. But Icelanders hardly seemed to notice."
Adams quoted Margret Bjornsdottir, the director of the Institute for Public Administration and Politics at the University of Iceland who said that "the media silence echoed the sentiment of the public. Nobody cared about her sexual orientation. Being gay is a nonissue here. It's considered unremarkable."
Such should be the progressive aspirations of America, according to Adams, and it can be achieved by instituting "Europe's liberal laws."
"Eighteen European countries," he wrote, "allow gay marriage or same-sex civil unions, and gay couples in nine countries can adopt children."
It's these laws, Adams argued, that have "largely normalized perceptions of gays" across Europe and, according to Christopher Girard, the openly gay deputy mayor of Paris, have "forced respect."
Of course Adams failed to mention that over half of the United States has already clearly voiced its opinion on gay marriage with laws of its own. So far, thirty states have added defense of traditional marriage amendments to their constitution.