The latest protestation from those who favor amending the federal constitution to ban civil marriage for gay couples is that they are not bigots. Some have a good point. Sincerely believing that it's better for society that only heterosexual couples should have the right to marry is not inherently bigoted. There's an argument there, not just a prejudice or feeling. In Virtually Normal, I take pains to take this argument seriously, as it should be taken. Calling someone a bigot because she disagrees with you is not an argument. It's just an insult - like calling someone a pervert.

Nevertheless, when opponents of marriage rights for gays never even mention gays in their arguments, never address some of the legitimate concerns that many gay couples have, and refuse even to allow minimal domestic partnerships that allow us to visit one another in hospital without the threat of other family members intervening, then I think we're onto territory where complete uninterest in the fate of gay people blurs into bigotry. To have no social policy toward gays, except that they should repent or be cured or shut up, is a function of profound disrespect, intelligible only through the prism of prejudice. The same might be said of a blanket ban on all gay seminarians, regardless of their qualifications for the priesthood, the quality of their vocations, or their adherence to celibacy. Sometimes a bigot really is a bigot. Even when he's the Pope.