At least twice in the past month the New York Times has published stories with the basic theme, The American Public Is Way Out in Front of Politicians on Gay Rights.
At the end of May there was Matt Bai’s piece in the Times Magazine asking the musical question, “How did Washington miss the generational shift toward gay marriage?” Bai also made this observation:
On gay rights, localities and courts have dragged national politicians toward what would seem to be an inevitable social reckoning.
Fast forward to yesterday’s Times front page, which featured a piece headlined, “Political Shifts on Gay Rights Are Lagging Behind Culture.”
The conflicting signals from the White House about its commitment to gay issues reflect a broader paradox: even as cultural acceptance of homosexuality increases across the country, the politics of gay rights remains full of crosscurrents.
The “cultural acceptance of homosexuality” might be eluding the political world, but it increasingly includes the advertising arena. Coincidentally or not, yesterday’s Times also ran a “special advertising feature” headlined “Stonewall 40 Years Later.”
And what did we find imbedded in a cursory essay – read, advertorial – about the landmark 1969 insurgency against a New York City police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar? Go figure – laudatory references to the special advertising feature’s sponsors, each of which also ran a traditional ad in the two-page spread.
ABC Carpet & Home (“All employees, regardless of race or sexual preference, are treated equally”)
The Visionaire condominium (“has attracted gay owners who want a building that is both luxurious and state-of-the-art in terms of being ‘green'”)
Olivia Cruises and Resorts (“The safe space for women created by 1970s music festivals [has] found a new venue”)
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Convention & Visitor Bureau (“Fort Lauderdale has over 30 gay-owned guesthouses and over 150 gay-owned businesses”)
Moral of the story: The politics of gay rights might be business as usual, but business, in the end, is just business.