Sex, Marriage, and Politics


Arkansas couple, 1935. LOC.

Reset: widen the lens of public peeking to include Mark Sanford’s bizarre actions and violations of court orders, Marion Barry’s embrace of marriage, sex, and romance; Newt Gingrich’s serial marriages and infamous hospital visit; John McClain’s one month quickie divorce when he returned to find his wife badly disfigured by a tragic car accident; even Barney Frank’s live-in boyfriend.

Add to the collage of the moral challenged, Gary Hart (his lover became a spokesmodel for “No Excuses” jeans!), former NJ governor Jim McGreevey who resigned after discovering by scandal that he was a “gay American,” (to the chagrin of his wife who knew when we knew). SC senator Strom Thurmond breached the inter-racial taboo. The current governor of Washington openly acknowledges being bi-sexual and is married to a man (the governor is a woman). New York mayors and candidates have shown powerful impulses that touch unusual corners of sex and marriage; some we applaud, one we roundly condemn. (In the new media environment, are pictures to strangers worse or no different than physical intimate contact?)

Given such a long parade of relationships and public responses (changing over time), it’s clear sex and marriage have parted course from women’s rights (except pre-nups and divorce settlements!), which are rightly focused on reproductive rights, control over their bodies, safety issues of harm and assault tied to gender, work place conditions, and wage gaps for the same work.

The Clintons’ Secret Language – The New York Times


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