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I knew it the first time I saw Tim Gunn, the charming and obviously gay host of Project Runway
, pitching some kind of laundry product on daytime TV. It wasn't a PC Hollywood move. Nor was it something propagated by the usual lefty suspects. Here was a big business deciding -- strictly for monetary reasons -- that a gay man was the best person to pitch the housewives of middle America. It was like GM deciding to use Sidney Poitier to sell Buicks in 1965.
Most people already know that gay rights are here to stay. The tradition of discrimination in America always follows the same path. We start out deciding that [Insert Name of Oppressed Group Here] is inhuman or unholy. Then enough people wake up and think, "Naah, I really don't have a beef with those guys." The old guard, the conservatives, and certain religious groups fight back, clinging to prejudice until they're finally overrun by public opinion. It happens the same way every time. And when Tim Gunn is shilling laundry detergent, you know it's happening right now for gay rights.
Which is nice for Nashville Councilwoman Megan Barry and her cohorts. She's about to launch a new attempt to extend employment rights to gay and lesbian metro workers
. The last one went down in smoke in 2003. And once again, all the guardians of virtue will rise up against it. But this time it will be different.
Gay rights are commonplace in cities across America. And they'll soon be commonplace in Nashville. That's because rights always triumph in America. They may take a long time, but they do triumph. Ask a history book. So the only question now is whether we're going to look good and get out of the way, or keep looking like morons for prolonging the inevitable.