Kirchick on the Gay Friendly Communist

James Kirchick has a great piece in the Advocate on the championing by that scion of the Cuban monarchy, Mariela Castro Espín, of gay rights:

Like Sean Penn, who has also emerged of late as a self-styled advocate for gay rights, Mariela Castro Espín has a serious blind spot. It is the failure, so pervasive and persistent throughout human history, to understand that no political system — regardless of how wonderful in theory or the marvelous claims it makes for itself — can be considered humane as long as it inherently denies fundamental rights like freedom of conscience and speech, the ability to practice religion, vote for one’s leaders, and earn a living commensurate with one’s talents and abilities.

“Being considered a lesbian would not be an insult to me,” Espín told The Advocate. “Being considered corrupt would be.” Her first concern is of but prurient interest. As for her second, by proudly embracing a moral stain as a badge of honor, it’s far too late. Gay rights are human rights, and if one is not an advocate for human rights, as Mariela Castro is most certainly not, one cannot be an advocate for gay rights, no matter how well disposed toward gay and lesbian people one may be.

Let’s posit, for the sake of argument, that Cuban gays truly earned equal rights. No doubt the Cuban regime’s apologists would point to its supposedly “progressive” attitude, contrasting it favorably to the Christian yahoos who run the United States. But even if Cuba legalized gay marriage tomorrow — a highly dubious prospect — it would still be a dictatorship. No matter the degree to which the status of homosexuals in Cuba improves under the communist regime, Cuban gays — like Cuban straights — would still be thrown into prison for daring to tell an anti-Castro joke. They still would not be able to organize peaceful demonstrations against government policies, never mind vote in a free election. More fundamentally, they still would not be able to leave the island of their own volition.

What sort of freedom is this?

That is the liberal analysis, and I share it.