Harness the horses! Gather the forces! We’re going to culture war!

The culture war is a construct used to obscure the fact that there are actual people affected by these supposedly abstract debates over rights and government action. That those NOM ads weren’t only talking about something judges and legislators were doing, but about the lives of individuals, our neighbors.

Take Pepsi. PepsiCo made contributions to the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG totalling $1 million last year, in the face of a letter from the American Family Association asking the company “to remain neutral in this culture war, neither supporting nor opposing the homosexual agenda.” In other words, don’t root for the Yankees or the Dodgers, Harvard or Yale, the Black Spy or the White Spy.

Thing is, if the Dodgers lose, you can wait till next year (and I say that as a Brooklynite). If real people can’t get married (which these days seems to be what people mean when they use the phrase “homosexual agenda”), that’s not something to simply shrug your shoulders about—just ask Laurel Hester, who had take time out of her busy dying-from-cancer schedule to fight to get her partner survivor benefits. That’s not abstract political games, an issue to debate for the pleasure of debating.

Furthermore, I’m not sure there is a neutral. I’m neutral; I don’t have any close out friends or relatives in jurisdictions without same-sex marriage, so I have no dog in this fight. Which is why I’m pro-SSM: I am not affected directly or at one remove, so why should it bother me? So the AFA wasn’t really asking Pepsi to stay out. They were asking Pepsi to take a definitive stand against gay rights.