V the K, in general I would agree with your broad statement about outing (NDT's note: V the K opposes in any circumstance). But I guess I don't see it as black and white as you do. In the situations I was referring to which I may support outing, the politician, in my opinion, has no right to privacy. These politicians have no problem taking away rights from millions of people, making their lives miserable, and otherwise violating those persons' lives at their "most basic level." I think you would have to provide a more convincing argument as to why this politician's privacy is more important than the millions of people he is trying to destroy.
V the K rebuts:
I think the idea that people's lives are being destroyed because some politicians are opposed to same-sex marriage is more than a little melodramatic.
I stand by my statement. Outing is despicable. It's far, far more personal than the number of SUV's a politician drives. If a politician's policies are wrong-headed, then defeat them by demonstrating that they are illogical, destructive, or unsupported by the facts. Just calling "hypocrisy" is an utterly juvenile tactic that says nothing about the validity of the underlying argument.
Really, the more you read these, the more you realize that Pat and V the K have found what truly is the heart of the outing debate -- does the urgency of the situation justify the tactics?
To Pat's point, what we currently have on a legislative level with several states already having passed or about to pass constitutional amendments stripping gays of rights and legalizing discrimination against them is an attack on our rights as citizens and affects literally millions of people. Obviously, the Federal Marriage Amendment represents the same on a national level. In counter to V the K, the issue is not merely that of people "opposing gay marriage"; it is about using the qualms people have about gay marriage to permanently relegate gays to the status of second-class citizens.
However, as V the K adeptly points out, outing defeats the politician, not the politician's policies. As the Ed Schrock case shows, even if allegations are sufficient to get a Congressperson to not seek re-election, the voters did not change -- and now Thelma Drake, whose record is as bad or worse than Schrock's on gay issues, has Schrock's seat and is pushing the same policies with the blessing of the electorate.
The public logic used by its supporters to justify outing to a great degree reflects the mentality of Washington, DC, where it was born. The Russians who originally colonized Alaska had a saying, "God is in His heaven, and the Tsar is far away"; that sentiment accurately describes the attitude of detachment from the sources of authority, power, and rules that is held by those inside the Beltway. Under the great Atlantis-like dome that shields them from the unwashed masses of the electorate, where all messages are controlled and legions of consultants daily refine the art of spin, the governance of the nation is easily reduced to the equivalent of office politics -- basically who you know and on whom you can step or use dirt to get higher. The reason I found "Legally Blonde 2" and its depiction of how to get a bill passed in Congress to be so hysterical was that it was such an accurate representation.
Simply put, the Beltway operates on the theory of the individual adversary -- get rid of them, and you get your way, since everyone is out for themselves and no one shares a common vision. Outing is exactly aligned with that, with the idea being that removal of the person kills the policies. However, as those of us out here in the grassroots who deal with Baptists and the like on a daily basis know, the fact that there is a backslider rarely if ever means they change their way of thinking -- it means they purge the backslider, through whatever means (including "fixing" them). The "policy" (theology) is supreme; when people can't live up to it, that's their problem.
In this context, in addition to the obvious issue of privacy, outing people is futile -- it has little to no effect on the electorate in terms of re-evaluating stances on gay rights. However, it DOES reinforce the use of sexual orientation as a legitimate weapon -- as well as the stereotype of gays trying to "covertly infiltrate" the government to "push their agenda". Furthermore, it alienates and enrages, especially when applied on a partisan basis, the people whose support is needed to actually advance gay rights -- those who believe that sexuality is no one else's business.
Finally, from a pragmatic viewpoint, the last thing that being gay needs to be associated with is being a hypocrite. The best way to eliminate the threat of the FMA is to one-by-one face down and back off the state antigay constitutional amendments, not by calling the people pushing them names and trying to find "hypocrisy", but by simply pointing out that their actions, even if they may not intend them to be, are discriminating against people like me. As GayPatriotWest wisely blogged, we need to look less for things to criticize and more for things and ideas to build commonality. The opposition to the FMA comes from many angles, but the point is the same -- the FMA is wrong and should be opposed. Outing cannot and will never accomplish anything other than alienation and fear.