Homophobic Politicians, Enlightened Wives: Why Are Women Always the Better Half?S

Props to Cindy McCain for supporting gay marriage. Ditto Elizabeth Edwards, back in the day. But their husbands remain(ed) recalcitrant. Are political wives more liberal, or are they just saying what their husbands are too chicken to admit?

Cindy recently joined NOH8, the anti-Proposition 8 campaign that her daughter Meghan joined back when California could still reject the gay marriage ban. So Cindy's a little late to the game, but between her, Meghan, and Elizabeth, I think we're ready to make the leap: If we view political families, on some level, as a reflection of the politician, then why can't we do it the other way around? And if we do, then what do we make of these women's support for gay rights?

The sample size is admittedly small—it's no stretch to imagine the coincidence of two wives more liberal than their husbands. But "hate," even when it's spelled with a number, is a strong word. I'd be interested to know if Cindy and Meghan think Senator McCain's stubborn opposition to gay marriage is hateful. I'd be willing to bet they do—and that, on some level, he recognizes it, too. The McCains and Edwardses are enlightened, educated folks who have dedicated their lives to knowing and understanding others—including gay men and women. I find it hard to believe that the only members of these McCain and Edwards families who don't think gays deserve equal rights just happen to be the politicians. Isn't it more likely that what's holding John and John back is cowardice—that they're too afraid to cross the corpus of homophobes holding civil rights hostage. And that's wrong.

Remember when Ellen DeGeneres confronted John McCain about his stance on gay marriage? (video here) He averts eye contact and talks about "belief." But John McCain isn't a man of notable public belief; he once told reporters, "The most important thing is that I'm a Christian. And I don't have anything else to say on the issue." If it's not religion, then what "belief" is holding John McCain back from embracing the values his loved ones so vocally hold? Let's return to that awkward interview with Ellen, where McCain nods along as Ellen likens gay marriage to women's suffrage and black voting rights. "I along with many, many others wish you every happiness," he says, the key phrase being "many, many others." Like his well wishes for Ellen, McCain's gay marriage position comes from "others," the noisy homophobes who have taken over his base.

So Cindy and Meghan: If you're really against H8, direct your noise toward the influential man of power you are uniquely poised to win over. Convince John McCain to rescind his hateful position on gay marriage. It'll mean less than if he'd said it in an election year, but better late than never, right? This is the civil rights battle of my (and Meghan's) generation, and you know it. Are you really going to let a loved one go down in history with bigots?

As for John and Liz, well, that pooch is already screwed. Guess this one's on the McCains.

Final query: Is it a coincidence that these two couples are also in the public eye over marital woes?