There is a baffling trend, amongst my fellow social liberals to call someone a homosexual as if it is some sort of insult. For example, Marcus Bachmann, the husband of politician Michele Bachmann is often referred to as being obviously flamingly gay. This is supposed to be ironically funny, of course, as he is involved with conversion therapy, and "haha, it obviously didn't take with him".
A caveat here: I love ironic humor. I will ironically use stereotypes in my humor, because I think that they are ludicrous. However, I don't think this has any place in political debates, as it detracts from very valid and contentious issues. If you want to intelligently talk about politics, that's awesome. If you want to inject humor in it, that's also cool. But, please realize that not everyone gets irony. Not everyone will read the nuance of meaning involved with repeating stereotypes you do not believe in.
Back to Marcus Bachmann. When someone jokes about Bachmann being gay, this actually can cause some harm. One, it reinforces stereotypes that all gay men act in a certain flamboyant manner. This reinforces the ideas that certain bigoted people have about gay men (and relatedly, others in the gay community) acting in one way, which reduces a group of individuals to just the group. It's easier to hate a group than an individual, because groups do not inherently impress us with their humanity.
In addition, it would be one thing if we have proof that Bachmann is gay, and so therefore would highlight his hypocrisy. However, we don't have any proof of that. The only "evidence" is some campy behavior on his part. If someone points at that and conclusively says he's gay and a hypocrite, then they are being a bigot themselves. Maybe he likes behaving that way, and resents that he's called a homosexual because of it. Maybe that's where his dislike of homosexuals comes from? Who knows? I certainly don't know the man, and don't have proof one way or the other about his sexual orientation.
Look, I'm not here to defend this guy. I think he's an asshole, and that his wife is an asshole, and anyone who supports conversion therapy is an asshole. I don't think calling Marcus Bachmann gay is anything but a point to get cheap laughs.
This also applies to Santorum. I think Santorum is one of the slimiest assholes in politics today. I have more respect for the alternate definition of his name than I do for him. However, just because he speaks against homosexuality does not make him a closeted fag. Attacking someone as being something that you would normally defend is the height of illogical and disorganized thinking to me.
Do you remember when Kagan was first being considered for the Supreme Court? Lazy pundits on Fox News, when they couldn't come up with anything better, said that she played softball and disliked bratwurst. Oh, hahahaha, she's a lesbian! That's so hysterical!
That's what people sound like when they ironically trash talk an anti-gay politician as being gay. They're making fun of someone for their perceived homosexuality, and therefore their perceived hypocrisy. There's enough to criticize there already, you know? We don't actually have to insult them by calling them gay. We can insult them for being bigoted, ignorant, assholes. I think that's good enough.