Could there be a worse spokesman for gay rights than Sean Penn? During his acceptance speech last night, he sarcastically described Academy voters as "commie, homo-loving sons of guns." I know Penn was trying to make a joke about his own far-left politics. Still, unlike Sean Penn, most people who support gay rights do not also support communists. And communists do not generally have a good record on gay rights. (As Jamie pointed out in December, the specific communist regime that Penn seems to have a lot of affection for--Castro-led Cuba--has an especially bad history in this regard.) I obviously appreciated Penn's plea for marriage equality, which came later in his speech. But if he really wanted to help the cause, he might have given some thought to how his words--a chance to connect with millions of viewers across the country--would sound to the people we still have to win over: moderate voters who need to be persuaded that gay rights are consistent with American values. My guess is that lumping gays with communists doesn't help.

--Richard Just