carrieIt was unusually satisfying to watch beauty contestant turned Bible-thumper Carrie Prejean crash and burn. In the bat of an eyelash, she went from Christian role model to wannabe underwear model after racy pictures of her surfaced. “They were quite inappropriate and certainly not photos befitting a beauty queen,” Alicia Jacobs, a Miss USA judge, told NBC’ Today Show.

The verb “strip” is the one most associated with Prejean’ name these days. She stripped her clothes, may be stripped of her Miss California crown and was certainly stripped of her moral authority as a spokesperson for marriage. In her brief stint as America’ scold, she forgot to memorize one Bible passage: “Judge not lest thou be judged.”

What’ amazing is that the circus-like antics of Prejean are the rule, not the exception for today’ anti-gay activists. There has clearly been a brain drain among our opponents — with the conservative intelligentsia largely running from GLBT issues. Filling the vacuum, are the vacuous — with little to offer, other than comedic relief.

For example, Joe the Plumber plunged into culture wars with his usual thoughtful advice: “I personally still think it’s wrong…you know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do–what man and woman are for…I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children.”

Joe the Plumber looked like Einstein compared to Maine Rep. Bernard Ayotte (R). During a state House debate on marriage equality (passed 89-58), Ayotte said that he couldn’t support the legislation because it would provide legal protections to people whom he said suffered from hormonal imbalances.

“By all indications, homosexuality in human beings seems to be generated by imbalances in the human body,” Ayotte said. “As legislators, it is important that we do not base our statutes on genetic aberrations.” Even by the low standards set by anti-gay activists, this level of ignorance was shocking, yet indicative of how far the quality of our opponents has fallen.

Joining the chorus of anti-gay clowns was former Washington, DC mayor Marion Barry, best remembered for smoking crack and allowing the city’ rats to grow as large as cats. A longtime gay rights supporter, he was the lone city councilman to vote against a bill, passed 12-1, to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the District.

“All hell is going to break lose,” Barry predicted. “We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this.” Columnist Leonard Pitts summarized Barry’ political cowardice when he said the former mayor “punked out.”

Sharing the anti-gay spotlight was caustic talk show host Michael Savage and the Kansas preacher noted for picketing military funerals with “God Hates Fags” signs, Fred Phelps and his wife, Shirley. They were banned from visiting England and publicly scorned for their bigoted views. While I do not agree with their banishment (neither do civil liberties groups), it does force social conservatives into the PR nightmare of having to turn Savage and Phelps into “creep celebres.”

Even the “mainstream” anti-gay activists seem to have come unhinged. In stating his opposition to federal hate crime legislation, James Dobson appeared in a video where he falsely claimed that the inclusion of “sexual orientation” opened the door to, “bisexuality, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual masochism, voyeurism, bestiality.” Dobson added for effect, “I have to ask, “have we all gone completely mad?'”

Oddly enough, Dobson lives in Colorado, one of twelve states that have a hate crime law offering protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are also 31 states that offer such protection based solely on sexual orientation. In these 43 states, can Dobson point to a problem with hate crime laws being applied to necrophilia or bestiality? If not, his bizarre and paranoid ranting says more about his overactive imagination, than it does about the reality of such laws.

Of course, for the sake of sheer amusement, we can’t leave out the absurdity of Bristol Palin hawking abstinence. With baby in-tow and embittered ex-boyfriend on tail, she is the poster girl for the social conservative mantra: “do as I say, not as I do.”

Let me reiterate, so you can fully appreciate and savor the situation. The new faces of social conservatism are: Carrie Prejean, Joe the Plumber, Marion Barry, Bernard Ayotte, Michael Savage, Fred Phelps and Bristol Palin. With such luminaries, it should be no surprise that the GLBT community has had a string of incredible victories. Somewhere in the process of passing the torch to the next generation, anti-gay activists have stumbled and are in danger of burning down the homophobic house.