This Saturday afternoon, in the aftermath of a number of arrests by the National Parks Service in the gay cruising grounds of Fire Island, your intrepid reporter camped out in some fairly short shorts with a book and waited for more drama to unfurl. It was sort of like going undercover, but not really?
But first, a note! Gay publications (including The Advocate, but also Next and Edge) have happily quoted the Department of the Interior’s assertion that “no arrests were made.” This is parroted by Fire Island residents with the sort of relief that any kind of denial brings. Quick, to West’s Encyclopedia of American Law! “[T]he detention of a person need not be accompanied by formal words of arrest or a station house booking to constitute an arrest.” If you are not free to leave—for instance, if you are in handcuffs, and a federal agent is searching your pockets—you are most decidedly under arrest. So, for starters, it’s a shame that the National Park Service is lying and that gay publications believe it.