(LW pic from Philly Pride Parade, June 2014)
Sen. Paul courting gay votes or is it the same two-steppin’ GOP moves?
Earlier this month, at an event in Iowa, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) sent his first gay weather balloon up, sort of regarding his position(s) on marriage equality — he DID support a constitutional amendment defining man/woman only, but if the GOP wanted to win elections they had to have to be more inclusive… that they might, as a party have to at least be willing to agree to disagree.</p>
“I mean, many of these people joined the Republican Party because of these social issues. So I don’t think we can completely flip.” Paul said. Fred Sainz, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, told MetroWEEKLY that Paul’s comments have proved puzzling. “I can’t decide whether to be disturbed or pleased, so I’ve settled on confused,” he said. Fred is more diplomatic than I am. I’m just pissed at Sen. Paul’s smug ambiguity. His song has been sung with different verses so many times before by politicians of both parties, but the GOP has the worst record on saying they want a ‘bigger tent’ and collapsing that tent once they get in.
In 2000, for instance, at the Republican Convention in Philadelphia, at a press event hosted by the Log Cabin Republicans ostensibly to congratulate itself on the headway it had made courting the GOP, who in turn was starting to count gay votes for George W. Bush. David Greer, then head of the PA Log Cabins who I interviewed for an oped piece in the Advocate (Who’s Afraid of Gay Republicans?) told me that a Bush campaign would welcome qualified personnel who happened to be gay into the “highest echelons of the administration.” Meanwhile, across town on the convention center floor the party was scrubbing an suggestion of pro-gay civil rights language from their platform. Even the loyal and deluded Log Cabin Republicans have given up on believing GOP’s lies about acceptance and tolerance.
Sen. Paul may think he courting a more moderate voting bloc, but, it is in the most cynical way and gay America knows it. If he really feels non-condemning toward gays why isn’t he railing against the 63 Texas GOP legislators who just endorsed “conversion therapy” methods to de-gay youth. Bet they still have those electro-shock kits from the ’50s stashed away.
The GOP makes much fodder out of Barack Obama’s “evolution” on gay marriage, to cover any charges that their party alone is homophobic. The president has turned his page big time and has done more to advance GLBTQ civil-rights initiatives starting with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and a host of other gay rights initiative. Yet in 2014 we have to hear from the crazed right wing of your party theories about the ruination of straight marriage, indeed, the collapse of America if marriage equality goes national . Wait, I just remembered, I thought that was supposed to happen with the repeal of D*A*D*T*?
Paul’s two-stepping is bad enough, but the soon to be retired, rabidly antigay Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) isn’t so cautious anymore. In an interview with a Christian radio station she proclaimed that the gay “agenda” is to do away with consent laws and that we will promote pedophilia. For this statement alone, Bachmann should be answering to the American people on the floor of Congress. But, because she is viewed as a religious conservative, she gets a pass from her colleagues of both parties.
I wonder if Bachmann or even Paul ever heard of decorated Marine Eric Alva, the first soldier wounded in Iraq, or would care that he is gay and fought for their freedoms on the front line? I wonder if they know that before Edith Windsor won her DOMA case, she took care of her lover Thea, who had progressive multiple sclerosis for 30 years. Windsor had to sue to keep the assets that they had earned together because they were not recognized at the time as a couple in New York.
Course, Bachmann and Paul don’t want to talk about any achievements contributions of GLBTQ artists, writers, scholars, lawyers, doctors, teachers, community leaders, police, senators or even their own colleagues in a respectful way. GLBTQ American citizen who contribute inestimably every day while bigoted ‘preachers’ and politicians are feverishly working to marginalize us.
What would Bachmann have to say face to face to Sgt. Alva? Would she be just as condemning as when she is spouting hate speech from a radio booth wrapped in her barbed – wire flag, bible in hand? And what nerve for you Sen. Rand Paul to think you can politically frame a civil-rights movement that started over 50 years ago? Can you tell us what you have ever put forward that expressed any truth about GLBTQ Americans that you should expect even one vote from us