Gay Republicans Remain Hopeful


Right Wing Watch notes that while Tony Perkins has been bragging to anyone who would listen that the Family Research Council had enormous influence over the Republican party platform, gay Republican groups remain hopeful that the tide is turning in their favor. Peter Montgomery attended an event hosted by two of those groups and got some interesting quotes:

“[I]t’s a whole new world out there” and in the Republican Party, says former member of Congress Jim Kolbe, who was “outed” while in office. He contends that the kind of resistance to LGBT equality that is reflected in this year’s platform is a generational issue — “the last gasp of the conservatives,” he calls it — and boldly predicts that this is the last year in which the platform will contain such language. When I suggest that if Ralph Reed’s turnout operation among conservative evangelicals does as much for the Republicans in November as Reed hopes, the party is not likely to turn its backs on the anti-gay religious right base, Kolbe shrugs and says both parties appeal to their bases for turnout. “We will have the victory,” he says.

Sarah Longwell, who serves on the Leadership Committee for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, affirms that it was disappointing that Perkins, who is “brutally anti-gay,” was basically allowed to write the part of the platform pertaining to marriage and LGBT rights…

Those hoping for the GOP to embrace equality do have a point about generational change. Polling shows that equality is making gains among individual Republicans, especially those under the age of 44, who are now about evenly split on the question of marriage equality. Longwell points to the key role played by Republicans who joined Democrats in advancing marriage equality in New York, New Hampshire, and other states. Longwell says she believes that the crass anti-gay wedge politics employed by the GOP in 2004 played a role in encouraging Republicans like Dick Cheney, Ken Mehlman, and Laura Bush to be more outspoken in their support for marriage equality. If 2004 was a turning point, she says, 2012 could be a “tipping point,” at which shifting public opinion makes overt anti-gay politicking unfeasible. “You can’t demagogue gay people forever.” Perkins, however, may have a different opinion on that, and no small measure of power in the G.O.P.

They’re right, the Republican party is going to have to confront this sooner or later. I’d bet on sooner. Given the trends in public opinion on gay rights, by 2016 their positions are going to start looking a lot like the Dixiecrats 40 years ago. But how do they join the 21st century on that issue without losing their religious right base, which prefers to inhabit the 19th century? That’s the million dollar question.

Comments

  1. d cwilson says

    Excuse the Godwin, but I think it’s time to say it:

    Being a gay republican is akin to being a Jewish nazi. We’ve already had several instances of republican elected officials calling for putting gays into camps. How anyone could ever join a party whose clear majority views them as subhumans not deserving even basic rights, much less marriage rights is complete mystery to me.

  2. frog says

    If we’re lucky, the Republican party splits and we have a viable three-party environment.

    I don’t think this would cede the country to the Democrats, because there are a lot of people currently listing as Independent (or even Democrat!) who would align with a party that resembles the Republicans of 40 years ago.

  3. says

    The million dollar question indeed. Just as women’s rights rose in the public acceptance – until they fell again – I fear that LGBTQ progress could be rolled back if the Republicans get elected. Even if people cannot swallow the RR ticket, if they fill the house and senate with these religious fanatics, it would be even worse.

  4. Dennis N says

    But how do they join the 21st century on that issue without losing their religious right base, which prefers to inhabit the 19th century? That’s the million dollar question.

    I’m not sure on the specifics, but I can assure you it will involve a lot of lies and historical revision, just like everything else they do to ease their cognitive dissonance.

  5. tbp1 says

    Wow, talk about delusional people trapped in an abusive relationship!

    Of course, there’s nothing about being gay that determines one’s ideas about fiscal policy, or guns control, or immigration, or much of anything, really, outside of a narrow range of issues dealing with sexuality. Still, though, they are basically cozying up to people who think of them as sub-human, in some cases people who literally think they should be killed merely for existing.

    I learned in high school that I really wasn’t going to win over someone who just hated me on irrational grounds. A pity they haven’t learned that lesson.

    Maybe with the generational shift, as with race issues, as the article suggests. But IMHO, the GOP is still racist to the core, they’re just pretending not to be while winking at their base. I think that even if they eventually give lip service to gay rights, their commitment will be just as false as their commitment to racial equality.

  6. says

    Thats why I despise GOProud. The party of their choice hates them. So gay republicans are ok with their parties attack on women? and the Poor? And minorities? Fuck u GOProud. Fighting for your rights while remaining in the party just makes you another ‘I Got Mine Fuck You’ faction of authoritarian motherfuckers

  7. Jordan Genso says

    frog

    I don’t think this would cede the country to the Democrats, because there are a lot of people currently listing as Independent (or even Democrat!) who would align with a party that resembles the Republicans of 40 years ago.

    Wait a minute. I thought the current Democrats are the Republicans of 40 years ago?

    I personally don’t see what political ground a third party could stake out between the Democrats and the Republicans. Sure, the Republicans have moved to the radical right, but the Democrats have moved right too.

  8. says

    I think the great possibility of a third party entering the field would be that it might allow all of the parties to begin to redefine themselves, too. It would be a bit of a shuffle at first, but more peoples’ viewpoints could potentially be represented and people would have more chioice, because the nature of politics is that you stake out ground to differentiate yourself from your opponents – I’d be hoping that would mean three different parties with different foci and ideas. Maybe it would also cut into the whole corporate thing – or maybe the whole corporate thing is part of the reason why it might never happen. :(

  9. says

    Three parties aren’t stable, given the US’s electoral mechanics of winner take all. Of course, the GOP could split and we could have a three party environment for a few years, until one of the parties died off. And that would be a good thing.

  10. erichoug says

    In many ways, I can understand the dilema of Gay Republicans. There are many issues on which I agree with the Republicans

    Personal freedom
    Personal responsibility
    Gun Rights
    Much of the business and energy policy

    But there are also a lot of issues that I disagree with them on,

    family planning/abortion/BC
    Religious tyranny
    Personal freedom(they don’t really mean it)
    and much of their business and energy policy.

    The real problem is the wackadiddles who want to use the government to force everyone into their idea of what they worl ought to be. They want to force their religion and their ideology onto the rest of us in some sort of totalitarian. theocratic dictatorship led by Pat Robertson or someone equally odious.

    What do you do when you neither part really represents the broad range of your opinion?

  11. sivivolk says

    He contends that the kind of resistance to LGBT equality that is reflected in this year’s platform is a generational issue — “the last gasp of the conservatives,” he calls it…

    Er, he does realize he’s in a conservative party, right?

    @rturpin

    Unless you’re referring to something else, other countries manage to have multi-party systems with “first past the post” electoral procedures.

  12. says

    @d cwilson #1

    Excuse the Godwin, but I think it’s time to say it:

    Being a gay republican is akin to being a Jewish nazi. We’ve already had several instances of republican elected officials calling for putting gays into camps. How anyone could ever join a party whose clear majority views them as subhumans not deserving even basic rights, much less marriage rights is complete mystery to me.

    In this case, the comparison is quote appropriate.

    Early in its existence, the National Socialism actually was a socialist party: its primary message involved opposition to corporatism and capitalism. They promoted stronger action to rebuild Germany after the humiliation and crippling war penalties of WW I, and emphasized family, community, nationalism and personal honor, with a democratic government that represented the poor and working classes. As such, they had a pretty strong following across Germany’s population. Many Jews supported them, seeing the push towards unity as a stand against the anti-Semitism that had plagued them for centuries.

    When Hitler became head of the party, however, he redefined “socialism” to be a centralized, anti-democratic state where the individual was merely a cog of the state (which is why Nazism is typically seen as fascist rather than socialist.) He turned away from socialism and began courting the power-brokers: corporatists, industrialists and high church officials. The popular anger against these groups he turned against groups that had either been historically reviled in popular opinion — Jews, Romani and homosexuals — and those who openly challenge the absolute authority of the state and its new allies — communists, feminists, union organizers and Jehovahs Witnesses. Even with this change, though, there were still a sizeable number of Jews who supported the Nazis because it continued to push very strongly for family, community, nationalism, personal honor and an end to the war concessions that had crippled the country and brought terrible economic problems; the now overt anti-Semitism was commonly dismissed with “They would never actually do that.”

    It wasn’t until the Night of Broken Glass that support among Jewish communities dropped. And by then, it was too late to fight back.

  13. regexp says

    The comparison with “jewish nazi’s” is as appropriate as comparing 2012 America with 1933 Germany. There is no comparison and its sad – pathetic even – that those in this forum result to going so low in at attempt to make a sad point. To you I say grow up.

    The simple truth is that most who call themselves Republicans (such as my parents and brothers) don’t hate gay men or women and don’t actively work to deny our rights (my tea party brother actively speaks out against the Minnesota marriage amendment). The tide is changing within that party and you can see it in how the extreme evangelical wing of the party is dramatically increasing its attacks. They are losing their grip. It will be interesting to watch how this all plays out but I’m seeing changes happening faster than I expected.

    @11

    What do you do when you neither part really represents the broad range of your opinion?

    Solid question. I don’t have an answer. Both parties have major failings on policy positions. Typically I vote for the candidate – not the party. I have never voted for Keith Ellison (and will not again in this election) but for the Independent candidate. But I did vote for Dayton for governor.

  14. 'smee says

    I don’t think this would cede the country to the Democrats, because there are a lot of people currently listing as Independent (or even Democrat!) who would align with a party that resembles the Republicans of 40 years ago.

    And their current leader is Obama – about as center-right as most “social democratic” parties in the western world.

    I would dearly love for there to be a “progressive” party, that would be firmly for a social agenda, with a real safety net (real welfare with a real ‘return to work’ program); a living minimum wage; enhancement of real ‘small business’ support versus huge corporate welfare; public option healthcare (not private insurance profit motive sick care!); decriminalization of much (war on XYZ); reality based policy (if you cannot find majority support among independent scientists… it should not be a major plank of your policy); elimination of pork-barrel, chicken-hawk “defense” (tell me again why the US must police the world and be capable of fighting two simultaneous all out land wars? )

    I am more than happy to see subsidy for local manufacturing… so long as that manufacturing is actually more than simply “assembly”. (and there is room for such – not all manufacturing and not all products can be scaled)

    I am more than happy (as a $250K band taxpayer) to pay significantly more in taxes to pay for my social programs, but expect a major benefit to come from a higher average tax base of working individuals, and a much lower cost base in terms of the military complex.

    Now if our military-industrial complex could actually point to significant returns from their R&D that translated into a net gain for our society I might be persuaded to leave them alone. But I suspect that the majority of their R&D, in common with much of the commercial world, is narrowly focused. (In this, I will make a pointed exception for DARPA — which is one of the few agencies pushing for blue-sky R&D)

  15. julian says

    sigh

    Am I the only one annoyed by liberals who try to mock and shame gay, black and woman Republicans?

    I’ll say this much, I want Republicans to drop their anti-gay platform. It’ll mean a little less bigotry in the world and I respect gays who’re working to see them abandon it whatever their political affiliation.

  16. thalwen says

    Despite general opinion, being anti-gay rights is one of the central tenets of current mainstream GOP thinking. Therefore, the idea that GOProud will one day be able to change the GOP’s position is quite ridiculous. Given that the GOP has committed itself to being staunchly regressive on social issues at the expense of everything else it is putting itself on an unsustainable course in which collapse is likely unless it achieves it’s goal of creating a dystopian theocracy. GOProud and other fiscally conservative groups would be better off working to create the party that the GOP will likely be replaced by.

  17. Chiroptera says

    Which of the Republicans’ policy proposals are more important to the gay Republicans than their own dignity?

  18. Michael Heath says

    regexp writes:

    The simple truth is that most who call themselves Republicans (such as my parents and brothers) don’t hate gay men or women . . .

    Bullshit. They (the Republican voting base) might claim they don’t hate them, but they demonstrate their hate by supporting politicians and policies which institutionalize bigotry towards gays and their children. Policies which seek to deny the existence of gays and a cultural environment where the sole enabling justification bullies of gays rely on is conservative Christian’s, i.e., the Republican base, antipathy towards gays.

  19. Michael Heath says

    thalwen writes:

    Despite general opinion, being anti-gay rights is one of the central tenets of current mainstream GOP thinking.

    Whose general opinion? Mitt Romney follows the tradition of arguing against equal rights for gays and their children. As do nearly all Republican members of the U.S. Congress and those Republicans running for Congress. It is a central tenet of the party which also drives voter turn-out; so what population are you referring to when you claim they don’t make this obvious conclusion?

  20. says

    regexp:

    The simple truth is that most who call themselves Republicans (such as my parents and brothers) don’t hate gay men or women and don’t actively work to deny our rights (my tea party brother actively speaks out against the Minnesota marriage amendment).

    I’d be careful with the quantity qualifier “most.” Just because many of the folks you know aren’t that bad, doesn’t mean most aren’t that bad.

    My uncle was gay. He came out in the late ’70s, long before it was safe for most folks to do so. My family reacted very well — he wasn’t ostracized, criticized (to his face, anyway), or otherwise made to feel unwanted or unloved. Yay for my family!

    But I have several cousins who, while they never really treated him differently, never supported his spouse. They wouldn’t criticize my uncle, but they wouldn’t support his spouse’s right to visit him in the hospital as he lay dying, nor his right to inheritance, nor even their marriage.

    There’s a huge fucking difference between loving a relative or friend who’s gay, and supporting them in their choice of partner. And that’s where I see the major difference between the Republican and Democratic parties these days. The Republicans are coming around to acceptance.

    But they are a long way from embracing.

  21. thalwen says

    @20 I meant the general opinion of the entire U.S. population. The point I was making is that the opinion of the GOP in being not just anti-gay but by making that one of their core tenets is going against mainstream opinion and therefore unsustainable.

  22. baal says

    @regexp my experience is different than yours. I’m also not too fond of mocking but GOProud and the Stonewall Reps don’t seem to be making progress. It’s possible they have a role as a safety break and the (R) party would be even more vicious without their moderating efforts but I’ve not seen evidence to that effect.

  23. KG says

    Gregory in Seattle,

    Early in its existence, the National Socialism actually was a socialist party: its primary message involved opposition to corporatism and capitalism. They promoted stronger action to rebuild Germany after the humiliation and crippling war penalties of WW I, and emphasized family, community, nationalism and personal honor, with a democratic government that represented the poor and working classes. As such, they had a pretty strong following across Germany’s population. Many Jews supported them, seeing the push towards unity as a stand against the anti-Semitism that had plagued them for centuries.

    When Hitler became head of the party, however, he redefined “socialism” to be a centralized, anti-democratic state where the individual was merely a cog of the state (which is why Nazism is typically seen as fascist rather than socialist.)

    Antisemitism was a central plank in the DAP (German Workers’ Party) programme right from its inception in January 1919, stemming from a regional tradition of virulently antisemitic Catholic nationalism (see Derek Hastings Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism). It was founded, and the revised title of NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) adopted in 1920, with the central goal of seducing the working-class population away from both loyalty to the democratic Weimar Republic, and from socialist parties, in favour of authoritarian nationalism; although there were some anti-capitalist elements in its programme it was seen from the start as part of the militaristic, anti-democratic and ultra-nationalist right. It did not have “a pretty strong following across Germany’s population”, being almost entirely confined to Bavaria until well after Hitler took over the leadership in summer 1921, and I would be astonished if you can justify your claim that it had any significant level of Jewish support at any time. Nazism is “typically seen as fascist rather than socialist” because it was fascist rather than socialist, and those prepared to collaborate with it, both at home and abroad, came almost entirely from the right until the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939.

  24. slc1 says

    Re KG @ #25

    The only Jews who supported the NAZI party after Frankenberger took over were executives in the major industrial firms, like Krupp and Thyssen.

  25. jnorris says

    Will someone please throw some cold water on the Log Cabin Republicans!
    Those guys have to wake-up to reality: the republican Tea Party has always found support in hating one group or another. This time its Teh Gay and Women. Once it was Blacks and Communists.

    You will never be True Republican Tea Party members until you find someone else for the Real Christian Republicans to hate.

  26. Childermass says

    I don’t think it is realistic to think that every gay person is a single-issue voter. If they are not all single-issue voters then results such as this should be expected no matter how much our gut feeling say WTF.

  27. says

    “Longwell says she believes that the crass anti-gay wedge politics employed by the GOP in 2004 played a role in encouraging Republicans like Dick Cheney, Ken Mehlman, and Laura Bush to be more outspoken in their support for marriage equality”

    WTF?Laura Bush, maybe. Mehlman was going to be publicly outed, IIRC. Cheney is a soulless piece of shit who may not even be anti-gay in that he thinks most PEOPLE are sub-human. I don’t recall any of them opening their pieholes when they were in a position to influence the debate. Fuck them all.

    I see groups like the LCR, I think “Stockholm Syndrome”. It’s one thing to subscribe to a group’s policies when that group is committed to persecuting you and denying your rights. It’s a different thing altogether to wave the flag when they goosestep down Pennsylvania Ave. There, that for SURE will Godwin the thread.

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