We saw how the theo-conservatives rushed immediately to the defense of the Duck Dynasty douchebag’s bigoted and ignorant statements. But what do gay conservatives think about it? Turns out they’re divided on the subject, which should be a surprise to no one (at least no more surprising than the fact that there is such a thing as a gay conservative).
Self-identified gay conservatives, who seek to broaden the movement and the Republican Party to include them, have different takes on the controversy.
“The knee jerk reaction of some on the right to actually defend this kind of ugliness is yet another reminder of just how out of touch these folks are with where America is and where America is going,” says Chris Barron, a Republican activist who co-founded the gay conservative organization GOProud.
“Robertson wasn’t quoting from the Bible, he went on a vulgar and bigoted anti-gay rant,” says Barron, who stressed he was only speaking for himself and not on behalf of any organization.
Barron’s group was not invited to return as a co-sponsor of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in 2012 after a lobbying effort by social conservatives who believe gay organizations do not belong in the movement.
“I understand people having different opinions about whether A&E’s decision to suspend him was the right call,” says Barron. “What is so hard to comprehend is the desire of some on the right to defend the substance of what he said.”
Another gay conservative who has been attacked by socially conservative members of the Republican Party sees the Robertson controversy differently.
“The self-appointed gay leadership’s reaction to a reality show star’s personal religious views was troubling,” says Richard Grenell, who served as foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign before resigning when his sexual orientation became a political issue.
“Gay Americans value free speech, don’t demand that everyone think like they do and aren’t nearly as thin-skinned as the so-called gay leadership,” Grenell says. “Tolerance means you are OK with people thinking differently than you do. Sadly, liberal intolerance is on the rise.”
But Michael Lucas, a self-identified conservative who owns one of the country’s largest gay pornography companies, Lucas Entertainment, says Americans shouldn’t tolerate intolerance.
“He is a religious-fundamentalist bigot, and the world is losing patience with that,” Lucas says. “In Afghanistan he would be fighting for the Taliban. In Russia he would be pulling the roof off gay clubs. We should not feel obliged to make room for this person in American popular culture.”
Wait, the owner of the largest gay porn company is a conservative? Wow. Seriously, that’s like being a Jewish Nazi.