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Michigan Republican Apologizes for Vote Against Marriage Equality

A former Republican legislator from Michigan named Chris Ward is apologizing for voting against marriage equality when he was in the state House in 2004. He’s asking his fellow Republicans to do the same, telling them that they’re on the wrong side of history and it’s time to stop the anti-gay crusade.

Fellow Republicans, it is time to say congratulations to the many, many same sex couples all over Michigan who have won at least a short moment of equal access to the liberties and justice afforded to all the other adults citizens of our state.

Let us be gracious now, at least in this late stage in the game, drop the pretense and stop delaying the inevitable. There is no doubt we have written off an entire block of people from voting GOP for the foreseeable future. We deserve that. The world has changed, everyone knows it. Making people wait for their fundamental rights to live a life as they choose is just mean spirited…

Looking back now, one of the things that bothers me the most about the whole episode was how dehumanizing it was. It was just politics. But it wasn’t politics..these were people.

We singled out a whole group of people, most of whom just wanted to be left alone, to forcefully discriminate against them for short term political benefit.

All around us were our friends, COLLEAGUES, family members, highly valued staff members and people we care about who this clearly was going to hurt. Nobody seemed to think a thing of it. Like most people, including my constituents, I wasn’t comfortable with same-sex marriage at that point but I didn’t even bother to throw out a “hey we shouldn’t be doing this” or “look what we are doing to the people we care about”…

My own particular purgatory is to be forever doomed to be on the wrong side of history…

There can be no doubt at this point, same sex couples will have their rights recognized. It is only a matter of time.

Let’s do the grown-up thing and help heal the wounds we created. At the very least, let’s get the heck out of the way.

Bravo. Well said.

Comments

  1. notyet says

    If this trend keeps up the Republicans may avoid becoming politically insignificant. If they follow this line of thinking into the areas of abortion, poverty, and climate they could stop gerrymandering and win an election without subterfuge. More likely this guy will get hounded out of the party or lose his next primary to a tea-bagger.

  2. says

    If the Republican party has a future, this guy is it. Admit your mistakes and move on.
    I actually feel sorry for guys like Bill O’Reilly and his fans. It’s like he got on the wrong bus, it took him to the scary part of town and now he’s lost and alone and doesn’t know what to do so he lashes out at everything that he doesn’t understand.

  3. OldEd says

    The significant part of this item is the following: There is no doubt we have written off an entire block of people from voting GOP for the foreseeable future.

    That’s what it is all about: votes. Not doing or espousing that which is ethical, or humane, or anything else: only votes.

    Don’t let this hogwash fool you: the writer cares only for the perpetuation of his political clique, nothing else.

  4. tbp1 says

    If they follow this line of thinking into the areas of abortion, poverty, and climate they could stop gerrymandering and win an election without subterfuge.

    But then they’d be Democrats.

  5. sh3baproject says

    @5

    maybe he just wants the GOP to be revived. but hey he could be honest as well about his mistake.

  6. emc2 says

    This is all well and good, but he never comes out and says that he supports same-sex marriage, aside of getting out of the way of the inevitable. He hints at it, but I would have preferred if he came out and said it.

    Can’t any Republican make a statement without mentioning Reagan?

    Criticisms aside, it is a welcome statement and I hope there will be many others who follow.

  7. says

    Making people wait for their fundamental rights to live a life as they choose is just mean spirited…

    It sounded better when William F Buckley said it.

  8. says

    Fuck this guy, frankly. All he’s saying, at bottom, is ‘we lost this time, we should save our energy to fight all the other horrible regressive anti-human bullshit we’re trying to push.’

  9. Chris J says

    I don’t blame this guy for being a bit vague on the whole principle of the thing. He’s a republican that kinda-sorta does in fact support gay marriage (according to my reading) in an era where anti-gay-marriage is pretty much synonymous with Republican and where so many in the party are wailing about RINOs. Added to that, he’s not speaking just to fellow invisible supporters, so it’s easy to understand why the main message was “we’re on the wrong side of history and we need to stop before we hurt ourselves further” rather than “gay marriage is great and you should support it publicly and with your votes.”

    It definitely wasn’t the most principled position to take, but it does seem to be the most political. I can understand why that was necessary.

  10. Jordan Genso says

    His blog appears to be designed for Michigan Republican political junkies. So if that is his audience, and he’s trying to convince them to get on the right side of history, I don’t think presenting the moral case for marriage equality would be very successful. I do think presenting the constitutional argument would have been a better approach for that audience, but what he wrote was respectable in its own way.

  11. eric says

    In this case I’d be very happy to see them to the right thing, even if for the wrong reason. Think about it – say this DID lead to a sea change in how the GOP viewed SSM. Say that 2 years from now, gays are allowed to marry in every state in the union in part because the GOP wants to win the young person vote. That’s still a lot better than gays not being allowed to marry in various states.

  12. Michael Heath says

    I decided to go after the bigoted commenter at that site who demonstrates denialism regarding his bigotry.

  13. howardhershey says

    Joining a growing list of *former* Republican office-holders who are now “profiles in courage”. A bit late.

  14. Jordan Genso says

    @15 Michael Heath

    I’m fairly certain that is Dan Wholihan, Chair of the Livingston County Republican Party. His blog is here:
    http://republicanmichigander.blogspot.com/

    I had an interesting discussion with him recently when he stated that the Republicans are anti-authoritarian.
    http://republicanmichigander.blogspot.com/2014/03/its-not-about-tea-party-or.html

    He does a good job avoiding the points the other side raises, but I do enjoy discussing things with him on occasion just to see how he’d respond.

  15. anubisprime says

    Not a ‘real Republican’ then!

    The debate and the issues have long been in the public square…pretending that voting against was just an accident of politics and not a reaction of bigoted ignorance is about as mean spirited as you can get.

    Their premise was, and is, wrong the arguments were, and are, wrong and the bigotry and hatred was, and is, unforgivable, added to the inevitable influence of jeebus sunbeams and their voter block dispensations, it is an unsustainable and patently failed gambit, and it has cursed the GOP in perpetuity as the party of the mean spirited they were not exactly pristine in ethics anyway. it is what they do, and are no ideas beyond, but now they have disgraced themselves in front of a younger electorate that percentage wise is gaining if not overtaking the stereotypical ‘Gud ‘ol’ white bhoy’ with all their guns and apple pie and Hummer fascinations.

    Pretending contriteness in the face of the inevitable is just that bit far to late…it will not particularly impress anyone especially other rethug clones where the hatred of those that are different will always out rank the character of a minority in their party.

  16. Michael Heath says

    This blog post was first published on 3/31. Reading this post just now was deja vu all over again.

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