Tag Archives: Gay Marriage

Republican Evolution on Gay Marriage?

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times thinks there is a quiet change happening in the Republican Party when it comes to gay marriage:

As the “tea party‘s” outsider challenge to Republican Party orthodoxy grabs headlines, another, quieter revolution is unfolding inside the GOP. This rebellion has at its heart a truly surprising issue, one that could have long-term consequences for the party: gay and lesbian couples’ freedom to marry.

The latest evidence of this quiet revolution came with the release of the Republicans’ midterm-campaign “Pledge to America.” Though the pledge gives a perfunctory nod to “traditional marriage” (in a single line in a list of things, like “families,” that it supports ), explicit opposition to marriage for same-sex couples is conspicuous in its absence. The document never uses the word “gay” (or “homosexual”) — a stark contrast to past party platforms, which have made opposition to gay equality a centerpiece of their social agenda.

Is this an isolated development? After all, the 1994 “Contract With America” was also focused solely on fiscal issues and government reform. But in 2010, there is compelling evidence that the shift is deep, and possibly lasting.

The GOP, in large part, isn’t displaying its usual anti-gay election-year demagoguery, and not just in the “pledge.” As recently as 1995, a Republican-controlled Congress was holding hearings investigating “homosexual recruitment” and the “promotion” of homosexuality. During the George W. Bush administration, the party used its fervent opposition to marriage for gay and lesbian couples as a get-out-the-vote strategy, encouraging more than a dozen anti-gay state ballot initiatives geared at driving turnout in the 2004 election and engineering repeated efforts to pass an amendment to the Constitution. This year is the first election year in recent history in which anti-gay rhetoric has been significantly muted: No state is facing an anti-gay initiative on the ballot, and marriage has not been a focus of the national conservative agenda.

The opinion piece then goes on to list the number of conservatives that have come out in favor of gay marriage and the appearence of Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn at last month’s annual meeting of the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay Republican group.

So, what to make of all this, especially when we have stories of homophobes like Carl Paladino and Christine O’Donnell? 

Two things.

First, I think it’s interesting who wrote this article.  Jon Cowan is the co-founder  of Third Way, which a centrist Democratic think-tank.  Evan Wolfson is the founder of the pro-gay marriage group, Freedom to Marry. It’s telling when a Democrat and the leader of a mainstream gay rights group, which tends to favor Democrats, are actually saying something good about the GOP when it comes to gay rights. 

Second, I think this is a trend that the media has not focused on very much.  We have seen folks that would we thought would never reach out to gays actually do so.  However, such moves don’t get as much attention as say, Carl Paladino’s remark on gay marriage and gays. 

Why?  Because the media (as well as bloggers) have come to just expect that Republicans are anti-gay.  Whenever some GOP candidate says something stupid on gay rights, watch how many hits those articles and blog posts get.  It becomes major news on every major blog and news outlet.  It has become common wisdom to believe that every Republican is anti-gay and no one ever questions that. 

In the end, that’s lazy journalism.  Journalists (and bloggers) are supposed to be asking questions that no one is asking, not simply following the herd.  And yet, we do it all the time. 

I can’t leave out bloggers because we are just as guilty.  We make a big deal of the latest social conservative to say something homophobic, but we do little to praise or seek the conservative that is pro-gay. 

Yes, we need to call out those hypocrites like Paladino.  But we also need to praise folks like Ted Olson and Log Cabin for fighting the cause for gay rights.

Carl Paladino: Hypocrite

You know, I really don’t expect people to necessarily approve of gay folks like me.  That’s okay.  I can respect their understanding of faith and I’ve met some very good people who can’t in good consceince expect being gay for religious reasons.

But I can’t tolerate folks like Carl Paladino, who are hatin’ on gays and talking about how wonderful marriage is, when he was having an affair with someone not his wife and had a child with said  woman not his wife.

Please don’t talk about how holy marriage is when you don’t respect it.

h/t: Dale Carpenter

Log Cabin Republicans Blast Paladino

Via Blog Cabin, the New York State Chapter of Log Cabin Republicans had this to say about GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s opinions on same sex marriage and homosexuality:

“Carl Paladino’s statements are unfortunate and show he lacks an understanding of what it means to be gay. Allow me to offer a counter to his misinformed statement: I think gay men and women — my neighbors and your neighbors — would be much better off and much more successful if they were allowed equal rights and the option of getting married and raising a family. I don’t want New Yorkers to be brainwashed into thinking that ignorance is an equally valid and successful option. It isn’t.”

Politico continued speaking with Greagory Angelo, the state chapter leader :

I spoke with Angelo by phone, and he said that the group hasn’t endorsed Paladino yet, but that “his statements today make any endorsements very unlikely.”

He said he’d personally met with Paladino prior to today and they’d had a “very civil chat” and hoped they’d be able to find “some common ground,” but that it would be difficult to see that happening going forward.

“I don’t think that making such a declaration is a winning strategy …if one is actually trying to court New York City voters,” he said, adding that his understanding of the Paladino post-primary strategy had been that the candidate would spend time downstate “specifically to court independent and moderate voters, and I don’t think that calling homosexuality ‘dysfunctional’ is a way to court those voters. I think it’s away to alienate (them).”

Paladino is making sure the Republican Party in New York is dead and buried.

More on Harold and Clay

The National Center for Lesbian Rights has more about Harold and Clay, a California same-sex couple that was manhandled by the government of Sonoma County, California.  Here is a sample:

The response to the horrific story of Clay Greene and Harold Scull has been very gratifying and inspiring. Clearly, their story struck a chord in all of us. To some degree we can’t help imagining ourselves in exactly this situation. Forty-eight hours ago, few people knew their names, and now a Facebook page in their honor has more than 5,000 fans. Quite simply, this case demonstrates how our relationships as LGBT people are so fragile, especially when we reach our later years. Just one small incident, in this case a fall down some steps, sends the world crashing down.

Harold and Clay were in a committed relationship for twenty-five years, and they lived together for twenty years. Both Harold and Clay had worked in Hollywood and were passionate collectors of film memorabilia. Harold had worked for MGM studios in the 1950s and was a favorite of Louis B. Mayer in the studio’s heyday. At the same time, Clay worked in television with many popular stars of that period. In addition to his film industry career, Harold was an accomplished artist and avid collector, especially of Mexican and Central American Santos religious art and artifacts. Art, heirlooms, and memorabilia graced the walls of their leased home, in which they planned to live together until their deaths.

From a conservative viewpoint, I find this nothing short of astounding.  It’s a horrible example of the state placing itself over and above the rights of the individual.  Conservative believe (or should) believe that a man’s home is his castle and that what goes on in said home should be respected and left the hell alone by the government.

Those of us who are Republican and believe in the rights of same-sex couples to live their lives must speak out and say how unconservative this whole action is.  I sometimes wonder, what could happen when my partner Daniel and I get older?  Will we be treated with respect, or could something like this happen to us?

An Argument from the Right for Same-Sex Marriage

A trial has recently concluded in a California Federal Court over the issue of same sex marriage.  The plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger seek to overturn California’s gay marriage ban (Prop. 8) on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The case is unique on many counts including the fact that the Judge conducted a full courtroom trial rather than a bare exchange of paper arguments.  It is also unique in that the plaintiffs are represented by a well-known conservative attorney who has used the case to shape a fascinating conservative argument for same sex marriage. Continue reading

Same Sex Marriage on Trial

In California a federal judge has just concluded an unusual trial.  The plaintiffs in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger seek to overturn California’s 2008 referendum banning same-sex marriage on the grounds that the ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  The case has gained some unusual attention from the involvement of Ted Olson, a lion of the conservative legal movement.  Olson was Solicitor General under George W. Bush and the lead attorney in Bush v. Gore.  He is longtime member of the Federalist Society and a vociferous critic of judicial activism.  What’s remarkable about his involvement is that he has volunteered to take the plaintiffs’ case and is cooperating on it with his old opponent in Bush v. Gore, David Boies.

But there’s another twist that makes this case really interesting.  A constitutional challenge of this type usually receives a paper trial.  There is little testimony and most of that is submitted in written depositions.  The lawyers file their motions and make their oral arguments.  The judge evaluates their positions and renders a judgment which is promptly referred up to an appellate court so that the more interesting work can begin.

Judge Vaughn Walker, a Reagan appointee, has taken a different approach.  In a page right out of Inherit the Wind, he has held a full courtroom trial to explore all the aspects of this case.  The Judge’s efforts to have the trial televised were thwarted, but the transcripts of the trial were re-enacted each night and posted to YouTube.  This is not a dry recitation of constitutional theory.  Witnesses have been giving testimony on matters like:

– Is homosexuality a choice?

– What value does marriage have beyond procreation?

– How exactly would gay marriage damage heterosexuals?

– Does same-sex marriage harm children?

– Was California’s gay marriage ban motivated by hostility toward gays as a group?

The final legal outcome of the case is almost certain to be decided by the US Supreme Court, unless of course California reverses its ban prior to that point.  That is a real possibility.  But the trial itself is likely to hold a social significance independent of the final judgment.

There are many Americans like myself who are torn over the subject of gay marriage.  Many of us are troubled by the injustice of gay couples being unable to obtain the kind of basic legal protections available to married couples.  At the same time we are bothered by the idea of government re-inventing an entire social institution with the stroke of a Judge’s pen.

The trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger offers a unique window into the myths and realities of gay marriage.  As details from the trial are distilled out into the public, it offers an opportunity for people to assess the question in a way that goes beyond emotion and bias.  Perhaps out of this trial and its long, upcoming appeal, the conservative movement in particular can develop a position on gay marriage that rises above the gay-baiting hysteria and honestly reflects our core values.

So, Just How Crazy Are Republicans?

The blogosphere has been abuzz with the recent poll by Daily Kos/Research 2000 that points a not so favorable view of the Republican Party.  The way the poll looks it gives a picture a party filled with bigoted know-nothings.

This poll has bothered me for a lot of reasons.  As a gay Republican who is a moderate, it felt like yet another slam against the party that makes one wonder why one should stay.  It has also bothered me because I know a lot of Republicans and none of them seem as crazy as this poll suggests. Continue reading