I’ve had a longstanding joke that if you want proof that homosexuality is an orientation and not a choice, you can settle it with two words: Gay Republicans. Being a Republican is clearly a choice, and there’s no way on Earth any rational being would choose to be both at the same time. It would be like electing to be a black Klansman. Obviously, there are conservative and liberal homosexuals just as there are in any other demographic, but still: joining an organization that actively seeks to curtail your rights and relegate you to sub-citizen status at every opportunity is a serious commitment to a political philosophy.
I also understand that coming out as openly gay while maintaining membership in one of the world’s largest anti-homosexual organizations renders one naturally suspect by the other, more orthodox members of the group, and there may be some pressure to overcompensate by proving loyalty to the core mission, but the Log Cabin Republicans have just taken this to a ridiculous extreme. In a statement issued after President Obama’s endorsement of equal rights for gay couples, the group issued a statement chastising Obama for being late to the party. Way to play against stereotype, guys: respond with a bitch move. I’m sure somewhere in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum is very impressed.
“Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue, but LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch.”
The statement went on to accuse Obama of contortions, and manipulating the gay vote. I could actually concede they had an actual point here, until they went and fucked it up with a couple of completely ridiculous arguments. We’ll start with the easy one: Obama’s intransigence resulted in the passage of the amendment. This is a state where 20% of the voters in his own party refused to record a vote for him, and 40% of them voted for the amendment. Since the votes in favor were largely motivated by religious beliefs, it’s highly unlikely that Obama could have swayed the necessary 12% of the electorate, particularly with exit polls showing that the amendment drove turnout more than any single other issue.
As for Dick Cheney, I was surprised at this claim, because the last I heard on the issue from Dick Cheney, he was opposed to equal rights in the matter. When Dick Cheney was in office, he was staunchly in favor of limiting rights for gay couples. However, I think I found what they were referring to:
In this video, Cheney answers a question regarding same-sex marriage, in a way that hardly qualifies as an endorsement. He manages to walk the fine line between explicitly endorsing or rejecting it, and does so in a way that probably gave Cheney fans on both sides of the issue some reassurance that he was on their side.
“I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish.”
This is probably is the line the Log Cabin Republicans are referring to. And, taken out of context, that does seem pretty endorse-y. However, he goes on to add:
“The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute that governs this, I don’t support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue, and I think that’s the way it ought to be handled today, that is on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions.”
There is a federal statute that governs this, and it was one Cheney supported: The oddly named Defense of Marriage Act, a law whose sole purposes is to prevent marriage. On Tuesday, it was handled on a state-by-state basis, and North Carolina made, to use his words, a “different decision”.
Nothing Cheney said was clearly an endorsement of same-sex marriage, except in the vaguest sense. His words were every bit as much an endorsement for amendment one as they were for marriage equality. It’s pretty simple: either you believe people should have a right or you don’t, basic human rights are not a “state-by-state” issue, and if you think they are then you don’t really endorse the right in the first place. During the civil rights movement of the 60’s, equal rights across racial lines were decided on a state-by-state basis, which is exactly why a federal statute was needed in the first place. If there hadn’t been a federal civil rights act, Jim Crow would probably still be around in some states; at the very least, Mississippi, and probably Alabama.
I do see Dick Cheney listed as a “supporter of gay marriage” all over the place, but compare the gushing praise lavished on him by equal rights advocates with the vague and tepid “people should be free” type statements he’s actually made–always qualified with lines that are essentially “but only if states let them”–and what you have is hardly a ringing endorsement. From where I stand, Cheney hasn’t endorsed anything. He’s merely expressed a general lack of active opposition, which is not the same thing.
If you want to see what an endorsement for equal rights looks like, go see Cory Booker:
Now that’s what a real endorsement sounds like.