Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Or more accurately, there are differences among Republicans and among Democrats on LGBTs, as well as differences between parties. Big picture, though, I don’t see how one can argue the Democratic Party as a whole isn’t “better” than the Republican Party as a whole on this “issue.” Neither do I think, though, that it’s accurate to say “only” and certainly not “all” Democrats actively support LGBT equality.
The Obama administration certainly helped, but didn’t do much “leading,” in steps toward LGBT equality. The LGBT equality accomplishments of the last three years are primarily because lots of people worked very hard for decades. Obama deserves credit for what he did, even when it was often more about not opposing than actively leading. That’s not something we can expect to see any time soon in a Republican administration, though that’s not exactly a high bar.
Obama also deserves to be called on his anti-LGBT actions, regarding DADT and marriage equality in particular. Just as others, Democratic and Republican, deserve to be called on their anti-equality actions and words.
There’s some speculation that Obama will come out in favor of marriage equality. I’m skeptical, especially given the fact that “the homosexuals” continue to be a favorite target of the Right. All GOP hopefuls have made it clear they do not support marriage equality. Of course, to this point at least, neither does Obama.
Some examples of the politics of “what to do with /about the ‘gays,’” beginning with GOP hopefuls.
Via Think Progress : “Gingrich Touts War Against Christianity, Gay Adoption In South Carolina.”
Santorum provides so many options, this one from The New Civil Rights Movement: “The battle we’re engaged in right now on same-sex marriage, ultimately that is the very foundation of our country, the family … . I’ll die on that hill.”
Some of the best LGBT coverage I’ve seen of the Republican wannabe’s is from Lisa Keen, including Candidates defend views on marriage. Examples:
(Romney) … there’s every right for people in this country to form long-term committed relationships with one another. That doesn’t mean that they have to call it marriage … .
(Huntsman) … I don’t feel my relationship is at all threatened by civil unions. On marriage, I’m a traditionalist. I think that ought to be saved for one man and one woman.
“Saving” marriage for heterosexual couples because there are only so many marriages available, and he’s afraid we’ll run out?
Not in the current chase, but about New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, via Purple Unions:
… Christie isn’t saying what he’ll do with a gay marriage bill, which Democratic lawmakers consider a major priority of the new session. …
‘When forced to make a decision, if forced to make a decision on it, I’ll make a decision.’
In the past, Christie has said he favors the state’s civil unions law that was adopted in 2003.
And not that it makes any difference in the GOP race itself, unfortunately, but “openly gay (GOP) candidate Fred Karger received 485 votes to … Michele Bachmann’s 347” in New Hampshire. That via The Dallas Voice.
One recent Right-sided story, via Washington Times:
Nearly 40 religious leaders, including Catholic, evangelical, Jewish and Mormon figures, issued an open letter Thursday that argues that the battle against same-sex marriage is a fight on behalf of religious freedom.
‘Marriage and religious freedom are both deeply woven into the fabric of this nation,’ clergy members wrote in their letter, ‘Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together.’ It calls on all Americans to promote and protect marriage ‘in its true definition.’
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama continues to be questioned about his position on marriage equality. Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner provides a report and offers a solution in Obama’s position on marriage has been stalled on ‘evolving,’ but there is a path forward if he wants it.
The problem that the Obama White House and campaign face is that the president is trying to maintain a position that fully satisfies neither supporters nor opponents of marriage equality. …
(When questioned, White House press secretary Jay) Carney said … ‘I think … you know very well what the president’s views are on LGBT issues and civil rights, and the president is very proud of this administration’s record on those issues. … But I have no updates for you on the president’s position on same-sex marriage.’
Later, according to Geidner, Obama campaign spokeswoman Clo Ewing issued a statement about how Obama has “long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal protections as straight couples,” has called for the repeal of the “Defense of Marriage Act” and “taken steps to weaken this discriminatory law until the time it can be repealed legislatively.”
… neither the administration nor the campaign want to be placed in the situation of having to issue a statement that Obama opposes marriage equality. Such a statement today would put him in the minority of the country, according to repeated polling conducted over the past year. It puts him in an even smaller minority, percentage-wise, in today’s Democratic Party.
… more importantly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit could be deciding the case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 … any day now. …
What will the evolving Obama do, when the decision is surely appealed by whoever loses? Geidner’s suggestion:
As when the president announced — belatedly for some — the decision that he would no longer be defending DOMA in the context of two lawsuits filed in trial courts within the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the president could use the Proposition 8 appeal to lay out the legal and constitutional basis for completing his evolution on marriage equality
He could do that. It’s certainly not anything any of the Republican hopefuls would consider.
(Rainbow Flag DC 2009 photo via ITS Allies)