Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
“Evolving” isn’t just for Mr. Obama, or looking further back, for the Democratic party in general. When pragmatic politics require an Elected to avoid taking an actual position, “evolving” sounds better than “straddling the fence.”
The GOP is far from solid in supporting LGBT equality. But the movement in that direction is there. One of the best voices I’ve found among Republicans, making the evolution clear, is that of Ron Hill, at Republicans 4 Freedom, “Advocates For The Rational Wing of the Republican Party.” I’d planned this as today’s QT focus when yesterday the general subject showed up in a post by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer at Politico, “Republicans retreat on gay marriage.” I’ll start with that.
It’s been one of the swiftest shifts in ideology and strategy for Republicans, as they’ve come nearly full circle on same-sex politics. What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol.
Note, they say “in Congress,” not on the GOP Wannabe campaign trail. Clearly “same-sex politics” remains a factor. And, as they later add, 2012 politics are in play: the economy is simply of more concern that what “the homosexuals” are doing.
… Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.
It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. …
It isn’t as if there aren’t still Republican Electeds and voters who continue to think LGBT equality is wrong. All you have to do is listen to the GOP Wannabe’s, for example, or take a look at the North Carolina May ballot, which includes a heterosexual only “marriage definition” amendment to the state constitution.
Most Republicans maintain that the commitment is still there — but the time is not right.
Commenting on the article, John Aravosis writes:
While congressional Republicans are still generally terrible on gay issues, they’re also growing increasingly nervous about talking about them in public. …
At the same time, Democrats are slowly waking up to the fact that gay rights are a winner for them … .
Also posted yesterday, by David Boaz at the Cato Institute, “Conservatives Shift on Gay Marriage.” His post is focused on that shift in England, but the pragmatic nature of the changes fit:
What prompted the shift? ‘We lost three elections, in 1997, 2001 and 2005,’ said Margot James, former vice chairman of the Conservative Party and an openly gay member of Parliament.
Referring to the Politico article, Boaz adds, “And maybe the Republicans are learning.”
There are other indications that some “learning” is happening. Another from yesterday, via New Civil Rights:
This morning on MSNBC GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger, who is openly-gay and who is behind the 2009 lawsuit that ended up disclosing the documents released this week revealing NOM’s race-baiting strategy, just announced he will be filing additional charges against NOM … .
Earlier this week, Timothy Kincaid, at Box Turtle Bulletin wrote about the San Diego mayoral election. Leaving at the end of his term is
… Jerry Sanders, a Republican former chief of police who is a fierce advocate for marriage equality.
Of the four “credible candidates running to replace him,” one is a Democrat; one a newly declared Independent, though as a Republican State Assemblyman, he “gave an eloquent endorsement for the repeal of” DADT; and two Republicans, “both of whom are gay.”
And from earlier this month, via Gay Politics:
The U.S. Senate …, by a vote of 91-6, confirmed Michael Fitzgerald to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, making him one of just a handful of openly LGBT Americans to serve on the federal bench.
Okay, finally to Ron Hill, and the Republicans 4 Freedom. In The Sad Truth About the 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates and ‘Less Government:
Sometimes in the effort to help move the GOP forward on the road to supporting equality we have to admit ugly truths – the Log Cabin Republicans did this in 2004 when they refused to endorse George W. Bush … – because of his blatant appeal to anti-gay bigotry. …
Those of us who are Republicans without the nutty views, must be willing to call out the extreme anti-freedom agenda of social conservatives like Santorum. We must also be willing to point out the role of men like Mitt Romney who – while apparently not personally antigay – are perfectly willing to mimic anti-gay rhetoric and positions in order to get elected. …
America needs a responsible, adult, and intelligent alternative to the Democratic Party – too bad we don’t have one.
Perhaps the likely defeat of Romney this fall will cause the party to change but I doubt it. The only thing that will change the GOP for the better is older anti-women, anti-gay bigots dying off and being replaced by younger voters who are more socially tolerant. It’s already happening but will take … another 8 years to really impact the GOP.
But it’s gonna happen.
I really hope Hill is right. Among other things, if the GOP would move in the direction he predicts, it would push Democrats to the Left. At this point, that would be an example of “evolving.”