Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Republicans Love to Hate Gays

Lately I have found myself immersed in gay history books. The current book I am reading is “The Gay Metropolis” by Charles Kaiser. Once again I learn that history is often a series of cycles. Did you know that Republicans first used gay baiting for political gain back in the 1950’s?
“Believing that homosexuals in the federal government could become a potent campaign issue, right-wing Republicans greeted the State Department’s disclosures gleefully. John O’Donnell, a rabid right-winger, wrote in his syndicated column [New York Post, July 1950] that the “primary issue” was that “the foreign policy of the United States, even before World War II, was dominated by an all-powerful, supersecret inner circle of highly-educated, socially-highly-placed sexual misfits in the State Department, all easy to blackmail, all susceptible to blandishments by homosexuals in foreign nations.””
“Republican National Committee Chairman Guy Gabrielson mailed a newsletter to seven thousand party workers to alert them to the new “homosexual angle” in Washington. “ Sexual perverts…have infiltrated our government in recent years,” wrote Gabrielson, and they were “perhaps as dangerous as actual communists.” He said the Republican party had a special responsibility to spread the news because “decency” constrained the media from “adequately presenting the facts.” This occasion was the first of many over the next fifty years when the Republican party would try to exploit anti-gay prejudice to win votes on election day.”
During the Carter/Reagan presidential race of 1980, Ronald Reagan received explicit support from groups that exploited anti-gay prejudice.
“Twelve days before the election, Christians for Reagan, a supposedly independent lobby organized to capture the fundamentalist vote for the Republican nominee, announced that it would pay for a barrage of advertisements throughout the south, which attacked President Carter for “catering” to homosexuals. … On the spot, an announcer intoned, “The gays in San Francisco elected a mayor; now they’re going to elect a president.” Before the ads began, polls had shown that Carter, a born-again Christian, still had considerable support among the Evangelicals. But the hard-hitting TV spots were extremely effective, and they helped Reagan carry every Southern state except Georgia, where Carter had been governor. Partly because the commercials never aired in New York or Washington, most people outside the South were never aware of them.”
In 1992, George H. W. Bush campaign used
“gay rights as a major dividing line in the election. All year, Vice President Dan Quayle described homosexuality as a “life style choice” – and a wrong one. President Bush said same-sex couples make poor parents. … Gay bashing by a major-party speaker peaked when Patrick J. Buchanan addressed the Republican convention… “There is a culture war going on in our country for the soul of America…It is…as critical to the kind of nation we will be one day as was the Cold War itself…A militant leader of the homosexual rights movement could rise at the [Democratic] convention and exult, “Bill Clinton and Al Gore represent the most pro-lesbian and pro-gay ticket in history.”
In 2004 “while facing a tough reelection campaign, George Bush decided to cater to his Evangelical base by endorsing a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.” Besides railing against gay marriage, the Republicans pressed for the Defense of Marriage Act, and stated that homosexuality and military service were incompatible.

Let’s not leave out Richard Nixon. Michael Jones recently wrote a short piece for Change.org (http://news.change.org/stories/richard-nixon-hated-gays-too) that recently released tapes show Nixon hated gays too. “He called San Francisco "the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine," and blamed the fall of the Roman Empire on homosexual emperors…Some of the boldest anti-gay leaders of today earned their stars with the Nixon administration -- from Chuck Colson (one of the conveners of the anti-gay marriage screed The Manhattan Declaration), to Pat Buchanan (who wrote memos for Nixon calling gay people "screaming fairies," and who once wrote that AIDS was nature's way of attacking homosexuality).”
[Have you heard the gay rumors about President Nixon? http://guydads.blogspot.com/2013/01/i-share-my-birthday-with-dick-nixon-and.html]

What is the Republican Party’s view on gays today?
Not much has changed much.
The current national Republican Platform calls for
- a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it.
- Affirm the right of states not to recognize same-sex “marriages” licensed in other states.
- Calls upon the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to reverse its policy of blacklisting religious groups which decline to arrange adoptions by same-sex couples.
- Homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
- Let Boy Scouts exercise free speech (ok to ban gays)

At the state level things are even worse. Just in the last year, state Republicans have advocated the following:
- The new Republican majority in Minnesota (home of two 2012 Republican presidential contenders) is pushing an anti-gay rights amendment.
- Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.
- GOP Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill overturning Nashville's non-discrimination ordinance. The bill effectively outlaws all local LGBT rights laws statewide as it bans any discrimination protections not already offered by the state. It is also considering a bill that prohibits educators from talking about homosexuality in elementary and middle schools.
- Republicans in North Carolina are proposing law that would ban not just gay marriage, but even basic civil rights like hospital visitation.
- The Indiana Republican controlled State House of Representatives has approved a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. The move comes just weeks after Illinois approved civil unions with the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn.
- Republican Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, signed a law that gives married heterosexual couples priority when Arizona adoption agencies are placing children for adoption or foster care.
- Montana's Republican Party adopted a platform on June 2010 that calls to criminalize homosexuality.
- Texas Republicans unveiled a policy platform in June 2010 that includes a statement of support for legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples as well as for an official to perform a marriage ceremony for gay partners wishing to wed. They also believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.

1 comment:

FDeF said...

Interesting, informative post. Also very sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country.

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