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Gay Groups Refuse to Fault Democrats for Picking Gay Marriage Opponent to Deliver Response to State of the Union Address

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:55 pm - January 30, 2006.
Filed under: Gay Politics

In just over twenty-four hours, shortly after President Bush delivers the State of the Union address, Timothy M. Kaine, the new Democratic Governor of Virginia will delivered “his party’s response.” Although this Democrat signed a bill calling for a referendum on a constitutional amendment to ban state recognition of gay marriage in the Old Dominion, gay leaders have largely been silent about the Democrats’ choice of Kaine. They have not faulted Democrats for tapping such a man nor have they even faulted him for supporting this measure.

And unlike Connecticut’s Republican Governor Jodi Rell, who signed a bill into law recognizing same-sex civil unions in the Nutmeg State, the Virginia Democrat opposes civil unions. Indeed, while the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) faulted California’s Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenengger in multiple press releases for his veto of a bill which would have recognized same-sex marriage in the Golden State, the only reference on HRC’s web-site to Kaine’s support of his state’s amendment resolution was a Washington Post article on the Virginia referendum that they posted here.

HRC accused California’s Republican Governor, more open to state recognition of same-sex unions than his Virginia Democratic counterpart, of putting “politics over people.” (Schwarzenegger has publicly endorsed the state’s domestic partnership program. Not only that, last year, he signed five gay-friendly bills.) Yet, their silence on Kaine suggests that they believe Democrats never put politics over people. No wonder HRC removed the word bipartisan from its Mission Statement.

Indeed, it is a sign of HRC’s increasing partisanship that it refuses to fault a Democratic Governor for having a more narrow view of state recognition of same-sex unions than a Republican they criticize on multiple occasions. And this group, like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has issued no statement taking issue with Democrats for picking a man who just days before he was tapped to be the face of their party (after the President delivers the State of the Union address) pledged to put the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to a referendum, almost certain to pass.

(While NGLTF has also been silent on Kaine’s opposition to gay marriage and they Democrats’ choice of Kaine, that group at least issued no release criticizing Governor Schwarzenengger for his veto.)

Some Democratic activists are upset with this choice. Writing on the Democratic National Committee’s official web-site, Nemo3 faults the Virginia Governor for “gearing up to pass the most heinous, discriminatory piece of anti-gay American legislation the country has ever seen!” At least this guy’s willing to take on his party.

In dealing with Democrats, national gay leaders, however, seem to lack a spine. They have remained silent when Democrats take positions on gay issues similar to those for which they excoriate Republicans. And they don’t seem to be concerned in the least that their party has tapped an opponent of gay marriage (and same-sex civil unions) to address the nation tomorrow night.

If they were just gay Democrats, I might be sympathetic to their silence. By identifying themselves as members of that party, they would signal that they generally agree with the party’s principles. And most partisans recognize that they won’t always agree with their party’s policies nor with those of all its leaders. Gay Democrats could accept the choice of Kaine as a man able to deliver a positive message about their party despite their differences with him on gay marriage, just as we herald Tom Coburn’s leadership on fiscal responsibility despite our concern about some of his statements on gays.

But, a national gay organization should make gay issues — not partisan Democratic ones — its first concern. It should at (the very) least question the choice of a gay-marriage opponent to deliver this coveted address. If there were a Democratic president and the GOP had tapped such a speaker, you can be sure gay groups would be issuing regular statements denouncing the choice.

With the change in HRC’s mission statement and its silence on the Democrats’ choice of Kaine, this group has made clear that it is little more than a gay branch of the Democratic National Committee. It’s time that gay people start treating it as such.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

Please note that this post was inspired in large part by an e-mail exchange last week with Eva Young who blogs at Lloydletta’s Nooz and Comments. I don’t always agree with Eva, but do find her posts interesting and often insightful.

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37 Comments

  1. The gay organizations remind me of an episode of COPS. When the police show up at a domestic disturbance, and start to take away the husband (the Democrats) for kicking the crap out of his wife (gay organizations), all she keeps doing is supporting him, asking the police not to take him away, and that its not his fault, blah, blah, blah.

    Comment by republic of m — January 30, 2006 @ 9:23 pm - January 30, 2006

  2. yeah

    Comment by Calarato — January 30, 2006 @ 9:40 pm - January 30, 2006

  3. I agree. What a bunch of hypocritical ass-kissers.

    Regards,
    Peter Hughes

    Comment by Peter Hughes — January 30, 2006 @ 10:39 pm - January 30, 2006

  4. They can’t be hypocrites. They’re liberals. They only have peoples’ best interests at heart.

    Comment by Queer Conservative — January 30, 2006 @ 10:54 pm - January 30, 2006

  5. “They only have peoples’ best interests at heart. ”

    Gpd save us from the utopianists, whether it is the woker’s paradise, the shing city on a hill, or whatever bright future they want to cattle-drive us inot.

    Comment by Jim — January 30, 2006 @ 11:48 pm - January 30, 2006

  6. Kaine’s position is odious but at least consistent. Arnold pretty much said on Jay Leno’s show that he would sign a gay marriage bill if the legislature or courts passed the bill. Then when the legislature passed a bill, he vetoed. Now he says the courts should decide, which isn’t something some gay conservatives agree with.

    Rell only signed civil unions legislation when the legislature included a provision which banned gay marriage.

    Both parties pander and equivocate on gay marriage. I guess the only difference is when Republicans oppose most legal rights for gay couples, that’s taken for granted.

    Comment by Carl — January 30, 2006 @ 11:57 pm - January 30, 2006

  7. Not quite related to the SOTU speech response but close. There are also people doing things like this:

    Tomorrow you will be faced with a vote that may have the longest aftereffects of any other you have cast in your Senate career.

    Tomorrow you will decide if your political position is worth more than doing what is right for others like you. For others like you, Mr. Senator, who engage in oral sex with other men. (Although, Mr. Senator, most of us don’t do in the bathrooms of Union Station!) Your fake marriage, by the way, will NOT protect you from the truth being told on this blog.

    Pretty nasty blackmail scheme they’ve got going there. (h/t NRO’s The Corner)

    Comment by Chap — January 31, 2006 @ 1:01 am - January 31, 2006

  8. Give us the transcript of where Arnold promised to sign gay marriage on Leno. I frankly don’t believe it.

    Arnold has signed numerous gay rights bills in California. He vetoed ONE bill.

    He frankly had very good grounds for vetoing it – namely, it would have been illegal for him to sign it, and/or, illegal or inoperative from the moment he signed it. That’s because of a California voter initiative in 2000 that already decided against gay marriage, until and unless overridden by future voter initiative.

    The California legislature passed the gay marriage bill cynically, knowing full well that Arnold would not sign it and it would be inoperative if he did. Several Democratic legislators (who made the difference) refused to support the bill, until the inoperability of the bill was explained to them. They finally voted purely to give Arnold a negative headline with the angry gay left base. It looks as though you bought it.

    There’s the Democrats for you though. When there was any chance that the bill could have been (a) signed by Arnold, and (b) operative, they were dead against it. They want gay money, period.

    Comment by Calarato — January 31, 2006 @ 1:06 am - January 31, 2006

  9. I looked for a transcript and can’t find those exact comments, so I will just apologize for being presumptive, and assume he didn’t say those exact words.

    Comment by Carl — January 31, 2006 @ 2:51 am - January 31, 2006

  10. Not quite related to the SOTU speech response but close.

    You are actually going to pay attention to the bloviations of the Cheerleader In Chief? We have a DVD that has far more reality than his BS.

    Comment by raj — January 31, 2006 @ 9:00 am - January 31, 2006

  11. But wait! What’s Gov. Kaine’s positin on abortion? We all recognise that to the various center-left GLBTI moonbats that abortion-rights trumps gay-rights.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — January 31, 2006 @ 12:15 pm - January 31, 2006

  12. And yet a few days ago, GPW was suggesting gays should support a homophobic senator. At least HRC hasn’t issued a press release in support of the man. They have just remained silent.

    http://gaypatriot.net/2006/01/29/senator-tom-coburn-an-interesting-dilemma-for-gay-republicans

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 31, 2006 @ 1:38 pm - January 31, 2006

  13. Patrick, make sure your read past the “jump” in this post as I address that in the concluding paragraphs of the post.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — January 31, 2006 @ 1:57 pm - January 31, 2006

  14. #8 Patrick Rothwell — January 30, 2006 @ 4:07 pm – January 30, 2006

    The California legislature passed the gay marriage bill cynically, knowing full well that Arnold would not sign it and it would be inoperative if he did. Several Democratic legislators (who made the difference) refused to support the bill, until the inoperability of the bill was explained to them. They finally voted purely to give Arnold a negative headline with the angry gay left base. It looks as though you bought it.

    This is a joke, right? It is not unusual for a state legislature to pass a bill, in full knowledge of the fact that it will be struck down if it were signed into law. The Kansas state legislature did that a few years ago, when they passed a late-term abortion law that did not include an exception for the health of the mother. It is called “grandstanding.”

    Comment by raj — January 31, 2006 @ 2:11 pm - January 31, 2006

  15. This is an inane argument. You’re basically saying gays should abandon the Democratic party because its leaders are weak on the issue of same-sex marriage in favor of the Republican party, whose leaders are pushing a Constitutional amendment to ban it. I’ll take Tim Kaine over Rick Santorum any day, folks.

    Comment by Andy — January 31, 2006 @ 2:38 pm - January 31, 2006

  16. how about neither?

    Comment by greek_chorus — January 31, 2006 @ 2:40 pm - January 31, 2006

  17. Mike Rogers, anyone?

    Scummy.

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 31, 2006 @ 6:44 pm - January 31, 2006

  18. I agree greek_chorus – i prefer neither – or if they had a chance of winning, libertarian.

    Comment by republic of m — January 31, 2006 @ 6:44 pm - January 31, 2006

  19. But, in a “watching the car crash” way, I can’t wait to see if he goes through with it, and who’s the target, and whether it backfires on Mike Rogers or makes the tiniest difference whatsoever.

    And yes raj, the CA legislature indeed was “grandstanding” with the gay marriage bill (knowing it would be struck down and had to be; doing it purely for the headlines and Angry Gay Left money donations), as I described.

    Comment by Calarato — January 31, 2006 @ 7:16 pm - January 31, 2006

  20. (and several Democrats not willing to vote for itl, until and unless they knew it would be struck down)

    Comment by Calarato — January 31, 2006 @ 7:17 pm - January 31, 2006

  21. To Andy in 15:
    Please show where he says that? He’s just pointing out hypocrisy and partisanship in an organization that dishonestly puts Democrat politics ahead of equality. He’s not suggesting that HRC or any gay Democrats should leave the party over this guy. All he’s doing is pointing out the hypocrisy of gay moonbats who call us (gay conservatives) self-loathing for putting up with anti-gay crap from our politicians when they are doing the same thing. I want to see HRC and other gay rights organizations making a huge fuss about this guy all over the MSM. But they won’t because he’s a Democrat and they must maintain the illusion that Democrats are the pro-gay party and Republicans are the anti-gay party. It clearly just isn’t that black and white.

    Comment by Dale in L.A. — January 31, 2006 @ 8:01 pm - January 31, 2006

  22. If you want to say that “on average” Democrats are better than Republicans on gay issues, fair enough. But see that just wouldn’t carry the same emotional weight if people saw all the exceptions to the “rule” on both sides of the political spectrum. It would be a lot harder to villianize conservatives then.

    Comment by Dale in L.A. — January 31, 2006 @ 8:04 pm - January 31, 2006

  23. It came as a great surprise, but leftist John Aravosis, a gay who runs Americablog, finally attacked the Democratic Party for inviting a “homophobe”governor to give the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union address.

    Comment by Jack Allen — January 31, 2006 @ 9:20 pm - January 31, 2006

  24. I’m liberal and I hated this choice for the response. It’s clear though why he was chosen: he’s a newly won Democrat governor and therefore labelled as a current star for Democrats. Not a reason in my opinion, but so goes politics.

    Comment by Kevin — January 31, 2006 @ 11:07 pm - January 31, 2006

  25. Aravosis had no problem with “homophobes” before.

    Maybe that’s because the Kaine campaign didn’t pay him.

    And as for Andy….isn’t it funny how Democrats who support stripping gays of rights are “weak on the issue”, but Republicans who do so are horrible homophobic bigots who don’t deserve to hold office?

    Now go on. Tell us again how Kaine is “pro-gay” and “gay-supportive” — you did it for John Kerry’s identical positions last year.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 31, 2006 @ 11:33 pm - January 31, 2006

  26. I don’t like Tim Kaine’s position on gay marriage and I don’t like that the Democrats picked him to deliver the party’s response. However, as unfortunate as it is, the Democrats have to pretend to be more socially conservative, otherwise they will never again carry another southern state in a presidential election. Cause ya’ll may exhault the Repulicans for their fiscal policy, but the majority of Republican voters vote solely on 2 issues: abortion and gays. Most people just don’t listen to the rest.

    Our nation is one of the few on the planet, particularly among western idustrialized nations, were religious fundamentalism flourishes. As such, the sort of social change that would make the lives of homosexuals easier, is going to be very hard to implement.

    I welcome gay Republican efforts to change the face of the GOP. But it must be said, as of now, you’re not doing a very good job. Rather than enacting change, the Republican leadership has become even more socially conservative and even more allied with the religious right. Rather than criticizing Democrats, why don’t you work on that?

    Comment by Brock — February 1, 2006 @ 12:20 am - February 1, 2006

  27. Brock, we’d like to change the face of the GOP, but we need a responsible gay Republican organization to help us out. Until Log Cabin puts forward a Republican vision of gay rights, I’m afraid it’s up to us bloggers.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — February 1, 2006 @ 12:42 am - February 1, 2006

  28. But yes, I would agree that to say the Democrats are simply the pro-gay party and the Republicans the anti-gay party, is an oversimplification. A better description would be: The Democratic leadership tries to be as pro-gay as possible, without prompting a voter backlash, while the Republican leadership tries to be as anti-gay as possible, without prompting a voter backlash. And when I say leadership, I mean national party leadership. At the state level, there are going to be exceptions to that rule too. But when you think about it with that in mind, it pretty much takes care of the grey areas.

    Yet sadly, a pro-gay Republican is like water in the Sahara. It’s there. It’s just hard to find. At the same time, even one anti-gay Democrat in my party is too many for me. But how do you vote if you are a gay Democrat in Virginia? Their choice for Governor was a religious conservative and a conservative democrat. It wasn’t much of a choice.

    Still, Warner was able to ban anti-gay discrimination in state employment in his final days through an executive order, probably something Kilgore, the Repulican candidate, would have recinded had he been the Governor-elect instead of Tim Kaine. In a state like Virginia, unfortunately, that’s the best you can do.

    Comment by Brock — February 1, 2006 @ 12:48 am - February 1, 2006

  29. What’s wrong with the Log Cabin Repulicans? They try hard at a thankless job.

    Comment by Brock — February 1, 2006 @ 12:52 am - February 1, 2006

  30. Look, the LCR has it tough. Most of the gay community doesn’t like them and most of the Republican Party establishment doesn’t like them either! They are like persona-non-grata to both sides. They really have a thankless job and yet, they stick to their principles. For that alone, they should be commended. And this is coming from a hardcore, Nancy Pelosi is my woman, Democrat. So i’m saying it now, don’t mess with the LCR. =)

    Comment by Brock — February 1, 2006 @ 1:04 am - February 1, 2006

  31. What’s wrong with the Log Cabin Republicans is that they’re more interesting in being a gay rights’ organization than a Republican one. If they want to change the party — which I believe should be essential to their mission — they need to worry less about pleasing HRC (which, as I’ve noted in this post, seems very concerned about not offending Democrats) and figure out ways to influence the GOP.

    It’s wrong to say as you do, in #31, that most of the GOP establishment doesn’t like them. Many would be willing to work with them if they could demonstrate a commitment to the GOP.

    That could do that by coming out strongly for some items on the GOP agenda, as they did briefly last year with Social Security reform — and by daring to criticize Democrats. Their (Log Cabin’s, that is) leadership seems to prefer the company (and good opinion) of gay activists to that of Republicans. And that’s one reason why they fail.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — February 1, 2006 @ 1:49 am - February 1, 2006

  32. Rather than enacting change, the Republican leadership has become even more socially conservative and even more allied with the religious right.

    Then compare that to this:

    However, as unfortunate as it is, the Democrats have to pretend to be more socially conservative, otherwise they will never again carry another southern state in a presidential election.

    Pot, meet kettle.

    Oh, and by the way, Brock, they’re not pretending. That’s a fiction that gay leftists dreamed up to explain why the people to whom they give millions of dollars clearly and consistently vote against them. They’ve just realized that liberal gays are such suckers that they’ll rationalize anything for a few cheap words of feigned acceptance.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 1, 2006 @ 1:56 am - February 1, 2006

  33. The Democratic leadership tries to be as pro-gay as possible, without prompting a voter backlash, while the Republican leadership tries to be as anti-gay as possible, without prompting a voter backlash.

    Ah, that explains why gay groups call Democrats who want to strip gays of rights by state constitutional amendment “pro-gay” and “gay-supportive”, while calling people like Schwarzenegger who OPPOSE such amendments “antigay”.

    It’s all about party, folks.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 1, 2006 @ 2:01 am - February 1, 2006

  34. HRC’s hypocrisy vis-a-vis its ineffectiveness vis-a-vis its mission are all at odds. It’s never been an useful GLBT PAC, and its recent developments exacerbate that disappointment. The deference to Kaine vs. the maligning of Schwarzenegger shows me, at least, HRC does not know its own good, let alone what is good for GLBTs. Kaine has set back gay inclusion immeasurably, and HRC does nothing. That it has abandoned its non-partisan appellation comes as no surprise; HRC has become an apologist for the DNC, and Solomonese is more interested in NARAL than GLBT rights.

    Fortunately, the NGLTF and Lambda remain respectable associations, still tending to the Left, but within the general scheme of social liberalism, rather than a particular political ideology. I wish all the groups could be less strident and vitriolic and more educational and promotional. The “shouting at each other” tactics obviously have not, nor will not, work. We need to work together over issues that concern us as citizens and participants equally.

    But, as we saw with GWB, one doesn’t need to appear extremist to be one. What could be more American than promoting marriage in a narrow, conservative manner, unless that’s just a screed to send chills up people’s spines about gays qua gays, much worse gay marriage? GWB has an uncanny ability to spin his malfeasance to look innocent enough, but anyone with a view to Rove’s tactics understands what’s really going on. The “hate and divide” has worked with too many people, and one of the biggest losers has been GLBTs.

    Incompetent leadership at all levels and on all fronts is destroying all of us, first as a nation, and second as people who find love in our own gender. All sides of the hue and cry bear responsibility for its incivility. And the intensity of division and discontent in this country has never been more fervent since Vietnam. Rather than trying to find “common ground,” extremists on the Right and the Left have found no shared interests.

    All our leaders have special interests in mind, not the common good. And as long as the conversation always returns to “rights” over “virtue,” we will largely be speaking past each other. That’s why I admire writers like Dale Carpenter, Jonathan Rauch, Andrew Sullivan, and others. As true conservatives in the Burkean, Oakshott, and Hayekean sense, they’ve consistently provided intelligent, coherent, and honest discussion of issues that concern us both as citizens and as a minority within that citizenry.

    I suppose there will always be the need for PACs to serve special interests, but I think the GLBT “rights” movement must now get out of the street and into the lecture halls, the civic conventions, the classroom, savy and respectable journals, addressing not only rights, but also finding expression of our vision for the common good. I’m convinced that once the banter is set aside, many, if not most, of our objectives and goals are too similar to fight each other, but to fight against the anti-democratic, anti-republican forces on the Right and the Left.

    The irony of ironies, however, is that most GLBTers use a libertarian, anarchist approach when it comes to their rights (e.g., just leave me alone), but very few try to show or explain how GLBTs contribute to the overall common good. In the GLBT’s defense, it’s hard to be equipoised when one’s opponents use visceral and repugnant language and tactics — it’s challenging to be civil when the opponent preys upons fears and prejudices, and especially when “they” attack a very core of one’s being.

    Stephen Miller has repeatedly suggested that GLBT tone down it tenor and “reason” with the religious wingnuts and social rednecks. Sorry, while the idea appeals, the practice fails. I’ve seen bloviators like Fox’s O’Reilly destroy GLBT people by a variety of deplorable tactics. How can one reason with such people? Mel White tried to reason with Jerry Falwell, but the latter was too self-righteous to get anywhere. Pat Robertson, Lou Sheldon, James Dobson, et alia, who have large followings, are simply vile individuals, with whom “communion” is impossible! Good luck and good bye.

    I dislike the militancy and stridancy found on both sides. Indeed, if we understand that ALL our advances have come about through our own individual stories having been told to others (usually by “coming out”) and that the justice we GLBT seek is simple equality, not special rights, the converts to our causes will continue to be legion. It helps immensely when a film about gay love sweeps the nation; it’s an opportunity to explore issues that the film raises, and negate the prejudices that many fanatics want to superimpose.

    America, especially since the ’60s has been preoccupied with “rights.” These interests have been important, and remain so. Yet equally needed are the concepts of fairness, equality, the good life, a common good, solidarity, self-control, empathy, while granting that different people will take different routes to get there. Unfortunately, for many people, if it’s not in the Bible, a great many people won’t even try to go there. Such fundamentalism is no different qualitatively from Islamicists. I prefer to identify them as “fanatics” rather than fundamentalists. And GLBT is right to insist that no one has the right to impose one’s own fanaticism on others, otherwise s/he’s no different than al-Quaeda. Frankly, I don’t see much difference between the Southern Baptist Convention and al-Quaeda, save perhaps the extremist means.

    Fanaticism, no less than doctrinaire Marxism, as with Islamic fundamentalism are all inimical to democratic self-government and a republican society of plural interests, where each individual is free to determine for himself the good life, but does so with respect for others and without harm to others. It’s the ideal of the Founders, and as far as I can tell, it is wholly compatible with the ideals of the GLBTers of today. As repeatedly shown, it is the fanatics, usually religious, that have subverted the American ideal time after time. They, not GLBTs, are the real problem.

    Thus, as a part of the national dialogue, it is essential for GLBT to identify with the Founder’s ideals, and to marginalize all those would undermine that ideal. But we must go beyond the obstacle, and help Americans to imagine what a truly liberal society might look like. Holland, Spain, Belgium, and to some extent Canada are all helping us get there. Wherever GLBT inclusion has succeeded, fanaticism had to be defeated. Still more, GLBT had to demonstrate that civic virtues, the common good, and the pursuit of happiness beckon all people of all stripes.

    So, just as GWB has failed, so too has HRC. Both have special interests in their sights, not the common good. It’s now time to plan for the next elections and those following; to reinvigorate many of our associations to find common ground rather than persue each one’s special interests. It can be done. Indeed, it must be done. Empathy must supplant ressentment, dialogue replace militancy, reason overcome religious zealotry, and the extremists marginalized for their division rather than for their shared vision. Almost everything that could go wrong, has. Doing it the “old” Sixties’ way no longer works. But in order for GLBT to be heard, we must first learn to hear, too. Tagging one a “liberal” in order to dismiss “them” is evidence one hasn’t heard.

    Comment by Stephen — February 1, 2006 @ 5:21 am - February 1, 2006

  35. In response to #18 – they will never have a chance to win if you don’t have the guts to vote for them when they will definitely lose.

    Comment by Jeff in DC — February 1, 2006 @ 8:39 am - February 1, 2006

  36. GWB an extremist? That’s funny. George doesn’t even qualify as conservative.

    Comment by rightwingprof — February 1, 2006 @ 11:55 am - February 1, 2006

  37. “this is coming from a hardcore, Nancy Pelosi is my woman, Democrat. So i’m saying it now, don’t mess with the LCR. =)”
    - GPW’s point made.

    #34: For crying out loud, Stephen. Start your own blog. I quit reading after 3 paragraphs.

    Comment by Dale in L.A. — February 1, 2006 @ 12:27 pm - February 1, 2006

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