Unlike most bloggers who write on gay issues, I don’t believe we should turn to the government to address many of our concerns. Yes, I believe we need to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell and to enact laws recognizing same-sex relationships, but beyond that, the state should leave us alone.
We are already seeing the fruits of that “neglect.” We are increasingly being able to live openly in American society. More and more corporations have adopted non-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation while offering benefits for same-sex domestic partnership. Just today, I didn’t think twice when kissing the guy I’m dating good-bye on a public street or holding his hand when we walked to lunch.
Even as the Republican National Committee and the McCain campaign have done a great job in accommodating my late request for blogger credentials to the convention this week, I’m not so naif to ignore the various anti-gay voices within my party.
Some would have McCain use the issues of gay marriage and gays in the military. But, as I said in this post that would be a bad idea. It might galvanize social conservatives but would do so “at the expense of independent voters” while antagonizing many rank-and-file Republicans.
The issue, as I’ve said then and repeated ad nauseum since I first founded a Log Cabin chapter in the late 1990s, is that most Americans are neither pro-gay nor anti-gay, but they are by and large, anti-anti-gay. They may not like what we do in the bedroom, may find it “icky,” may even disapprove of my public smooch this afternoon, but they pretty much want to leave people like us alone. And would wonder at politicians who dwell on the issue.
I’m delighted that my notion of most voters being anti-anti-gay is getting some attention. It earned me a reference last month in the Washington Times‘ blogotics column.
But, I hope it’s not just conservative columnists who are paying attention to this notion. GOP Convention planners would also do well to take heed. Should they dwell on gay issues in St. Paul, they’ll drown out the reform message which resonates with the Republican base as well as independent voters.
This will help not just with straight undecided voters, but also with gay voters. When I asked a gay Hillary supporter who was leaning toward McCain whether gay issues were important to him when he cast his vote, he wrote back:
They are somewhat important, but from the “do no harm” perspective. I don’t mind when a politician doesn’t support advancing gay rights, but I do when they attempt to take back gains already made.
Simply put, if the GOP avoids gay issues this week–and in the fall campaign–John McCain should be able to appeal to swing voters and secure a substantial share (say more than 30%) of the gay vote.