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Why the GOP should avoid gay issues in St. Paul

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.

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31 Comments

  1. Even a liberal like me, who doesn’t necessarily see eye to eye with regard to conservative ideology, has to admire this article and the proposed approach.

    Comment by J — August 31, 2008 @ 7:46 pm - August 31, 2008

  2. Avoiding the issue should be really easy with Sarah Palin on the ticket. Her pro-life credentials have seemingly sown up the social conservative vote. Politically, there are hardly any voters to gain and only voters to lose by speaking out against homosexuality. In 2004, in many states, a lot of social conservatives went to the polls to vote against gay marriage. This year, by and large, I think social conservatives aren’t going to go to the polls to vote AGAINST anything but to vote FOR Sarah Palin. And it will be because she is a pro-lifer of the noblest sort, not because of anything having to do with gay issues.

    Comment by cme — August 31, 2008 @ 8:39 pm - August 31, 2008

  3. If gay issues are avoiced altogether, how are conservatives going to konw the ways in which government shouldn’t intervene in our lives?

    Comment by J — August 31, 2008 @ 9:17 pm - August 31, 2008

  4. I think you’ve really nailed it here.

    I’m a non-religious conservative, but I’m also somewhat of a social conservative. However, on the social side of politics I’m much much more concerned about abortion, rather than gay rights issues. You’re adults, you can take care of yourselves. I’m with you if the government starts degrading your status, otherwise I all of us to basically be left alone (and I don’t think you’re “icky” or mind if you smooch your boyfriend).

    In the grand scheme of things though, my attention is on economics and defense. Without stability there, it is not reasonable or maybe even possible to worry about social issues.

    Comment by Erica — August 31, 2008 @ 10:23 pm - August 31, 2008

  5. I think social conservatives aren’t going to go to the polls to vote AGAINST anything but to vote FOR Sarah Palin.

    Well, we are having a referendum on Comrade Obama, radical Marxism, the destruction of the economy, our freedoms and our security. So yeah, we are voting AGAINST a whole hell of a lot.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 1, 2008 @ 1:00 am - September 1, 2008

  6. Not to mention we’re voting against hatred and the bigotry of the liberal left.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 1, 2008 @ 1:01 am - September 1, 2008

  7. Toché. I guess I’ll be doing some voting against myself.

    Comment by cme — September 1, 2008 @ 8:13 am - September 1, 2008

  8. Opps, I screwed up my comment. What I meant was…

    “Well, we are having a referendum on Comrade Obama, radical Marxism, the destruction of the economy, our freedoms and our security. So yeah, we are voting AGAINST a whole hell of a lot.”

    Toché. I guess I myself will be doing some “voting against” rather than just some “voting for”.

    Comment by cme — September 1, 2008 @ 8:15 am - September 1, 2008

  9. #7 just clean up afterwards

    Comment by The Livewire — September 1, 2008 @ 8:16 am - September 1, 2008

  10. Examples of hatred and bigotry, please?

    There seems to be a big of indifference with regard to the left, in some instances. Maybe somewhere down the road both sides will meet somewhere in the middle.

    Comment by J — September 1, 2008 @ 9:32 am - September 1, 2008

  11. Examples of hatred and bigotry on the left? In the past 48 hours, we’ve had the former chairman of the DNC giggling about the prospect of a killer hurricane because the death and destruction might help his party’s prospects in November. We’ve also had the community-based reality coming up with insane conspiracy theories to promote the idea that Sarah Palin’s son Trig is actually her daughter’s child. Several on the left, including one left-wing poster here, have also assailed Palin for bringing a Down’s Syndrome baby into the world.

    How much hatred and bigotry do you need?

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2008 @ 10:51 am - September 1, 2008

  12. Something just occurred to me in this whole baby story. The Palins knew the baby had down syndrome and decided to continue with the pregnancy.

    Had a 16 year old been pregnant, no one would have even done the test! There are risks involved in such tests, so you don’t do one unless you feel it’s necessary – as in age of the mother.

    But why am I even going there – the left is so unhinged it is mindboggling.

    Comment by Leah — September 1, 2008 @ 11:39 am - September 1, 2008

  13. Oh, it gets better, Leah; Obama supporter and endorser Sean “Diddy” Combs is whining about the fact that gas prices are keeping him from taking his private jet. Who wants to bet how fast the Al Gore and Boxer WON’T jump on that one?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 1, 2008 @ 12:08 pm - September 1, 2008

  14. Perhaps more even-handed examples such as the current initiative in Arkansas, the Ledbetter v. Goodyear case, using the circumstances of Gustav to scale back the convention in an effort to win, win, win?

    Those aren’t the most loving things, and neither side should win at just any cost.

    Comment by J — September 1, 2008 @ 12:55 pm - September 1, 2008

  15. Ledbetter v. Goodyear? The plaintiff wanted to sue after the stature of limitations had run out. Don’t you believe in the rule of law?

    Scaling back the convention? That’s a simple matter of respect and good taste. If they went ahead as planned, you’d be slamming them for having party while lives were in danger. Setting up no-win scenarios is not exactly fair, is it?

    So, apparently, following the law and showing respect for disaster victims is now considered hateful and bigoted. That’s how twisted the left in this country is.

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2008 @ 1:40 pm - September 1, 2008

  16. Is he seriously asking for examples of how the party of the Klan are hate filled bigots?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 1, 2008 @ 1:41 pm - September 1, 2008

  17. 15. The statute of limitations? I believe the dissent made a good point. How is that to be applied when matters of pay between employees in the private sector are closely guarded. Are you completely un-appalled that Goodyear did, in fact, pay Ms. Ledbetter considerably less than male counterparts?

    16. So, like, how do you handle party members like Michael Dobson or Phyllis Schafly? And when was it that Bob Jones University decided to allow interracial dating?

    We can do this all day, or we can play a mature game of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

    Take ownership of both the good and bad in your party, and I’ll be more than happy to do the same.

    Comment by J — September 1, 2008 @ 1:48 pm - September 1, 2008

  18. As an Independent, I don’t have to “take ownership” of anything but my own behavior and values. As an economic libertarian, I don’t think it should be the government’s business what companies pay their employees.

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2008 @ 2:05 pm - September 1, 2008

  19. I’m a registered Independent. So, I don’t have to take ownership of any behavior or values but my own. I also believe in the free market, and don’t think it ought to be the government’s business what companies pay their employees, frankly.

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2008 @ 2:06 pm - September 1, 2008

  20. How is that to be applied when matters of pay between employees in the private sector are closely guarded.

    Employees are perfectly capable of telling each other what they make.

    They are also more than able to answer back, “None of your damn business”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 1, 2008 @ 9:01 pm - September 1, 2008

  21. Are you completely un-appalled that Goodyear did, in fact, pay Ms. Ledbetter considerably less than male counterparts?

    Not really, since they demonstrated that there was no discrimination that took place during the requisite period. Indeed, she didn’t even try to claim that there was discrimination against her during the requisite period. She was screaming about discrimination, but couldn’t even come up with when it had actually happened.

    What is appalling is how Democrat Party members believe that people who perform less competently than others should receive the same pay as those who perform more competently. But then again, this IS the party that believes you should receive the same pay for not working as you do for working.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 1, 2008 @ 9:07 pm - September 1, 2008

  22. 12: Interesting comment in light of today’s news.

    Comment by Kevin — September 1, 2008 @ 11:46 pm - September 1, 2008

  23. #21 – Yes, since you are the one we consider “unhinged.”

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 2, 2008 @ 12:54 am - September 2, 2008

  24. […] 2nd, 2008 at 02:59am Mark Noonan Interesting concept, from Gay Patriot West: Some would have McCain use the issues of gay marriage and gays in the military. But, as I said in […]

    Pingback by Blogs For Victory » Being Anti-Anti-Gay — September 2, 2008 @ 2:59 am - September 2, 2008

  25. 20. If a company’s policy prohibits employees from discussing pay like mine does, then such discussion is done at their own risk.

    21. I think it is a misconception that Democratic Party members believe people should be paid equally regardless of the compentency of their work. I’ll re-read the 47-page decision and dissent, but don’t recall where Goodyear submitted Ledbetter was less competent in her work than her male counterparts; they simply asserted the statute of limitations had run out, where the dissenting justices asserted the clock started with each constructive receipt of pay.

    It seems like Goodyear fought this a) to avoid paying penalties and interest, and fines for failure to timely deposit and file all taxes associated with the back pay b) to avoid any fines, penalties and interest for filing incorrect W2’S, and c) to avoid a complete audit of any other violations per the FLSA.

    I will take the suggestioin and go out of my way not to give Goodyear any of my business going forward.

    Comment by J — September 2, 2008 @ 6:27 am - September 2, 2008

  26. And I abhore any sort of affirmative hiring practice that would put a less qualified applicant in place of a more qualified one.

    Comment by J — September 2, 2008 @ 6:33 am - September 2, 2008

  27. “20. If a company’s policy prohibits employees from discussing pay like mine does, then such discussion is done at their own risk.”

    Nothing is stopping you from working somewhere else then, if that’s an issue.

    Comment by The Livewire — September 2, 2008 @ 7:43 am - September 2, 2008

  28. Well, it so happens I need new tires for my Jeep. So, I’m going to buy Goodyear just to spite you. Neener. Neener. Neener.

    Comment by V the K — September 2, 2008 @ 7:46 am - September 2, 2008

  29. GPWest, I strongly disagree with your post. Gay issues are dear to the convictions of many social conservatives, and the GOP would therefore be ill-advised to avoid all mention of this matter. Personally, I am for a verbal statement from the convention this week that clearly articulates the GOP platform regarding gay marriage. For many social conservatives, gay issues are as much a matter of morality as issues regarding the unborn.

    Are conservative gay folks really so thin-skinned that the mere mention of gay issues at the convention causes consternation???

    If so, shame on you.

    Do us all a simple favor and get a spine…

    Comment by JR — September 2, 2008 @ 10:27 am - September 2, 2008

  30. […] day before I left for the Republican National Convention, I advised the GOP to avoid gay issues in St. Paul. Once there, my impression was that they heeded my advice. (Maybe folks at the RNC read this blog. […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Getting My Wish on Gay Issues at GOP Convention — September 9, 2008 @ 6:16 pm - September 9, 2008

  31. […] party is not the source of such attitudes.  And this won’t go often, even if the GOP (as I long have advocated) avoids gay issues […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Flaunting their Ignorance as Evidence of Intellectual Superiority — June 22, 2009 @ 3:05 am - June 22, 2009

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