A reader alerts me to a plank in the platform of the Montana GOP similar to language recently adopted by Republicans in the Lone Star State:
We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.
At least Montana Republicans avoided the detailed attack on the “practice of homosexuality” contained in the Texas platform. That said, the inclusion of this plank — as of that in Texas — is both troubling and counterproductive and strikes at the heart of the basic Republican principle of freedom.
We’re not asking anyone to embrace what social conservatives call our “lifestyle,” we’re asking instead that they leave us alone to control our own lives, using our God-given liberty to engage in the pursuit of happiness in the manner which, we believe, best corresponds with our nature as individuals.
When social conservatives press the GOP to include such passages in their party platforms, they allow the media (and their allies in the Democratic Party) to turn the focus from the small government policies most state parties are coming to embrace and instead to portray the party as an institution seeking to regulate every aspect of our private lives. And this even as reader darkeyedresolve, himself a former Democrat, put it in a private communication (which I quote with his permission), ” party platforms are pretty much rewards to activists”.
He noted further that “only the most passionate people are going to have time to take out of their lives to go to a convention and then sit around and vote on a platform.” He hadn’t “heard of one prominent Texas Republican attached to it.”
The left dwells on these planks because it fits their narrative of an intolerant GOP. They may well give more ink to such issues even as Republican legislators devote more time to opposing the Democrat’s big-government legislative initiatives and proposing small government reforms.
That said, reprehensible as these planks are, they are isolated occurrences. Most Republicans have reached a kind of modus vivendi with the increasing social acceptance of homosexuality in American society and basically ignoring gay issues. Importantly, such planks don’t mean much in terms of actual legislation at the state level. To be sure, we are seeing a handful of states banning gay adoption and preventing the state from granting benefits to same-sex partners of state employees, but they’re not barring private companies from doing so nor are they preventing them from treating their gay employees fairly. Nor are states doing anything to prevent us from living our lives openly.
Still, this legislation shows that we gay Republicans have work to do in convincing our party that gay people can live moral and socially productive lives.
If you’re in Montana or Texas, I encourage you to write the party and tell them how such proposals tear at the heart of the Republican message of liberty so eloquently articulated by Abraham Lincoln in the Nineteenth Century and Ronald Reagan in the Twentieth.