Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gay Marriage: The 21st Century Beckons the GOP

When one looks at the basic aspects of the Republican Party today, the main theme is opposition to modernity and a desire to drag the country back in the past (the 1890's or earlier) be it in the form of returning to the days when blacks were disenfranchised, gays remained closeted and invisible, women knew their place, and the economy functioned for the benefit of the robber barons.  And, of course, back then, white privilege in ever aspect was unchallenged.  For these people, the 21st century is nothing short of terrifying.  As a column in the Washington Post notes, gay marriage is but one way the GOP can accept the 21st century and move forward.  Here are excerpts:
Ah, Texas. The Loon Star State whose governor two weeks ago stirred paranoia by calling up the State Guard to keep tabs on U.S. military exercise because of fears of a rumored “invasion.” Now, the state’s legislature is on the verge of passing a law that would prohibiting clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, thereby defying a presumed Supreme Court ruling in June in favor of marriage equality. This isn’t just a Texas problem. It’s a Republican Party problem. The GOP continues to shake its fist at the 21st century as the rest of the nation and world moves forward into the modern world.

[T]here is a message for the Republican Party on same-sex marriage in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decisive reelection last week. Supporting marriage equality is not anathema to conservatism and won’t hurt you at the polls. Turns out, David Frum of the Atlantic agrees.
“Center-right leaders are in charge of every one of America’s closest English-speaking allies,” he writes. The conservative parties in those allied nations, he notes, “have updated for the 21st century their core message of respect for family, work, and community.” 
Frum adds, 
“All have accepted gay equality, with Australia on the verge of a parliamentary vote to permit same-sex marriage.….”

[Y]ou need a conservatism that makes its peace with the actual changes that have come to the society. The point is to govern the society you have, not the society you imagine you once had or wish you might have in the future. You were elected by the voters of today. And one of the great conservative virtues is realism and to take people as they are. 
The Texas move to bar the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a prime example of a conservatism that has not made peace with the actual changes that have come to society. As are the so-called religious freedom laws that use scripture to hide flagrant prejudices behind God’s grace. 

[T]here are plenty of people in the GOP trying to change the party on same-sex marriage. Much has been written about the deep-pocketed Republicans like Paul Singer  . . . . And then there are the millennials. Citing a 2014 Pew Research Center poll in an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a Virginia group called NextGen GOP notes that “61 percent of Republicans under 30 favor same-sex marriage.”

Those crazy kids are hosting “An Open Conversation about Gay Marriage” event on May 20 in Arlington, Va. Bravo to them. They and others will drag the Republican Party into the 21st century on marriage equality — eventually. It’s a pity something so vital to the GOP’s future involves so much kicking and screaming.

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