Every political campaign cycle - and in Virginia with its off cycle state elections, that means every year - LGBT Americans see their lives cynically used as political footballs as Republicans in particular strive to prostitute themselves to the Christofascists and ludicrously termed "people of faith." People of hate, bigotry and superstition might be a better phrase. This year is proving to be no exception as all of the GOP presidential candidates make statements to appease the knuckle draggers. The question is, what do these candidates really believe given their sometimes conflicting statements. A piece in The Daily Beast looks at the perhaps disingenuous game being played by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as they seem to shift their statements depending upon the audience in front of them. Personally, I do not trust either of them. Here are article highlights:
Despite the fact that the Republican candidates have been locked in a down-and-dirty, no-holds-barred, ugly-as-all-get-out primary season, an issue typically central to their party’s contests—and internal battles—has somehow avoided much scrutiny: Where do the GOP’s top presidential contenders stand on gay rights?The last time a Republican won the White House, when George W. Bush snagged a re-election victory in 2004, opposition to same-sex marriage was central to the party’s identity.
But now, the GOP’s top contender avoids addressing the issue, and the candidate in a close second seems extraordinarily comfortable saying different things to different groups of would-be supporters.
Donald Trump, the frontrunner, has attended at least one same-sex wedding and publicly praised his acquaintance Elton John’s marriage to his male partner. And Ted Cruz, despite consistently voicing his opposition to federal protections for same-sex couples, has reportedly made off-the-record comments indicating that the issue isn’t actually that big of a priority for him.
That said, the Texas senator has made legal protections for businesses and individuals who don’t want to hire or serve same-sex couples a central part of his campaign. He regularly talks up his religious freedom focus on the stump, arguing that Christians in the U.S. are under attack.
Trump has telegraphed that he may sympathize with that view, indicating that he supports the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill that gay rights advocates say could provide cover for businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
Trump has made a host of comments on the question of whether or not he supports the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex couples to wed, and it’s given Log Cabin Republicans serious pause. The group put out a video last month highlighting the wide variety of statements he’s made on the subject. They include: that same-sex marriage is the law of the land, that evangelical Christians who oppose same-sex marriage rights can “trust” him on the issue, and that Americans need to come together.
“We’re going to bring people together. That’s your thing, and other people have their thing,” he told a New England Cable News reporter who asked him if he would advance gay rights. “We have to bring all people together.”
That hasn’t happened. At all. Instead, Trump has been resolutely obtuse about the issue—drawing condemnation from the anti-marriage-equality National Organization for Marriage (which endorsed Cruz), and bafflement from Log Cabin Republicans.
Craffey said Aminoff [of the LA Log Cabin Reoublicans] told attendees that Cruz supported his decision to meet with them and said his campaign should be doing more to court LGBT Republicans’ votes. Aminoff didn’t respond to a request for comment for this story (and neither did the Trump or Cruz campaigns).
Craffey added that despite Cruz’s stated opposition to marriage equality—the candidate holds that individual states should be able to decide whether or not to recognize same-sex unions—he doesn’t think Cruz would do much about it as president.
“Ted Cruz wouldn’t be anti-gay, just hands off,” he said.
And he said he thinks Cruz is playing up that position to boost his primary prospects.
“If you want to make it through the primary, it’s like a necessary evil,” he added.
Penny Nance, who heads the socially conservative group Concerned Women for America and recently endorsed Cruz, said evangelical Christians need to worry more about their credibility on marriage than anything else.
“We have diluted marriage,” she said. “The divorce rates, the cohabitation rates in the church are very similar to everyone else’s, and so we’ve got to get our own act together. We don’t have the moral standing to talk about this issue if we’re not walking the walk ourselves.”
I trust neither of them and see electing a Democrat as the only safeguard against threats to LGBT rights and continued marriage equality. As for the Log Cabin Republicans, I continue to view them as the equivalent of Jews joining Hitler's Nazi Party.