Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Disturbing Phenomenon of Gays Supporting Anti-Gay Candidates

Anti-gay Republican gubernatorial candidates
I've been a political activist for a long time - first as a Republican, then as an Independent/Democrat. I left the Republican Party for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the GOP's growing anti-LGBT agenda (the GOP 2016 national platform was the most anti-LGBT in the party's history). Add to that the Christofascist takeover of the party base and the effort to grant special rights to right wing, Christians to the denigration of the rights of others, and I simply could no longer be or support Republicans.  Here's a brief sampling of the GOP National Platform that directly opposes LGBT rights: 
MARRIAGE: Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. . . . Every child deserves a married mom and dad. . . . . Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman . . . . we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states. We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities.
ADOPTION: Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation. Private entities which facilitate adoptions enrich our communities. We support measures such as the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family.
TITLE IX: We emphatically support the original, authentic meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It affirmed that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” That language opened up for girls and women a world of opportunities that had too often been denied to them. That same provision of law is now being used by bureaucrats — and by the current President of the United States — to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories.
HEALTHCARE/CONVERSION THERAPY: America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.
What we have seen at the national level in the Republican Party replicated at the state level here in Virginia.  Indeed, it was the Republican Party of Virginia's anti-LGBT agenda that prompted me in 2004 to help "out" former Congressman Ed Shrock who had the second most anti-gay voting record in Congress even as he was soliciting same sex trysts.  Things have not significantly improved with the Virginia GOP since that time.  

Just this year Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed the Republican backed Senate Bill 1324, which state Sen. Charles Carrico (R-Galax) introduced, would not require any person or religious institution to “participate in the solemnization of any marriage” that conflicts “with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” The measure would also prohibit state officials from punishing people and organizations that refuse to take part in a gay or lesbian wedding because of their religious beliefs.  Had a Republican held the Governor's mansion, this bill would have become law.  Only a fool would think that such legislation will not be reintroduced in 2018.

Add to this the Republican support for "bathroom bills" that target transgender individuals and the GOP opposition to nondiscrimination for protections for LGBT employees (even employees of state departments and agencies) and it becomes very clear that the Republican Party and its candidates are enemies of LGBT rights and human dignity.  

If one checks out the campaign websites of this year's GOP gubernatorial candidates, Ed Gillespie, Cory Stewart, and Frank Wagner, it quickly becomes apparent that they contain absolutely no mention of LGBT rights or equality for all Virginians.  Instead protecting confederate monuments, gun rights and support for home schooling can be found.  

Yet despite this very clear opposition to LGBT rights, one continues to see the phenomenon of LGBT individuals supporting Republican candidates.  Disturbingly, some are in positions of purported leadership in the LGBT community.  When confronted about what I see as their betrayal of the LGBT community, one usually gets bloviating about their support for limited government , fiscal conservatism (never mind that the federal deficit always explodes under Republican presidents), etc. To me, it's akin to a 1930's German Jew voting for Nazi Party candidates.  Seemingly, their own personal rights and those of others in the LGBT community simply do not matter.  I truly do not understand the mindset.

As  founder of Hampton Roads Business OutReach, a former board member of Hampton Roads Pride and Equality Virginia honoree, I have spent my time in the trenches of the struggle for LGBT rights and equality.  We all need to support political candidates who truly support our equality and equal rights? 

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