The Republican Party’s Gay Problem
Nate Nelson at GOP Progress writes about what may be one of the more insurmountable problems the Republican Party will face in 2008:
The Republican Party needs to get over its gay problem. I’m not saying that Republicans should capitulate to every whim of the so-called gay rights movement, much of which is just a front for the left. Reasonable people can and should disagree on certain issues. As a gay man, I disagree with the gay rights movement on a number of issues. For example, I don’t believe in hate crime legislation for gays and lesbians or for anyone else; I don’t think we should engage in social experimentation with the military during a time of war by repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; and I don’t think that same-sex marriage should be judicially imposed upon the states, but that it should instead be worked out by state legislatures. We should have reasonable debate about these issues without lightly throwing around words like “homophobia” and “heterosexism.” But with that said, there is homophobia and heterosexism within the Republican Party, and it needs to be addressed if Republicans really have any interest in being the Big Tent party.
Without exception, the anti-gay sentiment within the Republican Party comes from those who cannot accept that people will believe and behave differently than they do. These are the people who believe that consensual sex between gay and lesbian adults should still be criminalized, simply because their interpretation of Christian scriptures tells them that it is wrong. In this, they are no different than the Islamic extremists who would impose shari’a upon the world. These are the people who believe, contrary to overwhelming medical and psychological evidence, that a homosexual orientation can be changed and who encourage gays and lesbians to seek alteration of their sexual orientation. In this, they are the ones who destroy families, by encouraging men like Gene Robinson and Jim McGreevey to live a lie, a lie that they will inevitably fail to live with eventually. They share in the responsibility for the destruction of families that results when gays and lesbians are forced to admit their sexual orientation to heterosexual spouses and to their children. These are the people who truly do hate gays and lesbians, the people who would disown even their own children if they came to them and told them that they are gay.
In other words, the problem in the GOP is with those who cannot accept that people have the right to live their lives as they wish to live them. It comes from the authoritarians who wish to impose their own vision of what the proper social order is on the rest of society.
And the salvation, it would seem, would be in those who accept the principle that what my neighbor does in the private life causes me no harm.
That used to be what Republicans stood for, until the Christianists and authoritarians came into power.