Bloggers defend CPAC, GOProud
Liz Mair explains that while Democrats are often labeled as the home for gay voters, they are not entirely at home:
Let’s start with President Obama, the leader of the Democratic Party, since he’s the figure most in the public eye. What’s that you say? Obama is opposed to gay marriage?
Yes, it’s true. Obama is opposed to gay marriage, though he has mentioned that his views on the matter may evolve over time. He’s also in favor of civil unions. You know who else held that position—pro-civil unions, anti-gay marriage? George W. Bush. Bush, as we all know, is a Republican. Members of his party did things like voted for Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California. But you know who else did? Probably at least a few Obama voters. Obama won California in 2008 with about 61 percent of the vote. Prop 8 passed with about 52 percent of the vote. Do the math; it can’t possibly have been McCain voters who put Prop 8 over the top, it was Democrats (or at least people who voted for the Democrat), and in a very liberal state, at that.
While we’re performing this little exercise, let’s take a look at the votes in the Senate and House on the Federal Marriage Amendment, the initiative to ban gay marriage nationwide, which was (admittedly) initiated by Republican Members of Congress.
In the Senate, seven Republicans voted against the amendment, and one Republican (Chuck Hagel) did not vote. Interestingly, four Democrats failed to cast a “no” vote. Many of those Democrats who voted “no” (the vote I would have taken, obviously) had previously espoused their strong opposition to gay marriage, for what it’s worth—all of which makes for a slightly more muddled picture than some folks like to pretend.
In the House, the “muddle” was even more evident: 34 Democrats voted for the amendment; 27 Republicans voted against, thus further emphasizing my point: Generalizations are always fun as a matter of rhetoric; the problem is that they don’t stand up as well under scrutiny as a lot of the rhetoricians like to pretend.
The votes in the Senate to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) and House votes on the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) back in 2007 are also indicative of a more muddled picture. Eight Republican senators—a hardly insubstantial number which included more conservative Republicans like Richard Burr and John Ensign—voted to repeal DADT. When voted on in 2007, ENDA, legislation considered more controversial and less easily supported by a lot of gay conservatives themselves than DADT repeal, garnered the support of 35 House Republicans, including more conservative members like California’s John Campbell, Jeff Flake, Thaddeus McCotter, and Paul Ryan. 25 Democrats voted against the legislation. Unless you track this stuff as closely as I do, or more closely, that’s probably not what you thought happened, right? Well, it did. And that adds a little more color to explanations of why, actually, many gays don’t feel uncomfortable backing Republicans or indeed conservatives. It’s certainly worth noting that in 2008, as against the previous presidential election, many gays felt warmer to the GOP ticket.
Ladd Ehlinger, the guy responsible for several great ads during the mid-term election, also weighed in:
One wonders how this shun-and-boycott maneuver would have worked for Christ when he was converting women of ill repute and tax collectors?
Look, it’s not that I take issue with religious beliefs that homosexuality is a sin, or that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman, or any of the other religious arguments made by the social conservative side. Some matters, especially within the realm of theology, are simply inarguable. No, my concern is a certain amnesia regarding the key fundamental to Western Civilization, a decidedly Judeo-Christian fundamental, which has made our civilization the greatest in all of history.
The religious concept of free will.
Consider that, without free will, there would be no need to proselytize and exhort those to believe through faith, would there? Otherwise, God would make everyone believe in Him with His omnipotence. From individual free will comes the concept of freedom of religion: practice your religion as you see fit (or sin as you see fit), so long as you let others practice theirs in the same free way, and cause no physical harm to others. (That last bit is why Islam is of such concern - a religion that demands worldly theocracy and the physical punishment and destruction of non-believers by the State).
Now, I’m no Biblical scholar, but I don’t recall Jesus saying anywhere that “Rome must protect traditional marriage through law.” He had many things to say about worldly government, but He always seemed to take great pains to distinguish between His Kingdom of Heaven, and the world of Rome.
So I’m going to CPAC, which sounds to me like a convention primarily geared towards individual liberty and freedom. It’s a shame that those boycotting CPAC don’t believe that their own ideas aren’t worth arguing for in the battlefield of ideas.
Both have excellent points. Unfortunately, some groups and even some respected think-tanks believe that individual liberty stops at someone’s sexual orientation. CPAC is a place where conservatives and libertarians, which Reagan called the “very heart and soul of conservatism,” can have a debate on the issues where we have differences. Then again, the folks not going may not be reasoned or mature enough to have that discussion.