Thursday, April 23, 2015

Policy Perspective: Which Party Went as Far as It Could to Block Gay Rights?

Yes, this is the civil-rights breakthrough of our time. Next, women...

Have you seen a pattern, that over time issues come to a boil, hit critical mass, and, boom, America is ready for a change? With acceptance of LGBT Americans, our country hesitated, hesitated, backtracked, and reconsidered the issue as headwinds swirled and opposition to it built -- and then collapsed.

What drove it? I'm straight, so my view is essentially as an outsider, but from what I saw the generation of millennials just said it was no big deal. Then the boomers, still part of the gay-sex-is-icky generation, thought, "Why?" Then they shrugged and concluded, "I don't know."

And, boom, opposition melted away. Except among the Republican conservative base, which is still large enough to cause mischief. Witness the little volcanoes of resistance as red state after red state tried to whip up a religious basis for discriminating against gays. It hasn't so far worked, which is another of those small tsunamis of cultural shift I didn't expect. I thought red states will be red states, but no, the business community rose up and said you can't do this. It's bad for business.


But my point about policy and party still stands. Bobby Jindal -- governor of Louisiana and unannounced charter-member of the 2016 GOP clown-car brigade -- now vows not to cave like the rest of the sissy GOP governors. He'll sign the Louisiana bill to discriminate against gays, godammit. For religious reasons of course. From TPM:
"If we, as conservatives, are to succeed in advancing the cause of freedom and free enterprise, the business community must stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for religious liberty," Jindal said. "The left-wing ideologues who oppose religious freedom are the same ones who seek to tax and regulate businesses out of existence. The same people who think that profit making is vulgar believe that religiosity is folly. The fight against this misguided, government-dictating ideology is one fight, not two. Conservative leaders cannot sit idly by and allow large corporations to rip our coalition in half."
Whether you agree with Jindal or not, no clearer statement has been made of how conservatives view this issue. They believe that citizens should have the right -- they believe founded in religious principle -- to discriminate against LGBT people.

If that's how you feel, vote for Republicans. They won't win, but they'll be up to mischief for a while more. Otherwise, vote for Democrats. I do for this reason, among others.

Bonus news today: ABC/WaPo have a poll out showing 61% of Americans now support same-sex marriage. The 35% who don't, by and large, are somewhere in that GOP base we call the tea party. You can take that to the bank.

I have a gay friend who's clearly a fiscal conservative, and I had the distinct feeling he'd like to support the GOP because of this. I don't know how he votes. But I would counsel him to vote Democratic and pressure his Dems to be more fiscally frugal. I suspect that's probably how members of his broader community handle political choices.

A final thought here: Our LGBT community has long been separate from the rest of us (surprisingly more integrated than many of us knew!), but those days are fleeting. We are us, all together. Don't you feel better? I do.

If Jindal and his Republican Neanderthals don't, fuck 'em. And don't vote for them.

Bobby's Alamo is the religious right to discriminate? That's so yesterday.

Bonus Update. David Cameron, in the middle of a fierce election in the UK, said he could not be turned in his support for LGBT rights, and he's the leader of the Conservative Party! Much in the opposite direction, Rand Paul has declared that he doesn't believe in gay rights. Ah, the inartful dodger...

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