With Mike Huckabee’s ascension to GOP front runner, the role of so-called “values voters” are once again at the forefront of media coverage. My disgust with this block of voters was challenged by one of these conservative evangelicals in a recent discussion I was having. His argument was that by allowing LGBT issues to influence my vote, I was doing the same thing I accused his ilk of: imposing my views on others at the ballot box.
It’s actually an interesting argument. Do evangelicals and LGBT advocates really have more in common than they care to think? Are LGBT voters really just the mirror image of conservative values voters because of the importance they place on social issues?
The more I thought about it, he was right. I am a values voter. I use my views on social issues to shape who I vote for.
So what separates me from the conservative, anti-gay, evangelicals? Am I just as bad as the people I despise?
I admit that my values and views on LGBT rights are one of my top voting priorities. I also admit that I find most conservative social views deplorable. What separates me from them, however, is how my values and beliefs would affect others and their lives.
Let’s break it down.
I believe in marriage equality, hate-crimes laws, and non-discrimination policies. The evangelicals think that anything with a LGBT attached to it is morally wrong and should not be supported.
My beliefs really don’t affect anyone but me. If I get married to my partner, it won’t have any affect on the conservative voter or their marriage. Neither will protections against anti-LGBT crime and discrimination. These values simply expand my rights without any effect on the opposition. I am improving my life without hurting others or their rights.
The beliefs of the evangelicals, however, are all about interfering in the lives of others and imposing their personal values on the entire nation. The constitutional bans on gay marriage directly affect me and my family, while at the same time not having any impact on their lives. When conservatives oppose hate-crimes legislation and non-discrimination policies it harms me and my life, yet again takes nothing away from them.
Their entire argument against LGBT issues is based on personal moral disdain, rather than any real tangible evidence that it would harm them. All of the conservative social values and voting priorities are about taking away the rights of others and imposing their view on the world, while at the same time not messing up their personal status quo.
So do I vote my social values? Absolutely.
I value equality and respect for all people.
I value expanding the rights of people, not taking them away.
I value the rights of others to live their lives without imposing my beliefs on them.
That’s something the evangelicals should take a lesson in. By preserving their own rights and stripping away the rights of others, they have lost all sense of values and morals.
So, I guess my evangelical debater was right. I am a values voter.