D Gregory Smith

Gays, Welcome To The Tea Party?

Filed By D Gregory Smith | September 10, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: GOP, hanging gay people, irony, Matthew Shepard, Montana, shock and awe, Swift, Tea Party, tolerance

I was the first blogger to break the news of the hateful dialog Tim-Ranvndal2.jpgin which Montana Tea Party president Tim Ravndal was caught. In short, he appeared to advocate the torture/lynching of gay people, conjuring up the disturbing image of Matthew Shepard.

And yet, as a gay man living in the West, I couldn't help but be surprised and somewhat impressed with the official response of the Big Sky Tea Party leadership in announcing Ravndal's termination:

We continually make it known that we will not tolerate bigoted dialog, behavior or messages at our functions, our meetings or within our ranks. "If a person demonstrates bigotry relative to race, sex, ethnicity, etc. they are not welcome in our organization. The Tea Party movement is about standing up for individual freedom for everyone," said chairman Jim Walker.

Wow. Not bad.

So now I have to ask myself, "Is the Tea Party officially more inclusive than the Republican Party?"

The Montana Republican party has in its platform plank (as, similarly, does Texas) explicit language calling for the criminalization of homosexual acts:

We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.

As a party that touts its tolerance, this seems to me to be quite intolerant. In fact, the Big Sky Tea Party now comes across as much more inclusive, less bigoted and homophobic than the Montana GOP, whose official platform (since 2008) clearly is loaded with prejudice, bigotry and intolerance.

I want to be clear - I am not a Republican, a conservative or a Tea Party member. I am an Independent, liberal, gay man living in Montana. But I can't help but be struck by the diplomacy of my so-called right-wing adversaries vs. the silence and established prejudice of the Grand Old Party.

Which brings me back to the question, "Is the Big Sky Tea Party more supportive of basic human rights than the Montana GOP?"

I find it amusing that we even have to ask the question- and yes, I can honestly appreciate the full-on irony of this moment. But still, no major Republican or Republican groups (even the gay one) has denounced this plank publicly, or even made any semblance of a fuss. Hell, the Democrats haven't even said anything officially- maybe because it's too easy. Whatever. It's just been a few gadflies with an outraged sense of injustice.

So, the answer to the question, on paper anyway, seems to be "Yes."

Tea, anyone?


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Although I was wearing no LGBTQ insigna or clothing at the big "Kill The Bill" Tea Party at the Indiana Statehouse this spring, I was called "faggot" because I was pointing at a really silly sign and laughing. The usual, tired antigay bigot Christianist leadership in Indiana helped organize this event.

"Marriage Equality" is a topic no Teabagger ever espouses!

The problem is religion, not Republican. Even Democrats have a bunch of religiously-inspired bigots.

If the Tea Party would simply dismiss ALL religion, they would enroll a bunch of Independents.

Glad they came out strongly against "bigotry relative to etc."

It's not the Tea Party or *any party* we need. What's need is the inclusiveness of the concept of individual liberty which is a fundamental concept of libertarianism (small "l" and not the political party) and less government. The more government we have and the more power government has the less freedom individuals have--to marry whom they choose or anything else that does not impose force or harm on another individual. Government is the problem here, not the solution. Human rights are innate.

Small l libertarianism would eliminate marriage, and AIDS funding. Private businesses and private schools would have the power to keep the fags and dykes out. Human rights are not innate. The majority tosses the minority to the wolves at the first sign of trouble. Government is necessary to protect liberty.

What we need is to be part of the government as opposed to outside it. American government is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. We are the people.

Even if the Tea Party weren't anti-gay, "small government" policies leaves gays up the creek with an even more apathetic government.

I love tea parties, but not nearly as much as tea dances!

Don't get me started on T-rooms!

Conservatives still haven't figured out how to untangle the 1980 mess of Social Conservatives marrying the Fiscal Conservatives. Its a marriage made in hell as the Fiscal Conservatives tend to be all about small government, little government oversight and intervention, and 'stay out of my bedroom,' which is precisely the opposite of the theocracy the social conservatives want to create.

I guess the Tea Party got an E for Effort, but still no dice. The Tea Party isn't the Fiscal Conservative wing of the Republican Party--its just as big of a mess, with all the same conflicting viewpoints. Its only that its shiny and new and gave people in the party the opportunity to jockey for attention and power.

Its not different, just new.

In the LGBT community, we've seen this a million times before, haven't we?

"Oh I've got a better idea! I've got a better idea--No! Its the same idea!" -Eddie Izard

Surely you understand that the religious element of the Tea Party is the problem, not these continued references to "republicans," especially for the LGBT community. An "Alabama Tea Partier" is a lot different than a "California Tea Partier." The difference is religious fanaticism, not republicans.

Oh yes Andrew, because it is so much easier to have theological debate than a political one.

I'm right because I put it in italics.

You don't pay attention, do you? Both "debates" are a waste of time. They don't accomplish anything.

Andrew, you don't pay attention do you? The political process is how shit gets done in this country. You don't pay attention or you don't get how it works, or maybe you think it's just too hard.

One thing is sure though, telling people their solutions are all wrong when you do not have a workable solution doesn't accomplish anything and is a waste of time.

The political process only works if you get the constituents. We're not doing that and we are losing support because of GetEQUAL's childish nonsense.

Read the comments from people in San Francisco regarding the silly Pelosi protest:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cwnevius/detail?entry_id=71950

Nearly every comment (many from our community) is negative or simply laughing at GetEQUAL's self-important stunts.

They are doing these stunts, so THEY need to provide evidence or at least some rationale that they are helpful. Most people realize they are not and they are actually counterproductive.

We are the constituents. Petitioning the government is only one part of the political process. GetEQUAL is exercising a right. Although to be honest, GetEQUAL wasn't even in my mind.

We can also get the political process to work in our favor by getting more gay people elected.

http://www.victoryfund.org

We've also slowly been changing the interpretation of state constitutions and the federal constitution. Gay and Lesbian Defenders, National Center for Lesbian Rights, American Foundation for Equal Rights, Lambda Legal and the ACLU are all doing amazing stuff in the courts. Even the Log Cabin Republicans have brought us closer to repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell through the court.

Propping up GetEQUAL as the only gay rights group to knock the whole movement is counterproductive.

I didn't "knock the whole movement" I said GE was stupid and counterproductive. You don't change that accurate observation by referencing many groups doing "legal advocacy" for the LGBT Community.

I have also said that we don't do the only effective tactic we have - enrollment. That means talking to neighbors, friends, co-workers and even strangers. In fact, half of our community won't even come out of the closet.

You can call it a "movement," but I don't see it. We've made some progress in the Courts, but none on a national political level (don't say "Hate Crimes Bill" - it wasn't passed, it held Defense spending hostage).

GE isn't "petitioning our government" by pissing on politicians they don't like or disagree with. They simply think that getting angry will make a difference - it doesn't. They are just trying to get attention and thankfully they no longer do.

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-much-lack-of-getequal-follow-up.html