Waymon Hudson

GOP Debate's LGBT Rights Recap

Filed By Waymon Hudson | June 14, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: election 2012, gay marriage, gay rights, GOP, LGBT, LGBT rights, politics, Presidential, Republican

In case there was any doubt about where the Republican field of presidential candidates stand on gay rights issues, republican-party.jpglast night's CNN debate should have cleared things up. When it came to basic rights for the LGBT community, there was really no debate at all.

All the candidates went further than just opposing same-sex marriage personally or for "religious reasons." Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all said they supported a Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. constitution. Herman Cain (who opposes same-sex marriage), said it should be left up to the states and Ron Paul opposed it on libertarian grounds ("the government shouldn't be in the business of marriage at all").

Of course, recent polls show that the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and relationship recognition for LGBT couples. A federal marriage amendment is even more unpopular and has been for years. The argument for a federal amendment flies in the face of the "small government" meme that permeated the debate and at times forced candidates to argue both for and against "states rights" (another favorite talking point of the night) in the same sentence.

Gingrich went on to criticize the Obama administration's decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. And since he's on his third wife, I suppose he knows something about defending marriage... He's just usually defending it from his ex-wife or his mistress.

The field of Republicans was just as backwards and regressive on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the soon-to-be-gone policy of prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Bachmann, Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Cain, and Santorum all opposed the repeal.

In short, the debate can be summed up like this: government is bad (unless controlling your womb, marriage, non-christian religion, or private life), but you should elect me to run what I hate. Makes perfect sense, right?

And so the race to the far right continues... Tripping over bigotry and hypocrisy all the way.


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What did ron paul say about dadt?

It happens I just watched the video clip. Ron Paul said that military regulations should "focus on behaviors, not personal characteristics."

Of course, this libertarian mish-mash isn't very helpful because it leaves open the possibility that an openly gay soldier from Boston can't have gay sex, not even when he goes home on furlough to visit his husband and legal spouse -- even though a straight soldier can head to the bedroom with his wife, as all military men assume any good husband would.

So in other words -- Ron Paul did the same thing on DADT as he did on gay marriage: he skated around the question, except he used a libertarian tactic instead of a right-wing tactic to do so.

One thing I hate about election time is that amount of time queers waste reminding me how terrible the GOP are. We know, we know. They suck. That's a given. The problem is that we simplistically are trained to believe that if the GOP are bad, then the Democrats must be... GOOD. They're not.

Remember: as a queer, you have no more rights today than you did when Bush was in office.

Marc Paige | June 15, 2011 11:42 AM

Really Lonnie?? The coming end of DADT does not help the gay community? Obama refusing to defend DOMA in court doesn't help us? The medicaid benefits for same-sex couples doesn't help us? The inclusion of LGBT people in federal hate crimes legislation - the first time we are included in any protective federal legislation - is not a step forward from when Bush was in office? Really??????? Having a record number of LGBT folks working in a president's administration doesn't move our community forward? Having a president recognize June as LGBT pride month, when Bush ignored this for eight years, does nothing? Having a president make an "It gets better" video, to reach LGBT youth at risk, is not a powerful statement for our young people? Really?? And it doesn't matter that the vast majority of Democrats supported repeal of DADT and inclusion of LGBT's in hate crimes laws, while the vast majority of Republicans voted against us? Really???

Brad Bailey | June 14, 2011 4:44 PM

There really is a big ideological divide between Republicans and actual conservatives.

To a conservative, the federal government has no business telling anybody who they can or can't marry or what they can or can't do with their own bodies. A conservative would never invade another country without a declaration of war from Congress. A conservative recognizes the rights of other countries to self-determination and national sovereignty without interference from the U.S.

A Republican only wants smaller government when it involves taxes and business regulations. Otherwise, they're quite content to increase the power of the military or enact laws, telling the rest of us peons who we can marry or what we can and can't do with our own bodies.

I found it interesting though that the anti-gay statement didn't draw much applause like other topics.

And while I still don't think that Ron Paul would make a good President, at least he gave the Libertarian reasons why anti-gay policies are bad news.

A technicality, Bil -- but since Ron Paul runs as a Republican these days, I would say you ought to write libertarian (small-L) instead of Libertarian (capital-L).

"Libertarian" is a specific political party, while "libertarian" is a more generalized political ideology.

OTOH, the "libertarian" notions he gave might be reflected in the official platform statements of the Libertarian Party -- and in that sense, you might be considered correct to use capital-L. Even so, small-L usage is the safe bet.

By the way, even the libertarians/Libertarians sometimes argue amongst themselves about when to use libertarian/Libertarian. It can get tedious, as has this comment.

I am politically independent but I am definitely voting GOP on this round. Gay marriage and DADT are phony issues. I am fine with civil unions. As a bisexual, actually, I don't think heterosexual and homosexual relationships are the same; they are quite different and it is okay for us to use different words to describe them. A PhD and a law degree are not the same thing because the degree implies different activities on the part of the degree-holder; that doesn't make one inferior to the other. The same logic applies to marriage. The government should be involved as little as possible in setting marital values, but it would be silly to go back and remove marriage certificate policies from all 50 states.

Regarding DADT, I am in the Army and got screwed over by the gay community on that repeal. I was discovered to be gay while on deployment and it seriously threatened my life, but I couldn't be removed from what was a terrible situation because the cadre were no longer willing to use DADT to remove people. The Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard are very different from the Marines and Army; also, it is different if you are young and enlisted versus being an officer or an NCO in the military for 15 years. Military values dictate that the needs of the 18 year old private who faces combat come FIRST, because that is the person who might be killed and never get to live life if policy is set incorrectly. That 18-year-old private cannot afford to be "openly" gay in the Army; it isn't safe. I have seen people die over homosexuality in difficult infantry situations, through suicide or sabotage. Even if the law means that some officers or office workers or established NCOs have to separate from the military early with an honorable discharge, the protection this gives to young people in infantry is worth it. DADT was an important protection for gays. The Army was actually humane in a lot of the cases I saw; once I was outed they gave me my own sleeping accommodations and allowed me to lock my door to prevent sexual assault (this is a huge issue.) When Newt Gingrich mentioned the fact that Army and Marines, and especially combat and combat support units, opposed the repeal, he was referring to what needs to be discussed.

I think both gay marriage and DADT were issues that gay Democrats used to gin up their base and reap donations, but they were straw men arguments from the beginning. Often people connect these issues to bullying or teen suicide but the connection is tenuous. If you really cared about gay suicide then you wouldn't be forcing so many gays who want to leave (most DADT discharges were voluntary) the military to stay in the military where the suicide rate is climbing and a grave issue. If you really cared about gay bullying then you would object to people like Dan Savage and his friends in the press embarrassing and outing closeted gay men for things they do in private.

The Republicans aren't perfect but I don't expect people in office to get involved in my self-esteem or my love life. I don't need government to define my relationship is. I don't get in love relationships for tax reasons or for health benefits, so I don't perceive the gay marriage issue as something I need to fight for, especially since we can fight for those rights by way of civil unions. And as a Soldier, I am frankly angry at the way gay civilians and a handful of high-profile gay veterans have hijacked the debate about "serving openly" and used people like me for their own political gains. (85% of gays in the military want to remain private, according to the same Pentagon Survey that Democrats cited to justify repeal of DADT.)

I am politically independent but I am definitely voting GOP on this round. Gay marriage and DADT are phony issues. I am fine with civil unions. As a bisexual, actually, I don't think heterosexual and homosexual relationships are the same; they are quite different and it is okay for us to use different words to describe them. A PhD and a law degree are not the same thing because the degree implies different activities on the part of the degree-holder; that doesn't make one inferior to the other. The same logic applies to marriage. The government should be involved as little as possible in setting marital values, but it would be silly to go back and remove marriage certificate policies from all 50 states.

Regarding DADT, I am in the Army and got screwed over by the gay community on that repeal. I was discovered to be gay while on deployment and it seriously threatened my life, but I couldn't be removed from what was a terrible situation because the cadre were no longer willing to use DADT to remove people. The Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard are very different from the Marines and Army; also, it is different if you are young and enlisted versus being an officer or an NCO in the military for 15 years. Military values dictate that the needs of the 18 year old private who faces combat come FIRST, because that is the person who might be killed and never get to live life if policy is set incorrectly. That 18-year-old private cannot afford to be "openly" gay in the Army; it isn't safe. I have seen people die over homosexuality in difficult infantry situations, through suicide or sabotage. Even if the law means that some officers or office workers or established NCOs have to separate from the military early with an honorable discharge, the protection this gives to young people in infantry is worth it. DADT was an important protection for gays. The Army was actually humane in a lot of the cases I saw; once I was outed they gave me my own sleeping accommodations and allowed me to lock my door to prevent sexual assault (this is a huge issue.) When Newt Gingrich mentioned the fact that Army and Marines, and especially combat and combat support units, opposed the repeal, he was referring to what needs to be discussed.

I think both gay marriage and DADT were issues that gay Democrats used to gin up their base and reap donations, but they were straw men arguments from the beginning. Often people connect these issues to bullying or teen suicide but the connection is tenuous. If you really cared about gay suicide then you wouldn't be forcing so many gays who want to leave (most DADT discharges were voluntary) the military to stay in the military where the suicide rate is climbing and a grave issue. If you really cared about gay bullying then you would object to people like Dan Savage and his friends in the press embarrassing and outing closeted gay men for things they do in private.

The Republicans aren't perfect but I don't expect people in office to get involved in my self-esteem or my love life. I don't need government to define my relationship is. I don't get in love relationships for tax reasons or for health benefits, so I don't perceive the gay marriage issue as something I need to fight for, especially since we can fight for those rights by way of civil unions. And as a Soldier, I am frankly angry at the way gay civilians and a handful of high-profile gay veterans have hijacked the debate about "serving openly" and used people like me for their own political gains. (85% of gays in the military want to remain private, according to the same Pentagon Survey that Democrats cited to justify repeal of DADT.)

"Ron Paul opposed it on libertarian grounds ('the government shouldn't be in the business of marriage at all')."

I'm just curious why you have a problem with this. "Marriage" is, after all, a religious term. It's acquired legal status, but only because government figured they could make money off it (marriage license and other such second-hand sources of income). Realistically though, a church is a private organization and can decide who can and can't get married. (Straight couples can't get married in Catholic churches unless they've passed classes--you don't here non-Catholics crying about it).

However, I do fully support a legitimate equality of LGBT "marriage benefits" that straight couples receive--so don't think I'm not on your side. What it really comes down to is compromise. The LGBT community has to accept that, even if lawmakers pass legislation to allow "gay marriage", any church still has the right, legally and morally, to say, "no, go get 'married' some where else". What the LGBT community needs to do is simply forsake the religious term, accept "civil union", but fight for the benefits. It's the insistence on the religious term of marriage that is stopping every Republican from from accepting your wishes. Don't you see that?

"The field of Republicans was just as backwards and regressive on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', the soon-to-be-gone policy of prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Bachmann, Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Cain, and Santorum all opposed the repeal."

As well they should. Now, before you take this as some kind of backwards, gay-bashing, homophobic rant, let me first say that I am fully in support of gay rights. HOWEVER, as a veteran, I have a very different perspective that many people (especially the traditionally anti-military left-wing) don't have. Below is an excerpt from from a past conversation that might help to explain this point of you:

I admire the efforts that people have gone through to scrap the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” law, but I also wonder how many of those people will join the military now that the law has been lifted. I can bet my life savings that Lady Gaga will not be one of those who goes to join, and I am guessing that the majority of those who wanted the law lifted will also avoid going to the recruiters to sign up for our wonderful military.

The question remains, “Why was 'Don’t ask, Don’t tell' a big issue?” The law sparks controversy because most don’t understand it. The law was set in place to protect homosexuals, period. By lifting the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” law, a homosexual could now be put in a worse situation, maybe causing more harm to that individual. For instance, a sergeant could openly question Private Hanning’s sexual preference, and the sergeant could demand an answer even if Private Hanning did not want to say. If the private did not answer, he/she would be disciplined. Let’s pretend that the private did answer and said “I am a homosexual.” The sergeant could walk away, leaving it at that; however, he can now tell the entire platoon. The sergeant could even suggest that “something needs to be done.” Later that night behind “closed doors,” Private Hanning could get a blanket party.

Some of you might say that this situation will never happen. You are wrong. I know that it will happen. Mothers of America have been trying for decades to stop hazing in the military, and they have succeeded to a certain extent; however, did you notice I did say “behind closed doors?” This is where all of the hazing is done, even today, and this is where the hazing of homosexuals will be done. If you don’t believe hazing exists, ask any Soldier that got his “blood stripes;” ask anyone in the Navy that got “shellbacked,” etc. They can testify that hazing exists in the military today, and blanket parties are not a joke.

Let’s pretend that in some fantasy world that those who do speak out about their sexual preference do not get hazed; next, we would have to look at his/her promotions may be in jeopardy. Getting promoted is not a guarantee, and it only takes one single person to screw things up. For example, that sergeant that questioned Private Hanning might give him/her a low annual evaluation. Instead of getting a 4.7, which he or she deserves, the sergeant may write 2.7. This alone can cause an individual to not get promoted. There are hundreds of ways that this sergeant can prevent Private Hanning from getting promoted, including not sending him/her to the rifle range, messing with APFT scores, low remarks on FIT REPS, etc.

The point of this is I wonder if supporters have taken into consideration the potential harm that they have caused to service members by getting rid of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.” I wonder how many of these supporters will join the military to see if I am right. I can guarantee you that at least one person will be hazed from this outcome, and isn’t that one too many? “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” protected everyone, most importantly, it protects that individual.

Also to consider:

1) The separation chapter by which gays and lesbians are discharged as DADT cases was extremely hard to implement. The chances of someone being discharged against his or her will for being gay were slim.

2) There are some publicized cases of people who were discharged under DADT. I don't know these people's personal stories. I am suspicious of how easy it would be to generalize their experiences as indicative of military policy. What I can generalize is that I've known more than a few people who have wanted to get out of the military and could not get out, even if they posed as gay or lesbian in order to secure an honorable discharge.

3) With the repeal of DADT, the cadre will now be allowed to ask service members in their unit about their sexuality. It will be their right so they can arrange living quarters, etc. So the repeal has ended privacy for gay and lesbian troops.

4) Homophobia is so rampant in the military, especially against gay men, that it would be foolhardy to believe the repeal is going to make gays welcome in military units. In day-to-day interactions, if gay men become the target of anger or violence, there is little that can be done to protect them from physical or psychological harm. Many violent incidents or sexual assaults are hard to prove and therefore hard to prevent or prosecute. With the repeal of DADT, there is now no way to separate gay men or lesbians who WANT to get out of the military because the environment is so hostile.

5) Many male soldiers who have sex with men do not consider themselves gay. The repeal of DADT, by empowering commanders to ask them about their sexuality, will now force them to label their activities.

6) Here's a biggie: Repealing the gay and lesbian discharge option will not change the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which still defines adultery and any sexual act other than vaginal intercourse as violations of military honor, and punishable offenses. So though DADT is repealed, gays will be able to say they're gay, but the minute they engage in any sex act that does not involve a penis entering a vagina, then they will be guilty of sexual misconduct anyway.

7) Military life is hard and often scarring. Because there is no draft, once you sign your contract, it can be very difficult to get out of the military. The gay and lesbian discharge chapter was one of the few means of helping service members who feel they made a mistake, get out of the military. Repealing it has taken away that option.

8) It will be a huge embarrassment for the LGBT community when the Pentagon goes to extraordinary lengths to accommodate LGBT service members, and then no gay and lesbian people rush to sign up for service. I am confident there will not be a stampede of gays suddenly eager to be sent to Afghanistan.

9) There are currently five categories for Equal Opportunity anti-discrimination rules: race, class, color, national origin, and gender. The repeal of DADT did not automatically add sexual orientation as a sixth category. So if people retaliate against people who exercise their right to say they're gay, they will not have recourse to sue for discrimination.

Food for thought.