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Yes, Virginia, There is a Gay-Friendly Republican

QUEERTY IN-DEPTH — In the aftermath of the 2008 election, James Richardson, the R.N.C’s Online Communication Manager, suddenly found himself with a lot of free time on his hands. Naturally, he did what everyone with free time and an opinion does: started a blog. Skepticians, as he dubbed his site, drew instant attention from the political blogosphere after Richardson posted a call for the GOP to drop its long-standing opposition to gay adoption, saying, “What is perhaps equally as distressing is our collective failure as a party to hold a candid discussion on the emerging role of gays in the Party and society at large – not as outcasts, but as equals.”

When we first reported on Richardson, readers were skeptical of his motives. One commenter wrote, “Now that it’s no longer politically profitable to bash gays, he comes running to us with a bouquet of flowers.”

Our curiosity piqued, Queerty sought to find out whether this good ol’ Georgia boy was a hypocrite, a fairweather friend or lying. What we got was the GOP’s biggest dirty little secret.

QUEERTY: A lot of our readers read your article on how the Republican party ought to drop its opposition to gay adoption and saw it as an act of opportunism, or a purely cynical political move. How did you come to your belief that the GOP should drop its anti gay-adoption stance?

James Richardson: Initially, the excessive word-parsing and charges of political opportunism surprised and offended me, but then I remembered the manner in which most Americans view our politics, i.e. very skeptically. It was naïve of me to expect an open embrace after years of prejudiced fanaticism – for which I am sorry – but I have never aligned myself with that wing of the Party.

The Republican Party has always been, or at least billed as, the “crusader” of limited government intervention and intrusion, which is why I’m baffled we’ve recently adopted this troubling gay-hostile rhetoric by way of appeasing a fraction of the “base.”

It was never a question of whether or not to support gay rights – which I always have. It was a question of courage and conviction. Irrespective of your readers’ decidedly skeptical interpretation of my support, I put my career on the line. Perhaps some of McCain’s patented “Mavericky’ness” rubbed off on me, or perhaps I just grew tired of ideologues speaking on behalf of the Party. Either way, it’s abundantly clear I’ve made political enemies among those I formerly considered allies.

“Homophobia doesn’t run rampant in the Republican Party, pandering does.”

Have any Republican leaders or strategists talked to you about your post?

A few have, yes. The majority of gainfully employed political strategists and consultants I spoke with agreed, more or less, with the issues I addressed. As for the fanatic political wannabes who make Gary Bauer look moderate: well, let’s just say they were less than pleased with my public support.

Social conservatives, despite their baggage, have earned significant political capital over the years – and you can be sure they know it. The party establishment is (justifiably) fearful that social conservatives will abandon us if we veer from their religion-dominated agenda. And so, we toe the line like good little boys and girls.

Here’s the GOP’s dirty little secret: Homophobia doesn’t run rampant in the Republican Party, pandering does. So many of my former colleagues are afraid they’ll be blackballed by the Don Wildmon’s of the world for voicing their honest-to-God opinions on controversial issues (see any reference to “the List” by social conservative leaders after the Foley fall-out).

As a Republican, do you think there’s any political energy to soften the party’s stance on equal rights for gays and lesbians? To the average American, it looks as if the Sarah Palin/ social-conservative wing of the party is the faction most likely to dominate in the near future.

While recent polls indicates a growing number of Americans support key equal rights legislation for gay men and women, the number of “base supporters” who favor such legislation is frighteningly low. Vilifying homosexuals is a successful base turnout, and candidates and strategists fully understand this (even if they don’t agree with it). The problem for Republicans now: The values constituency has shrunk, and this gay-hostile rhetoric does us no favors with suburban women and younger voters.

Sadly, I don’t foresee any seismic shifts in the political landscape. For the Right, the “radical gay culture war” will remain a reliable campaign villain in campaigns to come, further marginalizing moderates, independents, and the few gay republicans we have left. Even worse, I suspect prominent social conservatives will overcompensate after their near-defeat in California.

Some folks are going to assume that because you’re a Republican, you’re against gay rights. How are they wrong?

I view my support of equal rights measures as fundamentally in sync with the GOP’s cause of limited government interference, not to mention basic human values. Depriving simple rights like loving the partner of one’s choice is, in my eyes, a gross dereliction of human decency. It is only when we apply these asinine social conservative “culture war” filters that we run into problems of this nature…

“I understand the pain from Prop 8’s loss, but ‘Call in to work gay’ protests do nothing if not cast a negative light on the gay rights movement.”

Our collective willingness to jump to some biased and inflexible conclusions is a sad testament to the divisiveness of American politics. No one, it seems, is honestly interested in, or prepared for, a meaningful debate: “I don’t want to know you, and you don’t want to know me, unless, of course, you’re willing to admit you’re wrong.”

It’s far easier to espouse hostile rhetoric when you haven’t humanized the debate (see Harry Reid rolling out poor, sickly children in the SCHIP debate). It’s as hard to call the sweet, 90 year old lady down the street a “gay hating bigot” as it is to call little Tommy who’s all grown up now a “sodomite” itching to bring down the foundations of society. Whether they’re willing to admit it or not, the LGBT community and social conservatives have one thing on common: they want to remain relatively in the dark on the “enemy.” It’s hard to hate someone you know and love… The need for social conservatives to understand that gays aren’t bad people is as great as the need for gays to understand that social conservatives aren’t bad people.

After the disheartening losses in California, Florida, and Arkansas, the LGBT community doesn’t have the novelty of excluding support from groups and individuals you broadly deem as hostile.

The conservative right is on a housecleaning kick lately, tossing conservative intellectuals like Chris Buckley overboard if they don’t toe the line. Is there a genuine schism in the party or is it a temporary rift?

This notion that there is some festering schism among the ranks of the GOP is, in my opinion, a manufactured narrative, fabricated by single-issue fringe voters. The Party’s problem wasn’t their decision to give “evangelical, right-wing, oogedy boogedy” voters a seat at the table; the problem was their decision to give them the only seat at the table. As evidenced by a growing number of elected moderate Republicans, we’re now seeing a few more chairs pull up.

If I were to characterize the intra-party strife as anything, it would be a temporary rift. What you’re seeing now is a concerted effort by social conservatives to capitalize on the “what if” questions Party now faces. What if we courted X demographic of voters more? What if we reexamined our stance on issue X? Undoubtedly, their answer is: “If we had done any of those things, we would have lost worst. Stick to the straight and narrow.”

Healthy debate and party evolution is natural – and to be expected after the losses we incurred. After the drubbing we just endured, I’d be worried if I heard the contrary. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the belief that the party is falling apart.

If gay families should be allowed to adopt children, why should they be denied marriage rights?

I’m in total support of all equal rights measures, including adoption and marriage.

I purposefully confined my article to the limited issue of gay adoption to expose the inherent hypocrisy in Florida state law. I’ve found it’s easier to earn allies and build a coalition by addressing issues, not rhetoric. If the gay rights movement is to succeed, they’ll do the same.

In your opinion, if there was one thing the gay community could do to either pressure or encourage the GOP leadership to reevaluate its stance on gay rights, what would it be?

It’s imperative for LGBT activists and allies to understand they are the ones pushing for a “radical” social change. Marriage, in the eyes of blue collar voters, has never been defined as a union between two loving individuals.

I understand the pain from Prop 8’s loss, but “Call in to work gay” protests do nothing if not cast a negative light on the gay rights movement. I can’t tell you how many colleagues phoned or emailed me to discuss this and other recent protest. While no protests were well-received, the ‘call in gay’ protest was overwhelmingly seen by (moderate) Republican strategists as a childish, counter-productive move. To John Q. Public, these protests don’t make you look “normal.” Petulance and public displays of anger will not necessitate action from the GOP leadership on equal rights issues.

Promoting the merits of gay marriage is easier said than done, but it surely doesn’t begin with calling into work gay.

While they don’t have to agree with it, gay activists must accept the results of Prop 8. Why? Because they need to understand that voters have serious concerns with undermining a millennium-long held definition of marriage as one man and one woman.

My advice: First, reject these sophomoric antics like ‘call into work gay’ and instead assume your obligation to make a positive case for equal rights. As someone who worked for the RNC and, by proxy, McCain, I can unequivocally say that shamelessly attacking the enemy rarely helps in these situations. Second, fight the issues, not the religion-dominated ideology. Third, understand the fight for equal rights will not come easy. Public opinion is shifting in your favor, but juvenile tactics stand to undermine all your hard work.

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Dec 16, 2008
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

  • 43 Comments
    • Etienne St.Jean
      Etienne St.Jean

      Only an idiot would claim that the American government is fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for purely humanitarian reasons – they are basically an opportunity to kick the world back into line after the earthquake of 9/11 shook American complacency about their unchallenged global hyperpower status that existed since the collapse of the Soviet and the Berlin Wall and its a business opportunity for various carpet baggers and arms dealers.

      However…

      Nobody can deny that there does exist a loose alliance of radically fundamentalist Islamists throughout the world who espouse a religiously bigotted, misogynist, homophobic, anti-modern, anti-democratic, apocalyptic worldview that is widely popular among a generation of young alienated Muslim males throughout the Muslim world.

      We can talk about the injustices of colonial, American imperialism, globalisation etc etc which has fueled the rise of this reactionary belief system till the cows come home.

      The unavoidable fact is that it is a lethal urgent problem and somethings has to be done about it.

      The Islamist movement does not differentiate between the guilty and the innocent.

      Bush and the elite he represents might deserve to blown to kingdom come by Al-Qaeda but Al-Qaeda is more interested in attacking innocent men women and children who have no say in the decisions of the multi-national corporations and their political minions who are largely responsible for the mess in the Middle East.

      The Islamists are bent on jihad against entirely innocent people in the Middle East and in the West in their goal to establish a global caliphate espousing Sharia law – basically returning the world to the Dark Ages.

      I am an atheist, a socialist, I believe in the right to live according to your sexual orientation, espouse whatever belief system you want, read, speak and argue anyway you want and live in harmony with my fellow human beings, the right to work for an honest living and get ahead if you want to and spreading the wealth around to the less fortunate and I am an internationalist, I believe in universality of human rights and freedom and that all people of whatever language, creed or race basically want the same thing and future for themselves and their children.

      My belief system is uncompromising and when it is threatened by the like of the Islamist movement that honestly cannot be reasoned with, there is no other option but to fight to defend civilisation (what little of it exists in this world) against these medieval fanatics no matter how much I sympathise with the plight of the people of the Middle East.

      I’m not going to wait until there are more attacks in New York, London, Madrid, Bali or wherever else these bastards have struck and to be honest I am shit scared that these maniacs will get their hands on biological, nuclear and chemical weapons.

      I say kill them before they kill us.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 3:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lolsam
      lolsam

      I don’t know what “Etienne St. Jean” up there is talking about, but it has nothing to do with what James Richardson had to say.

      I think Richardson makes a few really good points, especially regarding the tactics that the community needs to take to convince the GOP to change their tune on gay rights… even if he does use “juvenile” and “childish” a few too many times for my liking. It’s nice to see someone from the right actually saying, “listen, I agree with you, and this is what you need to do.” Instead of, “YOU’RE VIOLENT! JUST LIKE TERRORISTS!” I’m hoping the post-Prop 8 histrionics will subside in the coming months and we can focus on productive measures to move forward and push for change.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 3:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • faghag
      faghag

      this guy is a cunt!

      Dec 16, 2008 at 5:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • retropian
      retropian

      Etienne up there fears Muslim fanatic’s, but all religious fundamentalism is inherently evil. what he says about Islamic Radicals:

      “Nobody can deny that there does exist a loose alliance of radically fundamentalist Islamists throughout the world who espouse a religiously bigoted, misogynist, homophobic, anti-modern, anti-democratic, apocalyptic worldview…”

      Can also be said about Christian fundamentalists right here in the U.S.A.:

      “Nobody can deny that there does exist a loose alliance of radically fundamentalist Christianists throughout America who espouse a religiously bigoted, misogynist, homophobic, anti-modern, anti-democratic, apocalyptic worldview…”

      James Richardson does espouse a view that is conservative but not religiously fundamentalist:

      “I view my support of equal rights measures as fundamentally in sync with the GOP’s cause of limited government interference, not to mention basic human values. Depriving simple rights like loving the partner of one’s choice is, in my eyes, a gross dereliction of human decency. It is only when we apply these asinine social conservative “culture war” filters that we run into problems of this nature…”

      The conservative argument in favor of equal marriage rights for same sex couples is that the government should not be in the business of regulating or policing love relationships. This is oppositional to the fundamentalist Christian or Islamic mindset which would like to see a theocracy established. Christianists would like to see religious law, not secular, enforced by the State. They seek to establish a religious totalitarian system, much like those we find in many Islamic country’s, just based on “christian” and “biblical” “values”, so that makes it ok. Its just that they’re the same values in each case.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 5:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mark
      mark

      If I ever become a sniveling republican hack in my senility years (if i get that far) hit me with a blunt instrument and kill me.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 6:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bruno
      Bruno

      I’m not sure I’m wanting to win over moderate Republicans per se. I think I’m past that. Anyone who is homophobic is a shameful bigot, and I don’t want to know them, so why would I tiptoe around them?

      Dec 16, 2008 at 7:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wayne
      Wayne

      So Gay friendly Republicans are bad but electing a Democrat president who doesn’t believe in gay marriage equality, is good?

      Dec 16, 2008 at 8:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      Right. Cause John McCain was really banging on the marriage equality door.

      When this guy can make it through the Republican primary process and get nominated as their candidate for president while espousing these ideas, then your comparison might fit. Until then I’ll take Barack Obama’s record on civil rights over John McCain’s any day of the week.

      Nobody said he was bad. It’s his political party that’s bullshit. The party, the majority of those in it (who look more like the posters at freerepublic.com than him), the people they nominate for president and other leadership positions and the wealthy assholes and organizations that fund their campaigns.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 9:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blake
      blake

      “Vilifying homosexuals is a successful base turnout, and candidates and strategists fully understand…”

      I think that is the key quote. The Republican Party won’t change any time soon, 5 to 10 years. The anti-gay schtick is a vital part of the Party’s survival, just as the Southern Strategy of using anti-black vilification for 40(!!) years was crucial for Republican success.

      That said, given the rest of the GOP’s wretched platform, why should anyone want to be a part of it? Talk of limited government in the face of Bush & the GOP’s shredding of the Constitution with wild support by the base just adds to the hypocrisy.

      @Wayne:
      There’s a difference between someone who says he’s not for gay marriage and someone who actively seeks to create laws that prevent or remove that right. I’d go over the rest of Obama’s pro-gay rights platform but hasn’t that been done for the last year? What other president-elect in his acceptance speech has ever mentioned gay people and their aspirations directly?

      Dec 16, 2008 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • porsha
      porsha

      Can this guy cut it for a spot in ‘morning goods’? What does he look like in a Speedo! Enquiring minds want to know, and I’ve had it with politics till 2010!

      Dec 16, 2008 at 9:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      @porsha: That’s part of what rubs me the wrong way with this guy. Republican men are some of the ghastliest on the planet yet here comes Mr. Nerd Hunk as the face of the revolutionary pro-gay wing of the party?

      The RNC saw that 27% exit poll figure of gays who voted for McCain and sent Clark Kent out to solidify the support. This guy’s a plant.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 9:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      Petulance and public displays of anger will not necessitate action from the GOP leadership on equal rights issues.

      I can unequivocally say that shamelessly attacking the enemy rarely helps in these situations.

      Mr. Richardson has just described the entire RNC play book with those two comments above; yet chastises us for taking the same steps.

      Does James remember the Republican protesters picketing outside the VP’s home in 2000 demanding Al Gore move out? Does he remember Republicans standing on the steps of the House with purple finger tips? Does he remember, “With us, or against us”?

      By listening to a Republican shill and taking his advice all we are doing is giving them the opportunity to win. Ignore them–they lost the last election and the support of the public. If we follow Mr. Richardson’s advice all we are doing is making his job easier in taking back the WH and the senate.

      This is the new, kindler, gentler Republican trying to get the sympathy of the voters to retain power. But guaranteed, if they get power again, everything Mr. Richardson has written and said will be forgotten like Bush’s walk onto the USS Abraham Lincoln, and they will all be back to trashing us.

      Lastly, does James really think the Republican party will give up bashing gays? It’s not about politics as he has already stated in this interview, its about money. The more they scare the right into believing LGBTQ’s are monsters the more donations they can collect and the Repubs are not about to let go of that teat.

      The need for social conservatives to understand that gays aren’t bad people is as great as the need for gays to understand that social conservatives aren’t bad people.

      The difference is James, gays don’t want to take away the rights of anti-gay people. I can’t say the same for anti-gay people and the equality of gays.

      After the disheartening losses in California, Florida, and Arkansas, the LGBT community doesn’t have the novelty of excluding support from groups and individuals you broadly deem as hostile.

      Nor can we trust the people who act hostile towards us. They came after us, not the other way around. For someone who denounces pandering, James sure as hell wants us to do a lot of it.

      I’ve found it’s easier to earn allies and build a coalition by addressing issues, not rhetoric. If the gay rights movement is to succeed, they’ll do the same.

      You lost the election and the senate, James, why should we take your advice? If James can point to one issue where he brought a coalition of diverging ideas together to benefit all Americans and helped equality for LGBTQ’s, then I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, he’s just blowing smoke.

      …protest was overwhelmingly seen by (moderate) Republican strategists as a childish, counter-productive move.

      And that’s why the protests worked, James. If we are pissing off the “strategists” then we are doing the right thing. The strategists control the party and their base, not America at large.

      In the end, James is still talking and writing as if the Republicans are in power. They are not. They lost and continue to lose–money, the culture war, the hearts and minds of voters. Jame’s entire approach to gay equality is, “Be more like Republicans!” In the end, Jame’s opinion doesn’t mean a damn thing.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 9:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Peter
      Peter

      On the one hand, this is great. To the extent that the modern Republican party has ever shared the principles of Lincoln, civil rights for LGBT Americans ought to have been part of your agenda.

      On the other hand, it’s hard not to find your timing suspicious. Where were you two months ago during the campaign on Prop 8, or during any of the anti-marriage campaigns in any number of states during the last six years? Where was the Republican voice for equality? Where was this alleged equal-minded Republican leadership who should have moderated their political strategy in respect for basic human rights?

      I thank you for your vacuous after-the-fact sympathy. When you’re ready to actually provide something more than pretty rhetoric, I’ll believe you’re not just positioning yourself for relevancy in the new political climate and welcome your support. Until then, thank you, but piss off.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 11:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      I agree with almost everything you say, Paul, but don’t book too much on the Republicans losing the election. Often who wins is only because the electorate is choosing the lesser of two evils.

      Surely you know there is a LONG list of things Democrats in Congress have failed liberals and Gays specifically on…..

      One of my historical favorites is when the Dems had the majority for 20 some years (just prior to Reagan?) they failed to protect labor unions from hiring scab labor. And it hasn’t been rectified to this day.

      Both parties have lot to answer for in my view.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • adzomelk
      adzomelk

      i would rather be a terrorist than a republican

      Dec 16, 2008 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • horus
      horus

      poor deluded boy. one day he’ll wake up. i almost feel sorry for him.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 11:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      “@Paul Raposo: If you are going to quote the man, take the whole quote.

      – “As someone who worked for the RNC and, by proxy, McCain, I can unequivocally say that shamelessly attacking the enemy rarely helps in these situations.” –

      You can see that he meant that he has seen how shamelessly attacking the enemy didn’t help his own party and that the same tactic will not help us. It’s sound advice, not a condemnation.

      As someone raised in a politically split family, I’ve had Democratic and Republican views taught to me, so I suppose you could call me a centrist more than anything. But looking at the fact that there was a whole group of Republicans called “Republicans for Obama”, it tells me that not all of them are closed minded and are ready for a more central perspective.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UnlessHesjustrepublicaninname
      UnlessHesjustrepublicaninname

      So being anti-poor/anti-immigrant/anti-woman’s rights is okay as long as he throws white middle class gay people a bone?

      Oh I see.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      to #18 – I was volunteering at a Gay organization once doing a mailing and very attractive well dressed guy came to help. He was known to the whole group, Gay, out, etc. But he was “Republican” because he was businessman, less government, lower taxes etc. That is what he said.

      Except as you say, anti immigrant, anti woman, anti poor, anti fairness costs something – in prison costs, wasted human lives and potentials which doesn’t get figured into the bottom line. And most of what I read say Republicans actually raise taxes more than the Dems. So who really knows?

      Dec 16, 2008 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Raphael
      Raphael

      Did anyone else notice Richardson’s comment about the *increasing* numbers of Republican moderates?

      Didn’t he notice who lost seat after seat in November?

      No–the Republican party is more dominated by right-wing psychopaths than ever!

      Dec 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Gay Numbers
      The Gay Numbers

      @Raphael: Yes, you are right. Politically speaking, if you do the analysis, what’s left of th GOP in Congress is further to the far right that was existed in it even during the Bush administration. Those are the districts and states in which the GOP could weather the storm of two subsequent wave elections. The moderate Congressmen were elected out because those were the most vulnerable districts for take over. The same with moderate Senators. More than that, the national party has indicated it intends to push with being the obstructionist party (to prevent any Obama programs being sucessful- they note that his failure is their best chance at winning) and that traditional family is a great wedge issue (ie, against gay rights of any kind). There are several more inaccuracies in the post, but, whatever, this is Queerty and other gay websites like Towlroad’s thing.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin
      Kevin

      It’s easy to see why McCain lost. This guy’s belief in tactics is a losing one. He urges us to not take on the religious wing of the party(ies), but we’re gaining support from former “social conservatives” precisely because we have come out in our churches, temples, synagogues, etc. 9 out of 10 anti-gay activist organizations and persons have a religious bent. That’s the elephant in the living room. We won’t win this fight by reliquishing our faith to the anti-gay rhetoric of the religious Right. That’s a stupid and ultimately destructive political strategy.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 1:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John Smith
      John Smith

      About all that’s left of the Republican party are the former Southern Democrats — but they were never really Republicans; they just resented the Democratic Party for passing civil rights bills for blacks. Other than the Dixiecrats, Republicans include self-reliant folks in the farm states and frontier states in the West, including Alaska, but there’s not enough of them to build a majority to rule the country. The U. S. is greatly changing through immigration and urbanization, and the right-of-center opposition must change with that or die.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      @Ryan:

      Well Ryan, if you’re chastising me for not using the man’s entire quote, I shall do the same:

      My advice: First, reject these sophomoric antics like ‘call into work gay’ and instead assume your obligation to make a positive case for equal rights. As someone who worked for the RNC and, by proxy, McCain, I can unequivocally say that shamelessly attacking the enemy rarely helps in these situations.

      He referred to call-into-work-gay as sophomoric and considers that day of protest antics, rather than protests. Next, it’s obvious he claims we are attacking straight people by calling in gay, simply because he equates that day of action with political attacks on “enemies”.

      You can see that he meant that he has seen how shamelessly attacking the enemy didn’t help his own party and that the same tactic will not help us. It’s sound advice, not a condemnation.

      Sorry Ryan, but the way it looks to me, he is claiming that attacking McCain to get him to change was futile, just as gays protesting to get change is futile. He was on the receiving end of attacks and it appears he would like us to believe they do not work, therefore we should drop them. Now, whom will be in the WH for the next four years and whose career is finished?

      But looking at the fact that there was a whole group of Republicans called “Republicans for Obama”, it tells me that not all of them are closed minded and are ready for a more central perspective.

      Just because they were for Obama doesn’t mean they were for gay equality.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Gay Numbers
      The Gay Numbers

      @Paul Raposo: “But looking at the fact that there was a whole group of Republicans called “Republicans for Obama”, it tells me that not all of them are closed minded and are ready for a more central perspective.

      Just because they were for Obama doesn’t mean they were for gay equality.”

      Your response is right. Let me add that competence was a factor in the small group of Republicans who were for Obama. This election, incidentally, was not a cross over election. Obama won because of the Democratic base and Democratic leaning independents, but not because of moderate Republicans. The number of moderate Republicans has declined as well.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      So sorry.

      Perhaps Richardson is far too queer to understand the power of fundamentalist religion. Perhaps James never read a single article on the power of fundamentalism in the US or in the Middle East. Perhaps James is so self-absorbed and upper class to never have met one of them in person or ever had a discussion with one, either face-to-face or online. Maybe he’s never been the target of their exceedingly Medieval tirades. I suspect James Richardson has never sampled real life. Ever.

      You see, the Republican party is the party of fundamentalist religion. And fundamentalists are nearly 100% in agreement: queer is bad. Queer can be cured. Not ALL of them are that way, but the VAST majority of them are.

      I suspect James has not set foot in a church recently either.

      The Republican platform has in it for 2008 an anti-gay plank based on ‘traditional marriage’. Good luck, James. You support a party that refuses to recognize our partnerships legally.

      You’re pathetic because you’re ignorant.

      Either leave that party or start your own, because you’re going to be relegated to the abject stupidity of the Log Cabin Republicans. Or, you’ll end up simply trying to create a schism.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 4:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drew
      Drew

      I was a republican from birth for 24 years, then I finally admitted that regardless of what they’re “supposed to be all about”, theyre not about anything I respect, so I switched. Actions speak louder than words. I think the idea that Republicans are really gay-friendly but theyre cowards makes them look even worse from my point of view. Integrity and Courage is what I strive for, and the GOP has neither. I dont agree with everything the Democratic Party stands for, but I admire their courage and integrity in sticking to what they believe.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RJ Carter
      RJ Carter

      OK…what if he’s sincere? So what? This should influence us in some way? Even a blond squirrel occasionally finds an acorn.

      Dec 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Dixon
      Michael Dixon

      The take away should be the consideration that to the extent limited government Republicans regain ascendancy in the Republican party the essential governing disposition is inherently overwhelmingly favorable to equal access for gay, lesbian, bi sexual and transgendered individuals to marraige, adoption, relevant healthcare, memberships in the boyscouts, careers as teachers, etc.

      This is offered in contradistinction to believing that the party that invests in using government to promote rights and benefits for particular sgements of the population is so favorable. In the latter case, as you see now, we all have to take our turn, take one of the cabinet seats typically relegated to the next emergent political consituency, like Labor or CEQ or Agriculture.
      And we are not supposed to ask for too much. Obama says “Gay marriage, like the Beadle in Oliver Twist says, “More?”

      Dec 16, 2008 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      I hate all the groupthink we have in the gay community. People believe that if you’re a guy who likes guys, then you MUST also support abortion on demand, socialism, an impotent American foreign policy, and oppose open trade. Maybe it’s just me, but do you think our community is big enough to embrace a little internal diversity? Are gays smart enough to have differing opinions on important issues?

      I think this attitude stems from an absolute refusal to look at politics as something beyond the personal. Yes, the Republican Party has had the wrong stance on gay rights. But, could it be, possibly, that there are issues and ideas out there that are more important than YOU?

      What concerns you more? That you can’t get married or that some guy just like you in Iran is getting strung up in the town square for being gay?

      Dec 16, 2008 at 11:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W. [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Wouldn’t someone who opposes an impotent foreign policy more than likely be a Democrat? Afterall, that’s what we’ve had for the last eight years under Republican rule.

      What you fail to grasp as evident by your condescending post is that being a Democrat doesn’t necessarily tie you to advocacy of abortion on demand, an “impotent” American foreign policy, socialism and protectionism. Our tent is large and encompasses everyone from the most liberal San Franciscans to blue dog conservatives in Virginia. It’s your party that’s shedding its middle and retreating to the extreme right where America doesn’t want to be.

      Have you seen the 2008 electoral map by chance?

      That “us against them” attitude of exclusiveness is a central reason why your party is in shambles.

      Dec 17, 2008 at 1:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • spottsy
      spottsy

      @retropian: I know this is a little late, but I have to respectfully disagree with your comment. You said:

      “Christianists would like to see religious law, not secular, enforced by the State. They seek to establish a religious totalitarian system, much like those we find in many Islamic country’s, just based on “christian” and “biblical” “values”, so that makes it ok. Its just that they’re the same values in each case.”

      While I know a good number of people that this DOES apply to, this isn’t a black and white issue. As a Christian, I would very much prefer our government to NOT be “a religious totalitarian system”. Separation of church and state not only benefits those who don’t want to be affiliated with a certain religion, but also those (like me) who don’t want their religion to be twisted and warped into something it isn’t – which unfortunately has already been done quite a lot. America is supposed to represent freedom, whether that be in the from of legalizing gay marriage, or protecting what being a Christian means to me.

      Dec 17, 2008 at 2:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #30 – Aaron – you’re playing right into the hands of our foes. Rights are not an either/or question – that is what our opponents want you to think. Divide and conquer.

      I feel sorry for the guy being strung up in Iran, but realistically what can I do about it? We collectively as a country can theoretically vote for people who support our foreign policy objectives but unless we are going to invade every country that doesn’t bow to our whims, then Iran is going to have to be allowed to run their own country.

      While I understand your basic point that people don’t have to think exactly alike just because we are in a group, you must understand the difference between Dems & Repub don’t you? Dems allow abortion (however distasteful to some – including myself) but I don’t need to FORCE my views on others through law. OR try to take rights away. BIG difference.

      Dec 17, 2008 at 8:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robin
      Robin

      “…I’m baffled we’ve recently adopted this troubling gay-hostile rhetoric by way of appeasing a fraction of the “base.”
      ——–
      It’s not recent. That’s the problem. I can trace it back to 1980, when Ronald Reagan let the Moral Majority gain a toehold in the party. They grew like a cancer to the point where the populace now considers its radical agenda and those who advance it “the base.” Of course, in this day and age of media saturation, they get way more attention than in 1980. The good news is, so do we.

      Dec 17, 2008 at 9:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      All you nellies are up in arms about him and you miss the real point…he’s very cute and I’d hit that…talk politics later

      Dec 17, 2008 at 11:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      Michael – I use the word impotent as a synonym for weak. All criticisms of our current foreign policy aside, few view it as being disengaged or passive. :)

      Jaroslaw – you’re playing into our REAL opponents hands when you choose the party that PANDERS to you but really DOESN’T ACTUALLY support your rights and FIGHT the only party that’s willing to vocally oppose people who would KILL YOU and DO kill people JUST LIKE YOU every day (fanatical, fundamentalist, violent Muslims — a small but extremely dangerous part of that beautiful, peaceful religion). :)

      Regardless, Alan Brickman is exactly right. He’s super gorgeous.

      Dec 18, 2008 at 4:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #36 Aaron – I had a much longer post, but I’m at another computer and lost it due to I forgot to input my name & e-mail.

      If I read you right, I’m perfectly aware that the Democrats promise more to Gays than the Republicans, but I have already said repeatedly that both parties have a lot to answer for AND the fact that Dems don’t actively work to DEPRIVE Gays of their rights and appoint less insane, reactionary judges to the Supreme Court will help us much more in the long run.

      To imply that my domestic rights are at risk simply because the Republicans are more vocal about War with the Muslims or whomever is BS. Name a Democratic president who let a foreign power walk in and take over the United States! Further, if you’re so worried about Muslims, remember that the Congress & Presidency has been controlled by the Republicans for 16 of the last 24 years so who let most of the Muslims into this country? Does any reasonable person feel the war in Iraq is mostly a success these days? Check out THE WEEK magazine, hardly partisan – their most recent issue has an article by former military operative who says 1/4 of all injuries/fatalities of our US Soldiers in Iraq are revenge killings by Muslims because of torture of Muslims at Guantanomo. So much for “get tough” policies of the Rethugs.

      Further, the military routinely dismisses qualified Gay Arabic translators and then howls they have a shortage and said shortage compromises national security! Get real – the military is more afraid of Gays than terrorists? But let me guess who forced Don’t ask Don’t tell… the Republicans. Yes Bill Clinton signed it but only because he was backed into a corner by the Rethuglicans.

      I can’t go on, either you get it or you don’t.

      Dec 18, 2008 at 11:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      First, the guy from “Skepticians” is totally hot… but, I’ve got a thing for the gay conservative… it’s something to do with the oxymoron, and trying to save them… I think.

      At any rate — I’ve been reading his blogs lately… I’ve been commenting on them, too.

      They’re really not bad — it’s sort of like people — having and intelligent discussion about politics and current events.

      I like it… and I’m a libertarian (well… sort of… it’s complicated).

      Dec 18, 2008 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      I read his blog, too, and his latest post seems to be in disagreement with the gay community’s uproar over Rick Warren.

      I wonder if Japhy will take note of that the next time he interviews his hunky nerd conservative boyfriend.

      Dec 19, 2008 at 8:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James Richardson
      James Richardson

      @Michael W.: I call ‘em like I see ‘em, Michael. I’m clearly neither an Obama nor evangelical apologist, but Solmonese’s feigned outrage serves no purpose in advancing equal rights…

      And who would you rather have from Obama’s chest of religious allies, Reverend Wright, who famously alleged the US Government created HIV/AIDS to kill black men, or Donnie McClurkin, the self-professed “ex-gay”?

      Dec 19, 2008 at 3:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mister C
      Mister C

      But James Richardson take off your ANGRY WHITE MAN hat. At least Rev Wright does affirm LGBT unions and have done so at his church and is an ally of the LGBT community.

      But I guess out of anger you chose to ignore that?

      Dec 23, 2008 at 11:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James Richardson
      James Richardson

      @Mister C: You really want to call Wright an “ally?” Ok, let me know how that works out for you, pal… I’m sure that billing Wright as an ally will really help bring in White suburban voters into the fold.

      How is my response to Wright’s (false) claim that the US government created HIV/AIDS to kill Black men indicative of me being an “ANGRY WHITE MAN?” I don’t take offense because I’m, as you claim, a racist — I take offense because I’ve had several friends die of AIDS-related medical issues. Little do you know, but I volunteered EVERY Saturday with a DC AIDS organization, despite working 60+ hours a week on the campaign. Of course, since you’re the supreme fact-checker, you’d know that African Americans make up approximately 14% of the US population, but account for over 49% of infected individuals… If I were really an “ANGRY WHITE MAN,” I wouldn’t put myself in a position where’d I’d be helping the African American community. Grow up, all Republicans — WHITE Republicans — aren’t racist.

      Wright is clearly delusional, and so are you for coming to his aid. Bravo, moron.

      Dec 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SmartLoneStarGirl
      SmartLoneStarGirl

      Wow! As a “Gay Friendly Republican” I am absolutely frustrated with the majority of posts about this article. I have been “card carrying Republican” since I was old enough to vote for Ronald Reagan…but that doesn’t mean I believe in every single Republican platform out there. I believe in free choice, I believe in Gay Rights, I believe the Gov’t needs to keep their noses out of personal affairs. But to hear the comments left here…one would believe that the mere fact that I cast myself as a Republican is cause enough to drag me behind a truck in chains. Just the kind of atrocity you are fighting against for the Gay and Lesbian community. When both sides continue to shrill violently against “the enemy” without understanding the full picture…no one stands to gain. Mr. Richardson is merely representing what I consider the slow gain of moderate republicans to find their voice and standing within our own “community.” Just as you are fighting to make your case, so too are we younger republicans who believe the right ring Christian coalition has usurped the original intent of Republicanism: Small Federal Government – Responsible Taxation and Spending. It saddens and disturbs me to hear such anger against a single “group” from a “group” who wants nothing more than to have the same rights I do.

      Feb 2, 2009 at 9:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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