The Larry Craig scandal revealed more than the Senator’s “wide-stance”.
Behind the toilet stalls of crude Craig’s downfall lie the Republican party’s log of discrimination. As so many have pointed out, the Republicans have stood by David Vitter, the Louisiana Senator whose name popped up in a madame’s little black book. Craig’s disorderly conduct guilty plea, meanwhile, led to a barrage of anti-Craig sentiment inside the party.
Now, we all know the Republicans aren’t down with the gays. It’s an established fact – and a fact Boston Globe‘s Peter S. Canello amplifies in this week’s installment of his “National Perspective”. While Canello again reiterates (get it?) the GOP’s disdain for the queers, he does shed some light on a perplexing contradiction within conservative politics.
After linking homophobic policies with the racist politics of the 20th century, Canellos offers this gem:
Whenever national Republicans were accused of playing the race card – as when Ronald Reagan dwelled on “welfare queens,” or when George H.W. Bush focused on black rapist William “Willie” Horton – the candidates quickly disclaimed any bias, citing their staunch opposition to discrimination in any form.
…In much the same way as they did in past decades on racial issues, many Republican leaders are trying to separate their opposition to programs that promote gay equality from discrimination against homosexuals.
You’d never hear Mitt Romney say, “I’m pro discrimination”. In fact, you hear quite the opposite.
Earlier this year, on June 6th, 2007, Mormon Romney heard from a North Hampshire lesbian, Cynthia Fish, who questioned his stance against gay marriage.
Fish: I am a gay woman and I have children. I wish you could explain to me more, why if we are sending our troops over to fight for liberty and justice for all throughout this country, why not for me? Why not for my family?
Romney: Wonderful. I’m delighted that you have a family and you’re happy with your family. That’s the American way… People can live their lives as they choose and children can be a great source of joy, as you know. And I welcome that.
[But] marriage is an institution which is designed to bring a man and woman together to raise a child and that the ideal setting for society at large is where there is a male and a female are associated with the development and nurturing a child… There are other ways to raise kids that’s fine: single moms, grandparents raising kids, gay couples raising kids. That’s the American way, to have people have their freedom of choice.
Except the choice to get married. Romney and his ilk aren’t discriminating against gays, they’re just not giving gays equal options. Does that make sense to you, ’cause it doesn’t make sense to us.
Canellos’ article not only highlights social conservatives’ anti-gay ways, but their most inherent flaw: they don’t understand the definition of “discrimination”. And, as Canellos says, Craig’s a prime example of the GOP’s skewed sense of justice: “Presumably, Craig, who insists he is not gay, does not see himself as a victim of his party’s bias against homosexuals.” The Vitter comparison, of course, shows that the Republicans think Craig’s just as bad, naughty and – most importantly – nasty as they find the gays.