It Depends On Who's Talking - And Where

Are The Gays A Political Issue?

Gays are America’s most contentious social group. They’re so contentious, in fact, that people can’t even decide on whether they’re contentious!!

A paper out of East Carolina University allegedly “proves” the gay issue proved to be the biggest issue in the 2004 elections, says Iowa Independent. Political scientists Peter Francia and Jody Baumgartner penned a piece entitled “Victim or Victor of the Culture War? How Cultural Issues Affect Support for George W. Bush in Rural America”. Published in American Review of Politics V. 26 (Winter 2005-2006), the piece concludes:

It seems plainly evident that to understand why Bush was more popular among rural residents than urban residents the issue of gay marriage appears to have been a major factor.

Using the piece as a springboard, Iowa Independent‘s Douglas Burns goes on to inform us that 74% of rural residents decried gay marriage, while only 54% of urban citizens agreed. It would seem, then, that rural America’s the battleground in America’s Culture Wars

Journos aren’t the only ones paying attention to rural leanings. Daily Yonder hypothesizes that Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are putting all their money in the gay basket.

When you look for “rural” or “farm” at either the Giuliani or Romney websites, there’s very little. When you search back issues of newspapers for what these leaders have said about crop supports, rural housing or small schools, you don’t find much. Well, really, you don’t find a thing. Neither candidate has an “issues” section dedicated to rural America. Neither candidate has a history of working on rural problems.

Maybe they figure that opposition to gay marriage is a rural platform.

True, neither Romney nor Rudy’s websites into the thick of rural living (although Mitt looks like he’s ready to dig deep), but their virtual digs also don’t really get that deep into “gay” issues.

Romney’s poorly construction issues section only features press quotes, like this gay marriage blurb to Boston Globe:

Last year the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck a blow against the family, as I’m sure you know. The court forgot that marriage is first and foremost about nurturing and developing children. Its ruling meant that our society is supposed to be indifferent about whether children have a mother and a father.

Romney’s gay politics haven’t changed since then – he claims to like the gays, but just doesn’t want them to get married. Of course, he didn’t always take such a hardline, which may explain why he’s talking so much “gay” these days. Maybe Daily Yonder’s on to something.

Giuliani’s site also eschews rural issues, but does offer a more well-rounded take on gay rights:

Rudy Giuliani believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He does not – and has never – supported gay marriage. But he believes in equal rights under law for all Americans. That’s why he supports domestic partnerships that provide stability for committed partners in important legal and personal matters, while preserving the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

Domestic partnerships definitely stand as Romney and Giuliani’s queer common ground – a higher ground than President Bush, who still stands against domestic partnerships. Obviously the gays aren’t as contentious as Iowa Independent would have you believe…

A December, 2004, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute concluded that while gay marriage helped boost voter turn out, it did not sway the votes in Bush’s favor. Dr. Kenneth Sherrill insists,

Despite claims to the contrary, same-sex marriage did not cost John Kerry the presidential election. Data from the 2004 national exit polls indicate that same-sex marriage had little net effect on the outcome of the election.

Sherill also concludes that those motivated more by ‘mo marriage were die-hard Republicans who would rather butt fuck Satan than vote Democrat. We’re paraphrasing, of course.

Sherill’s study does not, however, delve into the rural/urban division. If we’re to believe Francia and Baumgartner’s conclusion and the GOP continues to pump its politics full of gay issues, rather than focusing on country living, does that mean gay are fucking rural America? No, but Giuliani and Romney seem poised for great American political rim job. Oh, we mean snow job.

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