This is the first post in Queerty’s “Looking Back, 2015” year-in-review series. Enjoy!
Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself. This political truism certainly applies to some of our own worst enemies, many of whom had awful, self-inflected wounds in 2015. And the world took note, punishing them by heaping loses upon them.
Here are five antigay activists whose over-the-top shenanigans actually helped advance the LGBTQ cause…
Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter
Oh, how the mighty of Louisiana have fallen.
Failed “religious freedom” fighter Gov. Bobby Jindal’s crappy leadership skills led to his funders finally cutting him off and resulting in his withdrawal from the 2016 presidential race. Now he’s back for a bit in the governor’s office, where his approval ratings have fallen to a historic low of 20 percent. (Ouch!) Even the state’s Republican voters disapprove of their governor, who has slashed education, health care and environmental funding to service the state’s massive deficit, triggered primarily by GOP tax cuts for oil companies and the wealthy.
Meanwhile, the bad bedroom behavior of “family values” politician and admitted prostitute patron Sen. David Vitter resulted in the state just electing a Democrat for governor to replace the aforementioned horrible Jindal. John Bel Edwards is set to take office on January 11, and he’s already pledged to issue an executive order protecting LGBTQ government employees and contractors from workplace discrimination as soon as he gets there.
Jindal and Vitter’s hypo-crazy was too much even for the solidly Republican state voters.
Gov. Mike Pence
The Indiana governor made his state the guinea pig for “religious freedom” laws when, earlier this year, he signed a bill making it legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. As a result, he and his fellow Republican state lawmakers’ suffered a major national backlash that ultimately ended with their approval ratings tanking and them doing a 180 by adopting a law that extended protections based on sexual orientation for the first time in the state’s history. Not only that, but other states that had been considering similar “religious freedom” bills quickly changed their minds.
The moral of the story: Sometimes stubborn social conservatives actually do learn from each other’s mistakes.
While we’re on the subject of “religious freedom,” the thrice-divorced, born again county clerk from Kentucky became Public Enemy #1 this year when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Her perpetual lawbreaking backfired when a Washington Post/ABC poll found that the vast majority of Americans believed she was in the wrong and that she should stop “invoking God’s authority” to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Score one for the gays!
The grumpy, 79-year-old Supreme Court Justice has become so relentless in his hatred of all things gay that it’s almost laughable. In the past, he’s referred to same-sex marriage as “an overcooked meat loaf” and questioned whether LGBTQ people really exist. In his dissent of last June’s ruling on marriage equality, he channeled his inner six-year-old with an epic tantrum, calling the ruling a “social upheaval” and the Supreme Court, in general, a “threat to American democracy.” Then he accused his colleagues of being “pretentious” and “egotistic” before comparing their thoughts to the “mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.” Yet despite everything Scalia says and does, LGBTQ folks have more rights and visibility today than ever before. It would appear his polarizing antigay sentiment is having the opposite effect on people than what he intends.
Time to change your strategy, Antonin. Better yet, time to retire.