Homophobia Is Integral To The GOP Shutdown Caucus

You may think the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate are about money matters. And, in a way, they are. But that’s too narrow a reading of the House GOP’s motives. At heart, the kamikaze caucus that got us into this mess are at war with not just government but modern life. And homophobia is a key part of that group’s philosophy.

Oh, sure, you may think Queerty sees homophobia lurking behind every flag pin. But the facts bear it out. Consider:

The extreme right-wing House Republicans who have been calling the shots have been dubbed “the Chik-fil-A Caucus” by the Los Angeles Times. Why? Because the group orders sandwiches from that fast food emporium to show their support for the company president’s staunch opposition to marriage equality.

All the polling from the shutdown show that the Republicans have taken a devastating hit to their popularity, with favorable numbers that are so low that some chronic diseases could run against the party and win. Yet, there is one group that is standing by the shutdown caucus: evangelical Christians. (The Tea Party is the only other group that loves the shutdown.) More specifically, some of the antigay right’s leading figures are ecstatic about the House GOP’s nihilism. For example, John Stemberger told the National Journal that shutting down the government was the right thing to do. Obamacare is objectionable enough to make this kind of a stand to show how odious it is.” Stemberger is best known to Queerty readers as the founder of, the group formed as a “Christian values” alternative to the Boy Scouts.

The leaders of the House conservatives haven’t exactly hidden their homophobia either. Rep. Raul Labrador has introduced a bill that would protect groups that don’t want to recognize marriage equality. Rep. Steve King has a lengthy and loony record of homophobia that includes threatening to take money away from the Department of Justice for its refusal to defend DOMA. Rep. Louis Gohmert was wondered aloud how homosexuality advances the human species. Rep. Phil Gingrey wants schools to teach kids traditional gender roles as an antidote to marriage equality.  The list could go on and on.

What’s at stake here isn’t Obamacare or the deficit or the debt ceiling. It’s an unshaped despair about modernity. Any one or all of the issues could have triggered the current crisis. If circumstances were right, the trigger could have been Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or marriage equality, or restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. The right wing sees a world that is rapidly changing and they don’t like it one bit. The U.S. is becoming less white, less religious and more tolerant. The right believes it is the last fort standing to defend America. So don’t believe that money is the only issue in the current crisis. You’re right there in the thick of it too.

Photo credit: J. Sonder

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  • 2eo

    Why as a nation are you letting a group of terrorists hurt the United States, come on guys you rendition hundreds of innocent people. The vermin responsible for the real damage to your country are right there in Washington, arrest these tea party secessionists and terrorists and hang them.

  • Billysees

    This article is a “makes sense” one to me.

    Bringing to the surface, once again, the extent of political and religious efforts to demonize the LGBT community is appropriate.

    These efforts shouldn’t be minimized.

  • Ron Jackson

    Our current “situation” is the result of a combination of factors. Grumpy old white men and fading religious bigots who see their hate and prejudice not being validated as they hoped. It will pass but not without a lot of ugly things happening.

    It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

  • brent

    This is one of the more silly articles on the shutdown. So I guess this means if you don’t support Obamacare you hate gays. Or if you are gay you have to support Obamaca. And what does abortion have to do with gays. Abortion is mostly about lifestyle choices. Gays don’t make a choice to be gay. I would think that would be clear by this time. To say abortion is connected to gays, is like saying if you are gay you have to support the death penalty.

  • Dakotahgeo

    This seems absolutely uncanny, but the facts speak for themselves. I’ve always believed the FEMA camps had a useful purpose. Let’s fill ’em up–fast!

  • jwrappaport

    @brent: Read the article again. I had your reaction at first, but the author is making a very specific claim that is different from those you attribute to him. He is arguing that the GOP’s general rejection of modernity is at the root of both the shutdown and many of its other fights (e.g., DADT, abortion).

    Conservatism, by definition, seeks to preserve traditional social, cultural, and political institutions. This is precisely the root of the shutdown crisis, and indeed the root of so many of the GOP’s crusades. It is not that the GOP’s homophobia is related to the shutdown, it is that it stems from the same conservatism that caused the shutdown.

  • Myles

    The rights of all oppressed people are interconnected.Women’s rights are equally important as gay rights.To belittle the rights of anyone to make your struggle seem more important is just one way the fascists win their battle over everyone.
    Your comment makes it look like you are one of their warriors.

  • redspyder

    @brent: Yeah – completely agree. This is self involved people wearing tin foil hats seeing conspiracy everywhere or trying to make their viewpoint relevant. Either way – what a joke.
    @jwrappaport: Personally I find the argument ridiculous. I loathe the evangelical right, but I find the rabid liberal ravings of the left in just as much contempt. Dislike of one doesn’t give the other validity.

  • Stefano

    @jwrappaport and Myles : i totaly agree with you. We have th same problem here in Canada because of the Conservative Party. They just don’t want to gouvern but they change the laws and they try to denie rights of gays and women too, but not in our face, in a hidden aggenda. It is not just about money but ideologies.

  • brent

    @jwrappaport: I guess that means liberals embrace the modern way of life. I don’t think that is true. When we come up with better ways to produce energy like fracking it is liberals who object. They are also hostile to the use of pesticides, vaccinations and nuclear energy. These are all modern wonders that science has come up with and which do not receive support from most liberals.

  • the other Greg

    @brent: “Abortion is mostly about lifestyle choices.”

    Yeah, that must be why every Tea Partier calls abortion murder even in the case of RAPE.

    But of course the female body after a “legitimate rape” has ways of shutting that thing down… oh wait…

    Every Teabagger is a wacko on the abortion issue. And every Teabagger is a rabid homophobe. There are apparently NO exceptions.

    If you find an exception, let us know!

  • brent

    @Myles: You missed my point that abortion is 90% lifestyle, being gay is not. Unless you take the position that being gay is a choice. I doubt you do that. You claim we should be for all rights. Does that include gun rights? What about property rights? If a woman has a right to an abortion shouldn’t I have the right to cut down a tree on my property? Oh but the government claims some trees are just too important to be cut down. It seems to me that being a liberal means supporting the idea that a tree has a greater right to life to life than an unborn baby

  • brent

    @the other Greg: I wasn’t speaking for every tea partier. 90% of abortion is about lifestyle choices. Unless you are preparing to argue that being gay is a choice, I see nothing in common with 90% of abortions.

  • the other Greg

    @brent: But that’s exactly the point. It’s not that there are or aren’t connections, or if WE see connections or not. The point is that THEY see connections. They are social conservatives so for them, all that stuff is wrapped up in one package.

  • BJ McFrisky

    What floors me is that most of us have labeled all Republicans as The Enemy, based on the actions of some. But—aren’t we always told that we shouldn’t judge all of Islam because of the terrorist acts by Muslim extremists? Seems the same principle should apply here, but sadly, people on this site seem to believe only what they’re told to believe: Republicans are evil, Democrats are saintly.
    If only it were that simple.

  • Demonic darian

    @brent dont over think the article so much and get side tracted. Basically its like this both parties have their own itinerary and this article simply points out the Gop’s homophobic veiw points and how blatantly its being displayed.

  • Triple S

    @BJ McFrisky: Of course. Leftists hate what they choose to and love what they choose to. Even though they say they are the morally superior ones :P

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Triple S: Well… well…c’mon… We not only say it, we ARE morally superior! ;-)

  • sirald66

    The TP is more about not playing well with others.

  • tjr101

    For years raising the debt ceiling and passing a budget was a non-issue. It was done with little fuss. Now it’s a big issue, wonder why. Oh right, a black liberal is in the WH and a bunch of grumpy, terroristic bigots are now holding the country to ransom.

  • brent

    @BJ McFrisky: That is very true. If you watch Tavis Smiley and Rachel Maddow, the way they handle sexism and homophobia when it comes to islam is not even close as to how they handle the same issues when it comes to the GOP. I love how Greg Gutfeld said he was going to build a gay bar for muslims on the 9/11 site. The reactions from liberals are priceless.

  • brent

    @the other Greg: If the point you are making is social conservatives oppose abortion and gay marriage, then that is true of almost any religion. If you went into a black church where support for Obama is high and you asked what they thought of gay marriage and abortion. What kind of response would you get? Probably the same answers that you get from social conservatives. If we take your idea to other levels, Wwhat position should we take with the catholic church? They are opposed to gay marriage, abortion and the death penalty. So if you are gay does that mean you are for the death penalty as well as being for abortion?

  • brent

    @Demonic darian: That’s fair. But I think the author of this article is the one who is guilty of overthinking.

  • mito718

    I for one believe in Universal Health Care.. and Equality for everyone .. I consider this to be basic human principles and rights . The Article just mentions a very Valid point … They are the same people who are not wanting change… And use Fear… Religion…Politics..And Social Values ? what ever they can to try to keep Control .. Its very shameful that is come to this.. :(

  • redspyder

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. And Universal Health Care.


  • LadyL

    @brent: Abortion is most assuredly not “mostly a lifestyle choice” you stupid, stupid, stupid man.

    Abortion is a health and well-being issue for women and girls who discover they are pregnant either because they are sexually active or because they have been raped since, short of abstinence, there is currently no 100% foolproof birth control method.
    It is also an issue of class and economic disparity, because no matter what laws are passed by whomever is in power, wealthy women can always buy a plane ticket and find a licensed doctor and a safe procedure somewhere, whereas poor women’s options too often narrow to wire hangers and back alleys. Women already struggling to care for children they can’t properly clothe and feed have bled to death on kitchen tables in their desperation to end unplanned pregnancies; teenage girls have committed suicide rather than face their parents with the news.
    I can’t recall at the moment where in the country this is taking place, but earlier this week Rachel Maddow reported on the plight of a 16 year old girl who is against her will being forced to carry the baby to full term and give birth. Her state forbids abortion to females under the age of 18 without parental consent–and she was removed from her parent’s home because they were abusing her. This young lady, who has pleaded she is not prepared to be a mother, has nevertheless been turned into a human incubator for the state.
    So please stop referring to abortion as a “lifestyle choice” as though we’re talking about some casually selected standard of living. For most women abortion is a deeply personal and wrenching decision, for women with few or no resources it is potentially a life-threatning one as well.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @LadyL: LadyL, you are spot on the mark! Well said! and Thank you.
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • brent

    @LadyL: I said [email protected] of the time, not 100% of the time. Since women are helpless according to you, do you also give men the right to opt. out of parenthood when they want to? I mean why should a man pay child support for a baby he doesn’t want? Rachel Maddow is one of the worst when it comes to logic. She wants a huge entitlement state, but wants to kill all the taxpayers in abortion clinics. Look to Greece. It has one of the lowest birthrates and is one of the biggest entitlement states. It is also broke, which is where we are headed if Maddow and her ideas take hold.

  • brent

    @Dakotahgeo: It’s ironic how liberals complained about GITMO. Now in the Obama era you guys want to create your own version of GITMO

  • Dakotahgeo

    @brent: But we’d be so much gentler!

  • LadyL

    @brent: You know, I would attempt to rebut your idiotic reply, but the effort would likely be as fruitless as the attempts of others here. So I’ll say instead goodnight.

  • brent

    @LadyL: Whenever I get called an idiot, I take it to mean I am right1

  • Billysees


    There is a certain serious truthfulness about what you’ve said here —

    ” We not only say it, we ARE morally superior! ;-)

    And some humor too.

  • Billysees


    I don’t think there should be any “eye roll” about what you said.

    You put it in simple and easy to understand terms.

    ” We hold these truths…..that all men……are endowed……with certain unalienable Rights……that…..are Life, Liberty, …..the pursuit of Happiness……And Universal Health Care. ”

    Sounds good to me.

  • jwrappaport

    @brent: Your response is little more than an argumentum ad hominem tu quoque. There’s no question the democratic party is a party of hypocrites. Whether it be Obama’s unwillingness to police the financial sector or his refusal to speak candidly on radical Islam, he is a hypocrite par excellence. And yet, this has no bearing on the claim that the GOP’s platform is dangerous and backward. The GOP, even in its more benign forms, is a proxy for corporate and religious tyranny. Just read its platform: it seeks to hamper campaign finance reform under the guise of free speech, sneak religion into our public schools under the banner of religious freedom, and dismantle financial regulations on the grounds that they are threats to our liberty. In the words of Noam Chomsky, I held my nose and voted for Obama simply because Romney was on a different planet.

    Reading these comments, yours in particular, is sad. American politics is so backward that words have almost lost their meaning in this country. Libertarianism means corporate tyranny, conservatism means plutocracy and theocracy, and to be liberal is to be center-right. A friend of mine from Liverpool said it very well, “Is it seriously controversial in your country whether or not people should be entitled to healthcare?” Indeed, we are the laughingstock of the free world, and it appears now that we can barely keep our government operational.

  • jwrappaport

    @redspyder: You beg the question: why should we care what the Constitution says? When confronted with the question of whether a right should exist, why not ask instead, what will best produce a just society?

  • Michelle

    @brent: So.. being raped is a “lifestyle choice”?

  • brent

    @Michelle: I said 90% of abortion. Now 90% means there is 10% left.

Comments are closed.