Republicans won big in this year’s elections, but it’s not because the candidates suddenly become more moderate. If anything, there was a bumper crop of candidates from the furthest fringes of the right. Unlike past electoral road kill like Christine “I Am Not A Witch” O’Donnell and Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, this year’s winners managed to keep their mouths shut during the campaign. Based on their views, however, rampant homophobia will certainly get a boost in the next Congress. Here’s a look at some of the worst of the worst about to take their seats in the nation’s capitol.
If you were thinking Michelle Bachmann’s replacement would have to be an improvement, you’d be wrong. Emmer is every bit as much a homophone as Bachmann was. As a state legislator, he introduced a bill that would ban marriage equality and — just to be on the safe side — civil unions.
Hice opposed anti-bullying legislation because he didn’t want the government intruding on parents (especially parents raising homophobic brats). And he gave money to pastor Bradlee Dean, who lauded Muslims for being “even more moral than the American Christians” because they execute gays. If anyone can meet Bachmann’s lofty standards, it’s Emmer.
Hice is a pastor and radio talk show host, and he exhibits all the qualities that combination implies. As a new Congressman from Georgia, Hice is a walking compendium of the worst lies about homosexuality: it’s a choice, it leads to shorter lifespans, it causes depression. Police who arrested anti-gay demonstrators in New York engaged in “Gestapo-like” tactics, in Hice’s view.
Hice views marriage equality as driving down marriage’s market value: “Some ask the question, ‘How does same-sex ‘marriage’ threaten your marriage?’ The answer is similar to asking, ‘How does a trashy neighborhood affect you?'” On top of all this, Hice is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, which is pretty dim to begin with. He took Michael Swift’s 1987 satire of gay revolution at face value and wrote how it revealed “the radical agenda that is currently threatening our nation.”
Grothman won a Congressional seat in Wisconsin, where he distinguished himself in the state senate as an unrepentant bigot. Grothman introduced legislation that would have classified all gay parents as child abusers. He wanted to ban any discussion of sexual orientation in schools because it was part of a nefarious plot to corrupt youth. “Why sit down with 7th graders and say to some you will be heterosexual, some homosexual? Part of that agenda which is left unsaid is that some of those who throw it out as an option would like it if more kids became homosexuals, ” he said. Grothman longed for his high school days when “homosexuality was not on anybody’s radar.” Indeed, radar probably hadn’t even been invented then.
Despite being a carpetbagger from Maryland, Mooney won election to a Congressional seat in West Virginia. During his stint in the Maryland legislature, Mooney was a leading opponent of marriage equality, singlehandedly blocking it in the senate for years. “Even if homosexual ‘marriage’ comes in, it’s not going to stop; the radicals pushing this stuff are not going to stop,” Mooney said in 2008.“They’re going to go for ‘hate speech.’ If you actually speak against the homosexual lifestyle, maybe from the pulpit if you’re a pastor then you’re in trouble.”
Buck lost a Senate race in Colorado in 2010, but this time around he found a congenial Congressional district happy to send him to D.C. Part of the reason Buck lost last time is that he willingly aired his extreme views. Most famously, Buck declared that homosexuality is a choice because “you can choose who your partner is,” although genetics does play some role, just “like alcoholism and some other things.” With such enlightened views, Buck will fit right in with his colleagues.
Ernst is the new Senator from Iowa, and she learned the lessons of past elections well by making bland statements that mask extremist beliefs. For example, Ernst says that marriage equality should be left up to the states. However, as a state legislator, she was pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa, one of the first states to legalize it.
More worrisome is Ernst’s allegiance to the extreme Christian Right. At a forum hosted for candidates by religious right leader Bob Vander Plaats, who was responsible for the campaign to oust three judges who legalized marriage equality in Iowa, Ernst parroted the belief that the Constitution should be considered a Biblically based document. Judges need to realize that the Constitution “did come from God” and that senators should “make sure that any decisions that they have made in the past are decisions that fit within that criteria,” she said. No one Pat Buchanan gushed that Ernst has “the same kind of attractiveness that Sarah Palin had at the start and that Michele Bachmann gained in the Iowa caucuses, being a very attractive, outspoken person, a woman in the GOP full of passion and full of hard-core philosophy.”