Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Republican Candidates

I know that every time I write about politics, I piss off several people, but as I watch the Iowa Caucus results roll in, I feel a sense of doom that I have felt since the current list of Republican candidates emerged.  Frankly, I am not Obama's biggest fan, though there are things he has done for the GLBT community, there is still much more that he could do.  I do not believe that any of the current Republican candidates will do anything positive for the GLBT community and that it is quite possible that they will backtrack on GLBT issues in a fight against out rights.  So I thought that I would show a list of the candidates and how they stand on GLBT issues.

Our Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 that prohibits giving recognition to same-sex marriages. The decision received widespread approval among American citizens at the time, with many citing morality and religion as the primary consideration behind their decision. Fast forward almost 15 years later, and a completely different picture emerges.

Most Americans have favored same-sex marriage since mid-2010. The latest Gallup poll on 29 May 2011 showed 53% of Americans saying same-sex marriage should be legalized with all the same rights as other marriages, vs. 45% saying it should not. Over the last 12 years, 21 states covering 130 million Americans chose some form of marriage equality: 7 have same-sex marriage (CT, DC, IA, MA, NH, NY, VT), 5 have civil union (DE, HI, IL, NJ, RI), and 9 have domestic partnership (CA, CO, MD, ME, NV, NM, OR, WA, WI). In 2012, legislators and/or citizens will vote on same-sex marriage in 7 states (ME, MD, MN, NH, NC, RI, WA).

According to Roll Call, gay rights could become the Republican Party's silent nod to social conservatives and culture warriors in 2012. Several states, including the early GOP primary duo of Iowa and New Hampshire, have become key battleground states in the fight over gay marriage. Others, like New York, have also amplified the discussion by allowing gay marriage. During an earlier GOP primary debate, audience members booed a gay soldier.  The tactic of raising a ruckus over social issues dear to conservatives drove voter turnout for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, when gay marriage and abortion became a wink-nudge to Christian voters who came out in droves.

According to a survey — from CBS News in August 2010 — just 37 percent of Republican voters hold the position that gay couples should have no legal recognition. Instead, 59 percent of Republicans supported either civil unions or gay marriage.

No other survey has shown numbers that broke down quite like that, and the CBS poll may have been a modest outlier. The broader trend, nevertheless, suggests that only about 45 percent of the Republican electorate will be opposed to any form of legal recognition for gay couples by the time the first primaries begin to take place.

Rick Santorum
Santorum has made numerous negative comments about the GLBT community. The controversy arose over Santorum's statements about homosexuality and the right to privacy. In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) taped on April 7, 2003, and published April 20, 2003, Santorum stated that he believed mutually consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts. Santorum described the ability to regulate consensual homosexual acts as comparable to the states' ability to regulate other consensual and non-consensual sexual behavior, such as adultery, polygamy, child molestation, incest, sodomy, and bestiality, whose decriminalization he believed would threaten society and the family, as they are not monogamous and heterosexual.

Many Democratic politicians, gay rights advocates, the Log Cabin Republicans, and progressive commentators condemned the statements as homophobic and bigoted, while some conservatives supported Santorum's beliefs. The controversy carried over into Santorum's presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney's position on gay rights doesn't quite lend itself to a bumper sticker. Depending on whom you ask, it is either too thoughtful and nuanced, or too inconsistent and politically expedient. Either way, it's definitely got the GOP presidential candidate on the defensive. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney did everything he could to stop gay marriage there after the state's high court allowed it. Romney responded to the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision by vowing to keep the state from becoming, as he put it, "the Las Vegas of gay marriage." At the time, Romney stated: "I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. ... Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman." But back during his first political run in 1994, Romney aggressively courted gay voters, promising to do more for "full equality" for gays and lesbians than his Massachusetts opponent, Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. Today, Romney denies any inconsistency.

Ron Paul
His states' rights stand makes it difficult for same-sex couples to peg Ron Paul's opinion on gay marriage. The Human Rights Campaign points out that the candidate did "support the repeal of DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell), but at the same time he also comes out in support of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). It is his unwillingness to favor a marriage equality amendment that makes him a difficult candidate to love for socially progressives.

In fact, a 2004 brief before the House of Representatives highlights that even though Paul opposes "federal efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman," he concurrently does not favor an amendment to the Constitution that would protect the current definition of marriage. He continues to point out that marriage was instituted by the people entering into the covenant, not the governments that oversee them.

In addition, new issues have recently surfaced about Ron Paul's stance on GLBT rights. A direct-mail solicitation for Ron Paul's political and investment newsletters two decades ago warned of a "coming race war in our big cities" and of a "federal-homosexual cover-up" to play down the impact of AIDS. The eight-page letter, which appears to carry Paul's signature at the end, also warns that the U.S. government's redesign of currency to include different colors - a move aimed at thwarting counterfeiters - actually was part of a plot to allow the government to track Americans using the "new money." The letter urges readers to subscribe to Paul's newsletters so that he could "tell you how you can save yourself and your family" from an overbearing government.

Newt Gingrich
Gingrich opposes domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples. He wants a constitutional amendment to protect the traditional family. He believes that same sex couples should have some sort of legal rights so that they can leave their estates to their partners or visit them in the hospital. Gingrich believes that homosexuality is a sin. He thinks that same sex couples should not be able to adopt children. He thinks that gays and lesbians should be able to teach as there are many good and decent people who happen to be gay and children will encounter them in everyday life.

Michele Bachmann
I don't think that I need to say too much about Michele Bachmann. I said a fair amount in this post. However, I will sum up a few points. Bachmann was first in line to sign a pledge affirming her belief that gay men are a public health risk, that gay parents are inferior to straight parents, and that homosexuality is a choice. The pledge — titled “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family” — is a stringing together of myths. For example, a footnote on “human mortality” claims nearly half of gay and bisexual men won’t reach their 65th birthday. But the journal that released the study, based on research conducted during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, has said in a statement issued 10 years ago that the information is regularly taken out of context by “homophobic groups” and “we do not condone the use of our research in a manner that restricts the political or human rights of gay and bisexual men or any other group.” Rick Santorum also signed "The Marriage Vow."

Rick Perry
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said that using foreign aid to combat human rights abuses against homosexuals in foreign countries is “not in America’s interests” and attacked President Obama’s decision to require U.S. agencies operating abroad to promote equal rights for gays as part of the administration’s “war on traditional American values.” In a new and controversial ad, Perry has tossed up a political bomb by comparing the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" with keeping prayer out of school. Wearing what is becoming a trademark beige Carhartt jacket and audacious big belt buckle, the Texas governor promises to fight the scourge of secularism plaguing the political landscape.

“Rick Perry has made no secret of his dislike for LGBT Americans – but his most recent remarks are outrageous even by his own standards,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese in a statement. “It is bewildering that someone who wants to be President of the United States wouldn’t want to see our nation be a global leader in universal human rights. This is further proof that Rick Perry doesn’t want to represent the best interests of all Americans – he wants to advance an extremist, anti-gay agenda that represents the fringe views of a very small few.”

John Huntsman
Jon M. Huntsman Jr. has a number of hurdles to overcome if he is to become the Republican nominee for president — including his service in President Obama’s administration as ambassador to China and his comparatively liberal positions on several issues.

But Mr. Huntsman’s positions on gay rights — while to the left of most of his opponents — are likely to be among the least of his concerns. In fact, Mr. Huntsman’s views on gay rights are very close to those of the typical Republican voter — closer than those of someone like Tim Pawlenty.

In 2009, Mr. Huntsman endorsed civil unions as an alternative to gay marriage. He is perhaps the most noteworthy potential Republican candidate to have done so, although the libertarian-leaning Gary Johnson shares his position, and a minor candidate, Fred Karger, supports full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.


Mitch Block said...

Thanks for putting all this info in one place. I was just today describing the candidates to a cousin in France (who has a really difficult time understanding American politics... especially of the Republican kind) and will now share this link. Great resource!

drew said...

If we don't find solutions for our financial crises we won't have to worry about gay rights!!

fan of casey said...

Joe: While I agree with you, Obama could have done more, he has done the most for our community than any other president. I'd take that progress rather than nothing offered by the republicans at best, and at worst, it a republican wins, he will roll back a lot of the progress of Obama. I've always viewed elections as more the lesser of two evils (we are talking about self-serving politicians here), so Obama is better for me as a gay man.

Even when it comes to the economy, I'm not convinced going back to the old republican ways, which started this mess in the first place, is a wise choice.

Anonymous said...

At least one wingnut has bowed out - Bachmann. Whew. But I suspect if Perry or Paul wound up as the candidate, Obama would WIN!

Thanks for the post, political is good right about now.

Peace <3

silvereagle said...

It is important to look at the canidates with eyes wide open to all areas, not just one. And after careful examination, then vote for the candidate which best fits our want list. Microscopic fixation on a single quality or issue will not bring the best choice.

As for Obama, I personally beleive he was and still is unqualified for the position as President of anything, much less a country. Know I will step heavily on some toes here of readers, but that is my feeling.

Thanks for brininging all the candidates together on this one page.

Coop said...

These people will tell any voter what said voter wants to hear.
That's probably where some of this soundbite comment stuff comes from... like Santorum saying that sex shouldn't be private.
It's also a requirement for the Republican candidates to kneel before the God squad.
Yes, believe a statement about gay marriage. But I'd brush off some of the wackier stuff like what Santorum had to say.

I piss off a lot of people when it comes to politics. I have no political party loyalty. I'm also not one to fawn over candidates and think that one can do no wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for interesting review of all republicans. Your resume made me laugh a lot. It is crazy to read what those people think and say. Sin? Hell? Cmoooon it is year 2012!
There is something I wanted to share with you, even it is a bit offtopic: How Homosexual Households Affect House Prices