The GOP's Quiet Gay Strategy
I think of this blog as a place for people to talk about how to accept and even enjoy the differences among all of us. Since there was a minor outbreak of anti-LGBT excitement in our Maryland county a few years back, which pops up again occasionally under various pretexts, the blog has mostly focused on questions regarding prejudice against gay, lesbian, and transgender people. A lot of straight people find it a little hard to understand someone who feels differently from them, probably most of us do at some level, but you don't have to understand everything about a person to accept them. There is no danger to you if someone sees the world differently, or if someone looks different or dresses differently from you.
Interestingly the comments section tends to break down along political lines. It seems that almost all our Republican-leaning commenters advocate a startlingly hostile attitude toward LGBT people, talking about a sinister "gay agenda" and referring to them as "deviants" and so on, while almost all of our Democratic-leaning commenters defend tolerance and acceptance and equal rights.
I don't see what this has to do with ideological differences of opinion regarding government spending, interpretation of the Constitution, or civil liberties, but for some reason conservatives, at least in our comments section, mostly advocate prejudice, and liberals advocate tolerance.
The New York Times has an interesting feature this morning about a movement within the GOP to support the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry.
OVER the past year, the main story line in the push for marriage equality has been the ardor and success with which leading Democratic politicians have taken up the fight. The Democratic governors of New York, Maryland and Washington all promoted and signed same-sex marriage laws, for which President Obama expressed his support last month.Who benefits if gay and lesbian couples are prevented from marrying? Does anybody profit from that? Is anyone's life better in any way? I can't think of any benefit to such a prohibition. There is just no point to it -- oh, you can say that they are trying to "redefine marriage" blah blah blah, but in reality it does not affect any straight person in any way if gay and lesbian American citizens are permitted to marry the person they love. It only means there will be more happiness in the world.
But the progress within Republican ranks has also been pivotal, not to mention fascinating. And a compelling character in that subplot just added a new twist to the narrative, one that suggests the rapidly changing political dynamics of this issue and its potential import to a party dogged by an image of being culturally out of touch.
That character is Paul E. Singer, 67, a billionaire hedge fund manager who is among the most important Republican donors nationwide. In just one Manhattan fund-raiser last month, he helped to collect more than $5 million for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
He steadfastly supports conservative candidates. He also steadfastly supports gay rights in general and marriage equality in particular. Along with a few other leading Wall Street financiers, he contributed and helped drum up the majority of the money — more than $1 million — that fueled the campaign for same-sex marriage in New York.
He has given nearly $10 million of his own money to gay-rights initiatives, including the same-sex marriage efforts not only in New York but also in New Hampshire and New Jersey. And that figure doesn’t include his assistance in tapping a broad network of donors for individual candidates. He was pivotal in rounding up about $250,000 apiece for the Republican state senators in New York whose votes for same-sex marriage provided its margin of victory in the Legislature.
Now, Singer says, he’s providing $1 million to start a new “super PAC” with several Republican compatriots. Named American Unity PAC, its sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it.
The G.O.P.’s Gay Trajectory
Most people are smart enough to see that. As gay people have come out over the past half century and have become more visible in public life, straight Americans have realized they are ordinary people with the same feelings and concerns as anybody. The shock has long worn off, the jokes have stopped being funny, the stereotypes are hollow now that everyone knows better. Anti-LGBT bigotry is a losing platform for a political party.