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Right Wing Round-Up - 10/23/12

Michael Keegan: Log Cabin Republicans Kidding Themselves About a Romney Supreme Court

People For the American Way President Michael Keegan responds to the Log Cabin Republicans’ endorsement of Mitt Romney:

I’m not surprised that the Log Cabin Republicans have gone against the best interests of LGBT Americans in endorsing Mitt Romney. Responding to their rationalization would normally not be worth the time, but one of their attempts at self-justification deserves a response. Log Cabin claims, ‘Those who point fearfully to potential vacancies on the United States Supreme Court, we offer a reminder: five of the eight federal court rulings against DOMA were written by Republican-appointed judges. Mitt Romney is not Rick Santorum, and Paul Ryan is not Michele Bachmann.’

The Log Cabin Republicans have willfully ignored everything Mitt Romney has said about the Supreme Court.

Romney has said that he will appoint Supreme Court justices and lower court judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who are both adamantly opposed to protecting the rights of gay people under the Constitution. Both dissented in Lawrence v. Texas, the ruling that ended criminal sodomy laws. In his dissent, Scalia accused the Court’s majority of signing on to the ‘homosexual agenda.’ These are the kind of Justices that Mitt Romney has promised to nominate to the Supreme Court.

We can also look to Romney’s choice of Robert Bork to lead his judicial advisory committee, a clear signal that he’s ready to cede judicial nominations to the Religious Right. Bork has vehemently disagreed with every pro-gay rights decision the Supreme Court has ever made, and even claims that marriage equality will lead to ‘man-boy associations’ and ‘polygamy.’ This is who Romney has picked to advise him on judicial nominations.

Romney doesn’t just support amending the Constitution to prohibit marriage equality – an amendment that every justice would be obliged to enforce. Everything Romney has said about judicial nominations indicates that he will appoint Supreme Court justices and lower court judges who will do lasting damage to the rights of all Americans – including LGBT people. No LGBT American or anyone who believes in equality should be fooled into thinking otherwise.

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Sessions Suggests Gay Republican Welcome in House as Long as He Avoids ‘Personal Crusade’

Cross-posted at AlterNet

Pete Sessions heads the National Republican Congressional Committee and in that role his top goal is electing Republicans. To that end, Sessions has worked with Log Cabin Republicans – and was honored by the group with its Barry Goldwater Award in 2010 – in spite of his own strongly anti-gay voting record: during the past three sessions of Congress his rating on HRC’s scorecard has ranged from zero all the way to six percent and now sits at three percent.  Sessions has voted repeatedly for federal constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, and against ENDA and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

At a press event in Tampa this morning, Sessions was asked about Richard Tisei, an openly gay Republican congressional nominee in Massachusetts.  The questioner specifically asked how Tisei, who is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, would fit in with the Republican caucus.
 
“I have a litmus test and that’s to be able to get elected,” said Sessions, who said he is in regular communication with Tisei and will be a strategic and tactical partner in his race.  Sessions did not talk about LGBT issues directly, but said it was his sense that Tisei is “not on any personal crusade” but “wants to become a professional member of Congress.” Tisei’s opponent, Rep. John Tierney, has been hurt by financial scandals involving his wife and other family members.
 
Indeed, there’s no “personal crusade” on behalf of LGBT equality evident on Tisei’s campaign website, whose issues page does not mention LGBT issues – it focuses on right-wing talking points on the economy, Medicare, education, and Israel.
 
Sessions’ attitude reflects a growing split between the Republican Party’s conservative evangelical base – which flexed its muscle in this year’s platform committee – and the growing support among Americans, including Republicans, for LGBT equality.  Politico reported in March that Republican congressional leaders have tried to dial back the caucus on marriage, while anti-gay activists continue to battle marriage equality around the country.
 
“I will proud to have him be a member of our conference,” said Sessions.   But if he does win, Tisei probably shouldn’t expect too much support from his colleagues for any “personal crusades” for equality.

GOP Gays have Hope but Perkins has Power

The Log Cabin Republicans group turns 20 this year, but the party’s platform committee did not give them much to celebrate. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has been bragging for more than a week about how much influence his group had on the platform, which reflects the religious right’s anti-gay opposition to marriage equality.  Perkins and others shot down an attempt to add support for civil unions to the platform.

But at a Monday afternoon reception co-hosted by Log Cabin and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the mood is surprisingly upbeat. Talking to people at the reception made me wonder at the fine, fuzzy line dividing optimism from delusion.“This is our party...” LCR’s Clarke Cooper insists. “We are here to make it stronger and more inclusive.” 
 
“[I]t’s a whole new world out there” and in the Republican Party, says former member of Congress Jim Kolbe, who was “outed” while in office.  He contends that the kind of resistance to LGBT equality that is reflected in this year’s platform is a generational issue -- "the last gasp of the conservatives," he calls it -- and boldly predicts that this is the last year in which the platform will contain such language. When I suggest that if Ralph Reed’s turnout operation among conservative evangelicals does as much for the Republicans in November as Reed hopes, the party is not likely to turn its backs on the anti-gay religious right base, Kolbe shrugs and says both parties appeal to their bases for turnout. “We will have the victory,” he says.
 
Sarah Longwell, who serves on the Leadership Committee for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, affirms that it was disappointing that Perkins, who is “brutally anti-gay,” was basically allowed to write the part of the platform pertaining to marriage and LGBT rights. Her group and LCR are taking out a full page ad in tomorrow’s Tampa Tribune that quotes Tony Perkins on the importance of marriage, and offering this response:
 
We agree. That's why Log Cabin Republicans and Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry believe that government should stop denying marriage licenses to committed gay and lesbian families. As conservatives, we believe that the freedom to marry is directly in line with the core ideals and principles of the Republican Party.”
Those hoping for the GOP to embrace equality do have a point about generational change. Polling shows that equality is making gains among individual Republicans, especially those under the age of 44, who are now about evenly split on the question of marriage equality. Longwell points to the key role played by Republicans who joined Democrats in advancing marriage equality in New York, New Hampshire, and other states. Longwell says she believes that the crass anti-gay wedge politics employed by the GOP in 2004 played a role in encouraging Republicans like Dick Cheney, Ken Mehlman, and Laura Bush to be more outspoken in their support for marriage equality.  If 2004 was a turning point, she says, 2012 could be a “tipping point,” at which shifting public opinion makes overt anti-gay politicking unfeasible. “You can’t demagogue gay people forever.”  Perkins, however, may have a different opinion on that, and no small measure of power in the G.O.P.
 
The Log Cabin folks are particularly excited about Richard Tisei, a 50-year old former state senator from Massachusetts who is running for Congress this year with backing from the national party. Tisei, who is challenging Rep. John Tierney, is openly gay, pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, but none of these issues appear on his campaign’s issues page, which pushes standard right-wing talking points on “Obamacare,” Medicare, the economy, education, and the Middle East.  Of course, that doesn’t phase the Log Cabin Republicans, who are excited about a member of Congress who would vote to repeal both the Defense of Marriage Act and the Affordable Care Act.

 

Religious Righting the Republican Platform

Yesterday, the head of the Log Cabin Republicans said that the Republican Party platform might actually contain language saying that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Imagine! Although the language included no reference to LGBT people, Log Cabin argued that it would be a “positive nod” toward them. 
A nearly imperceptible, practically meaningless nod, perhaps.  Anti-gay groups typically use similar rhetoric to soften their image.  Even the most stridently anti-gay Religious Right leaders insist they don’t hate gays, they love them so much they want to save them from their evil, wicked, Satanic, hell-bound lives.
Last night, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins provided a bit of a reality check. He sent a memo bragging that “our team has had several hands” working on the platform:
With a presence in the committee meetings, the FRC Action staff has been able to help delegates hold the line of social issues. Just this morning, our efforts made what was already a good document even better.
Before this week, the GOP’s draft platform included solid language defending the family – and FRC Action, in tandem with Eagle Forum, made it even stronger.
Perkins boasts that as a delegate on the subcommittee handling health care, education, and the family, “I was able to reinforce the language on marriage and successfully helped with amendments on conscience rights, abortion in health care, and stem cell research."
Joining Perkins on the Platform Committee is David Barton, the promoter of bogus “Christian nation” history whose recent book on Thomas Jefferson was slammed as grossly inaccurate by so many scholars that his Christian publishing house, Thomas Nelson, pulled the book from the shelves. But Barton’s abuses of the truth have never been enough to discredit him with his friends in the GOP. Barton is serving on the platform committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, where Tony Perkins assures us Barton led efforts that “fended off liberal attacks that would have watered down the wording” on marriage and “life.”
This morning, the Tampa Bay Times reports that the draft moving forward includes a call for a federal constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex couples from getting married anywhere in the U.S., and for a constitutional amendment applying the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to “unborn children." There is no exception for allowing abortion in the case of rape or incest.
The full Platform Committee will take up the work of the subcommittees today.

Barber: Pro-Gay Donors & Activists Have 'Poisoned' the GOP and Must Be 'Rooted Out'

On Friday's episode of "The Janet Mefferd Show," Matt Barber was interviewed to give his thoughts on "the GOP and their buckling stance on homosexuality." Barber was, not surprisingly, highly critical of any effort by the Republican Party to try to appear less openly-hostile to gays and blasted the party for even letting groups like GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans or pro-gay donors have a seat at the table. 

Such groups were, Barber asserted, really just gay activists in disguise who are intent destroying the Republican Party from within.  As such, they and like-minded donors have "poisoned" the GOP and need to be "rooted out" because the "most important election in history" is approaching and the party cannot risk alienating its Chick-fil-A-loving, anti-gay base at a time like this:

You know, that's all we need is the Republican Party looking more and more like the Democratic Party. What the Log Cabin Republicans are doing here - and let's be very clear here; groups like GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans who call themselves Republican or conservative, they're just a bunch of radical homosexual activists in conservative or Republican clothing. These guys know exactly what they're doing, they're trying to undermine the Republican Party from within I believe intentionally, I believe it's covert and they know what they're doing.

So this does not bode well, the fact that the Republican Party is even entertaining these radical activists here and they're looking at essentially spending a dollar to save a dime - I mean, imagine alienating the entire base of the Republican Party in order to appease a few radical homosexual activists; it's counter-intuitive, it's thick-headed, and this is the most important election, I think, in history that we have coming up right now, and now is not the time for the GOP to be alienating the base of the party.

...

They are not conservatives. They are liberal Republicans more suited to the Democratic Party but fiscally conservative, oftentimes, and so they have essentially poisoned, in large degree, the Republican Party and, I think, need to be rooted out.

You know, we saw what the base of the Republican Party believes with the overwhelming outpouring for Chick-fil-A, for natural marriage, for traditional values and for the Republican Party to even entertain the idea because a few of these donors have deep pockets of running afoul of these traditional values that the Republican Party platform has been based on for years, it's just a stupid idea.

Gay Conservative Groups Attack (!) Obama for Marriage Equality Announcement

After coming out in favor of marriage equality for gays and lesbians, gay conservative groups Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud have attacked the President for his announcement.

Log Cabin Republican’s Executive Director called the move “offensive and callous”:

“That the president has chosen today, when LGBT Americans are mourning the passage of Amendment One, to finally speak up for marriage equality is offensive and callous,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. “Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue, but LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch. This administration has manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week he does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short.”

In a similar vein, GOProud called the announcement “cold comfort” for North Carolina’s LGBT community:

“It is good to see that after intense political pressure that President Obama has finally come around to the Dick Cheney position on marriage equality. I am sure, however, the President’s newly discovered support for marriage is cold comfort to the gay couples in North Carolina. The President waited until after North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.”

“This is hardly a profile in courage by President Obama. For years now, President Obama has tried his hardest to have it both ways on this issue.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney continues to oppose not only marriage equality but also civil unions for same-sex couples.

In CNN Appearance, Bryan Fischer Rails Against the 'Homosexual Lobby'

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer went on CNN today to debate R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans over the Romney campaigns’ hiring of Richard Grenell, who is openly gay. Fischer, who believes that gays and lesbians should be “disqualified from public office,” repeated his claims that Grenell’s hiring is an attack on the “pro-family community” because “the homosexual agenda represents the single greatest threat to religious liberty in America today” and is a “big gain for the homosexual lobby.” Later, Fischer and Cooper debated whether sexual orientation is a choice, and Cooper compared Fischer to segregationist George Wallace who will be “left in the dustbin of history”:

Romney is campaigning on a firmly anti-gay agenda, but Fischer won’t be happy until Romney adopts a “straights only” policy for his presidential campaign and eventually the federal government.

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