The Log Cabin Republicans now have squandered their last ounce of potential credibility.
After 35 years in their dysfunctional relationship with the Republican Party, these gay conservatives have gotten nowhere, and are unable to admit it. And the party, after 35 years of accepting their endorsements, endowments, and votes, still degrades, derides, derogates, and vilifies all LGBT people and their families, both in its platform and in its legislation.
Captive to their own psychosis, the Log Cabin Republicans continue paying homage to a political party that usually ignores them, except during all the bouts when it’s hurting them. For example, the Cabineers spent seven years and a small fortune getting federal courts to decide that the military’s 17-year old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law was unconstitutional. In 2010, as the nation finally recognized that the policy was archaic, ignorant, pointless, and unfair, Congress repealed the law.
And what did the Republican Party do? Over the next two years, its congressmen introduced a pile of new bills to minimize, impede, and reverse the historic repeal.
Today, the Republican Party’s latest platform contains 12 oppressive promises specifically designed to target and hurt LGBT people, their spouses, and their children. That platform officially declares that all American marriages are defined by one specific religious sect, as between only one man and one woman, that only such marriages are holy, that all other couples are profane, that civil judges may not rule otherwise, that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to reflect this, that no-fault divorce must be outlawed, and that Judeo-Christian values are federal law.
This is the party that the Log Cabin Republicans want to see controlling the nation.
On Tuesday, they gave a qualified endorsement to the Romney/Ryan ticket, and swore to strengthen the Republicans’ current gridlock hold on Congress.
Their bowing and cowing to Republican interests illustrates just how delusional the Cabineers really are. For example, they write that Republicans have “no appetite” to even consider constitutional amendments banning same-gender marriage. Apparently, the Cabineers have never heard of California, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, or Washington, where tens of millions of dollars — quietly laundered from the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches — are being spent by Republicans and the anti-LGBT hate group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to wage war on LGBT people, their families, their children, and the freedom to marry. Do the Cabineers even know that Romney’s own political committee donated $10,000 to NOM to fund their own oppression — or do they just not care?
Minnesotans will decide on November 6 whether to outlaw same-gender marriage via a permanent constitutional ban, which also would prevent lawmakers and judges from ever proposing any remedies. After several years of hearing Republican-inspired animosity, ignorance, junk science, fear, and lies, the latest poll shows the same-gender marriage ban winning, 47% to 46%, with 7% undecided. Clearly, the Cabineers’ claim of “no appetite” for such venal voting is a deluded falsehood.
Now, aside from the Log Cabin Republicans’ deceit of both themselves and the public, there’s a far greater reason why any endorsement of Mitt Romney is a very troubling turn in American politics.
Despite frequent switches of position during his years of campaigning, Romney is firmly a right-wing, experiential-primitive, Christian Dominionist who vowed to his church — and also to NOM — that he will lay the foundations to convert our democracy into an anti-LGBT theocracy. Even though public sentiment, legislation, and court decisions increasingly support the freedom to marry, Romney’s faith requires him to adhere to the religious notion that marriage can exist between only one man and one woman.
Dominionists believe that their deity requires them to take over all societies, and to subordinate all citizens to their version of Christianity. The only human rights they recognize are those found in their religious books, and they feel perfectly comfortable imposing their religious rules upon people outside their creed, which they label with euphemisms like “right to worship” and “freedom of religion.” According to them, whenever their religion conflicts with another one, their religion rules, and the other must yield. Their deity trumps everyone else’s.
The Cabineers blindly claim that Romney won’t pursue “attacks on LGBT Americans.” But his own biography proves that that is exactly what he will do.
While campaigning to be governor of Massachusetts, he promised to advance LGBT causes even “better than Ted Kennedy” but then spent the next four years in office opposing same-gender marriage, dissolving a state Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, blocking an anti-bullying school guide, exploiting a loophole in an obscure 1913 law to prevent out-of-state same-gender couples from marrying in Massachusetts, and committing similar betrayals.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan oppose LGBT people — and their spouses and children — so much that they are scheming to write discrimination directly into the U.S. Constitution, and thus permanently deny LGBT families 1,138 federal benefits and responsibilities that every other family takes for granted. Romney and Ryan also support the Defense-of-Marriage Act (DOMA), a dishonestly named law which allows any state to ignore the same-gender marriages of people from anywhere else.
Today, 48% of Americans live in 21 states, counties, or cities with various forms of legal relationships: nine states legalized full marriage (CT, DC, IA, MA, MD, NH, NY, VT, WA); seven legalized domestic partnership (CA, CO, ME, NV, NM, OR, WI), and five legalized civil union (DE, HI, IL, NJ, RI). Romney and Ryan would outlaw those millions of relationships, forever.
And what would become of a couple needing to speak to each other as one of them lays, dying, in an ambulance or a hospital? Romney and Ryan approve of any state outlawing such a meeting, even between a loving, committed couple during the final few moments of life. DOMA also cuts military personnel pay up to 40% for everybody who has a legal, same-gender spouse. Additionally, Romney and Ryan support segregation of all LGBT people into “separate-but-equal” Jim-Crow-style status, an antiquated practice from the era of slavery which has been wholly unconstitutional since 1964.
Just as the Republican Party thinks nothing of the Log Cabin Republicans, so too, the Cabineers today think little of LGBT people, and next-to-nothing of hate crime laws, open military service, employment non-discrimination laws, and the freedom to marry — measures which Republicans still overwhelmingly oppose. The Cabineers cheerily claim that they support “fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans,” but Republican leaders, lawmakers, state-level parties, and candidates remain lock-stepped in their overwhelming opposition to all such equality.
The Cabineers claim they will ensure that their party “lives up to its highest ideals of limited government and individual freedom.” But based on history to date, the party’s highest ideals are already decaying in the sewer, so living up to them is worthless.
For example, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has already wasted $1.5 million taxpayer dollars attempting to defend the doomed and unconstitutional Defense-of-Marriage Act, in 14 separate cases. In the federal district courts and the federal appeals courts, in every decision rendered so far, the Republicans have lost every single case.
The Log Cabin Republicans refused to endorse George Bush in 2004. They should do the same with Mitt Romney in 2012. But if their addiction to all things Republican is so intense that they just can’t resist endorsing the party and its candidates, then they must give up any claim to being sane, LGBT humans, for it is psychotic to endorse, fund, and vote for anyone who is promising to permanently oppress you. It’s also insane to pretend that things are getting better when they are not.
The Log Cabin Republicans want to maintain their unhealthy relationships with the Republican cannons aimed at them, and some might argue that that choice is theirs to make. However, by endorsing, funding, and electing such people, they’re oppressing not just themselves, but everyone else, as well. And that’s inexcusable.
Ned Flaherty is a Projects Manager at Marriage Equality USA, an organization which has worked with Log Cabin Republicans on marriage equality campaigns. In this article he represents himself, not either organization. He writes from Boston, Massachusetts.