In 2004, the republican party used hate against queer people to help drive a wedge between independents, blue dog democrats, moderate republicans and the Democratic party. Its sad to say but it was a successful campaign and highlighted the fact that despite many improvements in queer rights and acceptance there was still an undercurrent of hatred for queer americans.
Its now 2011, and its so different from attitudes 6 years ago, and we should recognise that fact, as should the Democratic party. The majority of the country wants not only basic respect for Queer americans, but also marriage equality.
Currently the only viable republican candidate has refused to sign NOM’s hate pledge which includes calling for witch-hunt investigations of Queer rights groups who’ve attacked anti-equality organisations by calling them Hate Groups. Jon Huntsman has refused to sign the pledge, but in his view marriage equality is not on the cards, he’s a supporter of civil unions, but he makes it clear that they are second class relationships. Huntsman doesn’t even disguise the fact that he’s calling for “separate but equal” treatment of Queer americans.
Now Obama’s record on Queer Rights is far from great, he’s had opportunities to fight for true equality like ENDA and Repealing DOMA when he had huge majorities in the Senate and House, but he’s now supporting a limited marriage equality bill that he knows has no chance of coming law. However under Obama, despite his lack of action, hate for Queer americans is no longer the explicit policy of the US government which is a huge improvement. Under any of the republican candidates, the lives of Queer americans will get worse, varying from HHS rules forcing hospitals accepting medicare and medicaid funding to allow partner visitation rights, to the recent “consideration” DHS is now applying to binational queer couples as far as deportation is concerned.
Forty years ago, Harvey Milk said, that we had to step out of the shadows and be heard, that we could no longer be closeted from our friends, our families and our coworkers. Across the US, in a wave that was not unlike the “Great Awakening” in True Blood, Queer americans stepped out of the shadows, and started to find their voices.
Now we’ve become a generation of Good Queers, who’ve accepted that our republican and independent friends cheerfully vote for people like Bush, McCain, and others who relish the thought of hurting us. The republican party has chosen to make hate part of their platform. Barack Obama has been a centrist President, and I’d challenge anyone to argue with a straight face that any of his policies have ended up being anything but centrist, if not center right. So its time to go out and tell your friends and families about the hate they are considering voting for.
“A vote for a republican president, is a boot stamping down on the faces, lives, families, and livelihoods of your Queer friends and family members”
John Boehner has questioned why the president is focussing on “divisive” issues rather than focussing on jobs. Its strange that he’s not asking the same question of John Boehner, leader of the tea party/republican party who has been waging an unholy culture war on women’s health this month rather than focussing on jobs…
I would love to see the Democrats actually came out fighting, they could make marriage equality a wedge issue splitting off the social conservatives from the rest of the conservative movement in 2012. However sadly that would involve more backbone than the democratic leadership possesses.
Two senators who represent real leadership in the democratic party would be Kirsten Gillibrand (Gillibrand 2016!) and Dianne Feinstein. Both have advocated actively for marriage equality, and Senator Feinstein has introduced a repeal bill.