Ed Brayton discovers a GOP member who’s woken up

December 4, 2008 | By | 12 Replies More

Ed adds a nice commentary at the end of his latest post, detailing James Richardson’s call for the GOP to get real and stop pandering to ignorance and bigotry:

The country has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. With more and more gay and lesbian Americans coming out of the closet, most people not only know gay people, they know that they know them. And they usually like them. That is a powerful antidote to bigotry. It becomes much more difficult to believe in an evil gay agenda to destroy the country when you know actual gay people. They become something other than a distant abstraction, they become real people with the same problems and flaws and concerns as everyone else.

That’s why every survey shows that young people not only aren’t as bigoted as their parents and grandparents, they find such bigotry offensive and unnecessary. And over the next few decades, those are the people who are going to run the country. If the GOP really wants to stick with the anti-gay stuff to pander to the religious right, 2008 is going to repeat itself over and over – with the only people supporting them being those over 65.

My thoughts precisely. Even if you completely forget the fact that gay-bashing or homophobic bigotry  – or however you choose to re-label it to make it easier for yourself to swallow – is anti-human, anti-democratic, ignorant and just plain wrong, keeping it as a vote-attracting tactic as the US evolves into a more accepting society is going to hurt the GOP in ways that many of the current brains trust probably can’t imagine (but then, Cheney’s Whitehouse has only ever been concerned with what can be squeezed out of America & the world in four-year chunks and has looked no further). Societies inevitably evolve, and political entities must adapt or be left on history’s scrapheap.

Of course, it goes without saying that there are much better reasons to treat gay people as human beings than simple political tactics, but hey – this is the Republican Party of 2000-2008 we’re talking about here. James Richardson isn’t the first Republican, nor will he be the last, to know an epic fail when he sees one or to call for a major shake-up in how the GOP does business. It isn’t just the recent election loss that’s catalysed this dissent in the ranks though – the abject failure of the hateful, lie-riddled McCain/Palin campaign was just icing & a cherry on the hateful, lie-ridden cakewreck of the entire Bush era.


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Category: Civil Rights, Cultural Evolution, Politics

About the Author ()

Hank was born of bird-watching bushwalking music-loving parents from whom he gained his love of nature, the universe & bicycles. Today he’s a musician, non-profit aid worker, beagle keeper and fair & balanced internet commentator – but that just means he has a chip on each shoulder.

Comments (12)

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  1. You have an obvious contempt for the GOP, but why don't you address the fact that Barack Obama is against Gay Marriage as well – and for religious reasons too.

    Also, I would be careful not to call someone a bigot because they are against gay marriage. I think it is very judgemental and a crass way to deal with a complicated issue.

    Have you considered the consequences of denying the state the right to regulate the guidelines and definition of a marital relationship? Why should a sexual practice become a category of a protected class of people? It would be helpful for you to wade through those types of questions rather than ridiculous and boring rants against the Bush Administration.

  2. Hank says:

    I have an issue with anyone who seeks to deny gay people equality, regardless of their political affiliation, and that would include Obama if he is in fact opposed to equality. I judge people on their actions & their words and not what party they're a member of. Since I don't vote in the US, I don't have an affiliation or any vested interest (besides being a citizen of the world, on which the US has an inordinate amount of influence). If Democrats were, as a group, opposed to such a basic civil right as the GOP has been lately I'd be on their case about it too.


    "Why should a sexual practice become a category of a protected class of people?"

    Why indeed! Why should only heterosexual couples have the right to wed? And how is being gay a 'practice' any more than being straight is?

    This continuing, laughable canard that gay people are after some kind of "special treatment" is pure baloney. They want the SAME rights as my wife & I had when we decided to get hitched. The rights we were born with and didn't have to fight for. The rights our gay friends were born with – and later learned no longer applied to them because of their orientation.

    Since I'm yet to hear anything approaching a good, logical, sound, just reason to continue to deny gay people full, equal marriage rights, my options in describing those who oppose gay marriage are limited. Most of the opposition seems to come from religious (or at least religiously-inspired) corners of society, others from pure ignorance, others from irrational hatred. Bigotry is irrational, it's hateful and it stems from ignorance. Not everyone who opposes gay marriage is necessarily a bigot, but there are always elements of bigotry at play when one group of humans decides, arbitrarily, that another group is inferior and undeserving of equal treatment under the law.

    As far as I'm concerned, the fact that the GOP has (among many, many other things) for many years chosen to pander to those who believe gays are immoral, deviant or otherwise repugnant and deserving of discrimination, all in a transparent & cynical attempt to secure votes, clearly illustrates that their priorities have been somewhere other than good governance & justice for all.

    My apologies if you were bored, but I believe any contempt for the GOP is well-placed (as surely as you believe your white-hot loathing for liberals & heathens is equally well-placed), based solely on the last eight years of wastage and violence and shredding of the Constitution & civil rights, and if there are still people who believe in Bush and fly his flag, then they haven't been paying attention. What I think is very telling is the ever-increasing number of GOP members coming out in public and voicing their dismay, disappointment and frequently their disgust over their beloved party's actions, focus & tactics while in power – the recent Palin farce(s) being the most glaring in terms of poor judgement.

  3. Karl says:

    What one person sees as enlightenment, someone else can just as easily see as amoral or even immoral and "vice-versa."

    People have reasoned scientifically and sociologically and theologically why gay-marriage should not be sanctioned.

    People will ignore what they don't agree with its as simple as that.

    Here is an article on the health effects of "male homosexual activity."


    This article has a long list of scholarly references.

    Here is a series of article on the sociological studies done on homosexuality on marriage and society as a whole.

    http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?… http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?… http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?… http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?… http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?… http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?…

    The number of theological articles wouldn't mean anything here so I won't list any of them.

    Of course you will want non-christian writers. If you care to look there are secular writers in the references of the first article, like studies done by the center for disease control and the like.

  4. Vicki Baker says:

    Todd asks

    Why should a sexual practice become a category of a protected class of people?

    Is there any sexual practice that homosexuals do that heterosexuals don't also do? I'm not an expert on human sexuality by any means, but I can't think of one. So it seems that by restricting marriage to heterosexuals, the one sexual practice that homosexuals don't do is being used to define a protected category of people.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    Karl: Regarding the many articles to which you've cited: To the extent that being homosexual is associated with STDs, wouldn't it be better for gays to be in stable monogamous relationships rather than promiscuous? Wouldn't marriage promote monogamy in gays just like it does in straights?

    But I assume you'd rather that gays simply stop being sexual beings. That's an easy call for you (I assume) though not for the gays. Telling someone to stop being sexual is to deny them a part of makes them human. Yes, expressing one's sexuality is as natural and essential as eating and drinking, but SOOOO many conservatives nonchalantly assert that gays should just GIVE IT UP, stop doing something that is buried deep down in your bones, something that appears to exist (in many gays) since they noticed that they were "different" back when they were in high school (or even grade school).

    I believe that your political positions are based on a visceral reaction–disgust–whenever you contemplate two gays having sex. BTW, people who thought that Africans should be slaves also felt disgust whenever those Africans stepped outside of their "proper" roles. They felt disgust whenever an African played with "white" kids, or tried to learn to read. Fast forward a bit, they continued to feel disgust when people of African descent drank at the same water fountain as "whites" or ate at the same lunch counter. Many of those conservatives who consider themselves "cured" of these visceral reactions still get disgusted at the ultimate sin by those who committing the sin of choosing to be born with dark skin: having the audacity to express genuine caring physical affection with someone who is "white."

    What is the lesson regarding disgust? That it is the foundation for many "moral" opinions. Is it valid to base morality on a feeling of disgust? Not when it rips up relationships between gays and gays and gays and straights.

    According to your Bible, Jesus didn't spend even one minute disparaging gays. Rather, he spent time with the people to which many other people felt disgust, people such as prostitutes.

    I've previously posted on the role of disgust as a basis for moral understanding. It is a relevant basis, especially for conservatives. But there are other bases for moral understanding (caring for others and treating others equally), and we mustn't ignore those moral measures. Not when we are hurting other people, many of whom (not all, I agree) are simply trying to live quiet lives as monogamous.

    Karl: If we had a videotape of every sex act you have (or any other adult has) ever engaged in, we'd probably see (though I'm not interested in watching these!) many acts that many other people would find disgusting and repulsive. None of their damned business, right?

    Here are the three posts on the role of disgust in moral judgment:

    Ordinary disgust taints moral judgments.

    Disgust as a basis for morality.

    Why conservatives and liberals talk past each other on moral issues.

  6. Vicki,

    It depends on who you ask, doesn't it? (Graphic language follows)

    If one considers erotic behavior to involve all parts of the human body, then obviously there's no difference in practice. Heterosexuals engage in anal intercourse as do gays, although presumably not as a primary activity. Oral sex? Same for both, at least one presumes. Emphasis changes as a general rule on the importance of one practice over another, but that's true within groups as well as across groups.

    So one must ask: if it's acceptable (private) practice for heterosexuals to orally stimulate each other's genitals, what makes it unacceptable for homosexuals to do so? And if a heterosexual female likes to occasionally "take it up the ass" as it were, why is this suddenly repulsive because it's two males? Or two females with a dildo?

    More likely what the problem is is that eroticism itself is at issue and some notion of what constitutes Normal Sex is at the base of these debates—after all, until recently there were state laws throughout the country defining as "deviant" anything but missionary position sex even between male and female and in some instances Sodomy was defined as including oral sex of any kind. In a puritanical sense, sexual relations can be "forgiven" as long as the end purpose is procreation, but if it is for purely pleasurable purposes then it's deviant. Sex between like genders is obviously "sterile" in this sense and can be nothing other than for pleasure, therefore no justification can be argued for it—it is de facto deviant.


    Disease is a factor in sex, period. There are some 90 STDs, most of which rarely rise above the nuisance level and so don't even pop up on public radar anymore. It has mostly to do with multiple partnering, however, and this is an issue regardless of orientation. Some people automatically presume homosexuals are more promiscuous and there is something to this, but in no way is exclusive to homosexuals. The fact is that until Stonewall in the 70s gays had little opportunity to engage in what might be termed stable relationships, and this was as much society's doing as anything inherent in the proclivities. Promiscuity does not quibble over orientation, though. It is and has been easier for heterosexuals to indulge themselves sexually without the kind of social opprobrium heaped upon gays, so over longer term relationships develop which lower (presumably) the risks of promiscuity by making open stability possible and acceptable.

  7. Dan Klarmann says:

    I know heteros of both genders who've racked up well over a hundred hook-ups before they were 40. Most of the gays I know are about as monogamous as average heteros: Some dilly-dallying in adolescence, and then settling down to long term relationships.

    The health danger comes from those who are kept ignorant by abstinence-only programs and such. Condoms save lives, but this message is largely hidden in theocratic nations, and the U.S.

    The husband who hides his preference for men from his wife and colleagues is also unlikely to show proper respect for the health his partners.

    Any prohibited activity is an invitation to reckless behavior. Like the prohibition experiment of the 1920's and the War on Drugs of the last couple of decades. Forcing homosexuality into the dark corners of society is a prohibition on those who instinctively lust for their own kind.

    Karl, please find links from any reputable health site (like the CDC or HHS or any University) that back up the Christian talking points to which you link.

  8. So, Vicki, what rightwing fundies should do to fight sexual promiscuity is encourage kids to take science classes?


  9. Hank says:

    Karl's one and only source: battlefortruth.org – "the centre for Christ & Culture". Part of the whole problem here is people using religious justifications for homophobic discrimination (or thinly disguising them as non-religious). Surely if someone wanted their position seriously considered they'd cite something other than an admitted apologetics/ministry website.

    I do hope noone was expecting a neutral sociological source … seriously Karl, if that's the best you have, then you have nothing. Why not cite World Net Daily as a non-partisan, neutral political authority?

    There sure are a lot of studies cited at the end of that first article, entitled "The Negative HEalth Effects Of Homosexuality" (which sounds rather like the writer arrived at a conclusion before he started his research). I'd like to have time to check them all to see if their findings were reported accurately & in context (even the ones that appear to be from the early 1980s, which immediately raises questions as to their relevance, considering how dramatically the profiles of AIDS & safe sex have been raised since then), but the article itself isn't exactly spot-on in the fact-checking arena:

    "Anal intercourse has been linked to a host of bacterial and parasitical sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS."

    HIV, the AIDS precursor, is neither parasitic nor bacterial. "V" is for "virus". It admittedly appears to be a small, semantic quibble, but you'd think someone who was dedicated to scientifically or sociologically 'proving' that gays are beneath us would proofread his work first. Especially a PhD.

    Another red flag was the repeated assertion that homosexuality is a 'lifestyle' that people 'choose to enter into', as if it's a hobby or some kind of kinky social club. I don't believe, and neither do my gay friends, that gay people choose to be gay any more than I chose to like women, chocolate or Ferraris. People can't control who they love or desire any more than they can control what their favourite colour is. It's not like choosing a car where you weigh your options, money and requirements, sex & love is entirely emotional.

    Considering so much of the opposition to homosexual equality has a religious basis, posting a linkfarm from an apologetics website probably isn't the best way to support the anti-equality, anti-civil rights position. Given the clear and obvious religious slant against gays, there is simply no credibility to be had by repeatedly citing a website which is admittedly Christian & evangelist, and therefore heavily biased, in every aspect of its worldview.

  10. Karl says:

    And Hanks worldview isn't biased. I admitted mine was already. Tell me and others something I didn't already realize, and also already state.

  11. Karl says:

    Dan and Hank,

    I already provided ample scientific data about the physical issues involved with MSM.'

    Much of it was from unlinked pre 2000 journals, but there were many direct links to web information. You might have to cut and paste some into your browser.

    I went through the reference provided and copied and pasted some of these links it already it contained.

    Sorry they weren't easily identifiable for you.

    Also Hank, Sorry, they all weren't done in the last year to show how much we have progressed in our thinking. The first article at battlefortruth.org stands alone and is not written from a religious "homophobic" point of view.

    It is reporting on a gay newspaper article written by Bill Roundy, "STD Rates on the Rise," in Blade News, December 15, 2000, p. 1

    http://www.gayhealth.com/templates/0/news?record=136 http://www.mb.com/ph/scty/2000%2D07/sc073004.asp http://www.washblade.com/health/a
    cancerlinksusa.com/cancernews_sm/Aug2000 /081700analcancer
    http://www.washblade.com/health/000602hm http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/b/faqb http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/ Fact_Sheets/FactsGonorrhea.htm
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/ Fact_Sheets/Syphilis_Facts
    http://www.ama-assn.org/special/std /treatmnt/guide/stdg3470.htm

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/facts/women http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/facts/youth.htm http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/facts/msm http://www.cdc.gov/epo/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ mm4835a1
    http://www.pridesource.com/cgi-bin/article?article=38355... http://www.washblade.com/health/9901011h

    Even when one claims to eventually settle down with one domestic partner the heath risks have already soared by that time. If our hope is to try and limit the damage than civil unions are the best we should humanely have to offer.

    Having numerous heterosexual partners before marriage also greatly increases health risks, so I'm not condoning either type of behavior over the other.

    I also do not favor hooking up a few hundred times in order to prove something to yourself or to find the one you feel that physically and emotionally, sexually and socially you are best suited to marry.

    The summary of the article is this:

    Those who advocate full acceptance of homosexual behavior choose to downplay the growing and incontrovertible evidence regarding the serious, life-threatening health effects associated with the homosexual lifestyle. Homosexual advocacy groups have a moral duty to disseminate medical information that might dissuade individuals from entering or continuing in an inherently unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle. Education officials in particular have a duty to provide information regarding the negative health effects of homosexuality to students in their charge, whose very lives are put at risk by engaging in such behavior. Above all, civil society itself has an obligation to institute policies that promote the health and well-being of its citizens.

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