Skip to comments.Why the GOP should welcome gays into the party
Posted on 08/20/2007 10:30:08 PM PDT by Coleus
SOMETIMES tragic occurrences force us to stop and think those are the moments that crystallize our perceptions of human relations. I found myself in such a state with the passing of a constituent, friend and fellow conservative who also happened to be gay. Our conversations convinced me that my beliefs in limited government can be shared across the chasms that liberals and conservatives perceive to separate us ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. That conclusion is not popular on either side of the left-right spectrum: Liberals don't believe gays should be conservative and conservatives don't believe gays can be conservative, especially when a radical left gay contingent dominates media attention and right-wing conformists place their own moral judgment before individual freedom.
The Republican Party claims to be a "Big Tent," and rightfully so, as the core conservative principles of the party revolve around individual liberty and a limited government that serves to protect that liberty. These ideas can help our party cut across lines of "group identity," because the idea of freedom is appealing to groups that lack the political clout necessary to keep government out of their pocketbooks and lives. Historically, gay Americans have struggled for the freedom to live their lives the way they choose in order to pursue happiness. This is the American Dream, the cornerstone of conservative thinking, and it is these principles that make the increasingly influential gay community the conservative movement's natural ally.
It may surprise some to learn that the very same conservative who refused to be coerced into performing civil union ceremonies by government believes gay voters should be conservative, yet this very instance points to our common ground a commitment to the rights of the individual and opposition to the power of a collectivist state. The media like to portray conservatives as wild-eyed ideologues, which is unfair. Of the philosophies that have directed civilization, conservatism has resulted in the most liberty for people around the world. It is at the hands of the liberal welfare state that individualism is destroyed; thus the failure of communism, fascism and socialism in promoting a signature American entitlement "the pursuit of happiness."
Americans take that phrase for granted, but the idea was culture-transforming. Happiness derives its meaning from the Middle English hap, meaning "chance" or "luck." It is the same root present in the words perhaps or happenstance. The idea present in the words "pursuit of happiness" is the notion that individuals can make their own happiness. Happiness is not purely a matter of luck, but a goal to be pursued in a free environment characterized by limited government. Our Founding Fathers held this truth to be so "self-evident" that they declared it was the indisputable right of all individuals to pursue happiness. With this belief, many members of the gay community have played a critical role in the conservative movement. Conservatives from Terry Dolan to Andrew Sullivan prove there has been no shortage of influential gay leadership. Arguably, their involvement is even greater in the conservative wing of the party than in the moderate middle.
Upper income brackets
Many gay adults are also in upper income brackets, making the issue of low taxes, which conservatives have staked their reputation on, an important one. The principles of limited government that keep Big Brother out of our personal lives must also keep him out of our pocketbooks. Liberal Democrats may not care what individuals do in their bedrooms, but they are already rattling their tax-hiking sabers to let us know they do care what individuals do with their money. Obstacles to achieving our real goal of reducing the size of government and limiting its ability to interfere in our lives must be torn down. Gays shouldn't expect government to foist acceptance of their lifestyle on others; religious conservatives shouldn't expect gays to abandon an integral part of their being.
Barry Goldwater once remarked that government cannot pass laws to "make people like each other." His words still ring true today. Labeling people "homophobes" or "bigots" if they refuse to accept the entire gay agenda creates political fractures that work against individual liberties and serve to keep gay voters in the Democratic Party's political ghetto. The Republican Party must reestablish its commitment to the rights of the individual while respecting the moral code of one subset and upholding the freedom of another. Quite a challenge, indeed. However, the Big Tent needn't become a kaleidoscope of political policies designed to appeal to a large crowd at the expense of sacrificing principles.
Rather, it must transcend mere politics by becoming a manifestation of the principles that culminated in our Declaration of Independence and attract those who share this vision. The principles that are the underpinning of conservatism will ultimately make room in the tent for a surprisingly wide range of membership.
Reestablishing a commitment
In memory of the fine gentleman who inspired this article, I will reestablish my commitment to understanding and the core principles of conservative thought that I believe will best serve our future. My friend fought a tragic inner battle that tormented him to suicide. No one will ever understand the emotional turmoil that destroyed his life. The demons that haunted him and drove him to such a dark and lonely end also know no ethnic, gender or sexual-orientation boundaries. The boundaries of infinity are large enough and eternity long enough for all of us.
So let the values that we share, as mutual as those terrible instances of suffering that each of us can encounter, allow us all to strive for happiness during our brief stay on Earth. Thanks, buddy, see you in a better place. Steve Lonegan, a Republican, is mayor of Bogota.
Head ... Sand ... Hole ... Remove
Let a hundred Foley scandals bloom.
It's easy to dance around singing about a big tent when you skirt around the issues.
Just one question, if homosexuals are such a minority why do politicians always pander to get their vote?
Quite frankly I find the whole idea of pandering to someones sexual orientation to be repugnant.
that is a good answer.
I didn't know they were excluded. Then there is the matter of the Log Cabin Republicans. Just who are they?!
Hey, it worked for Sodom, right?
This big tent all started back in 1997 during the suing of the Christian Coalition and the big money lenders. The RNC decided then to distant themselves from religious extremists.
However... I suggest you read your Bible. You can't teach those who refuse to learn.
Big Tent? Where have I heard that term used before?
Oh wait. Episcopal Church.
No thanks, GOP.
I think Steve Lonegan has jumped the shark. The only thing under big tents are a lot of hot air and clowns.
Power Point of this brochure can be downloaded here
Harry made the following statement to a press conference on June 24, 1994, in the former Stonewall Inn on Sheridan Square in New York, site of the riots that launched the modern gay movement in June 1969. The press conference was called to announce the Spirit of Stonewall (SOS) contingent in the Stonewall 25 march two days later. It was moderated by SOS co-organizer and indefatigable activist Bill Dobbs. Other participants were Christine Martin, sex educator and documentary filmmaker; Glenda Orgasm (aka Glenn Belverio), drag queen activist and filmmaker; Scott O�Hara, editor and publisher of Steam magazine; Val Langmuir of Feminists Against Censorship (London); Julia Smedley, member of Stonewall Now; and Charley Shively of Fag Rag and professor of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts.
This statement was transcribed from a videotape of the press conference. A much shorter version�which omits any mention of NAMBLA or SOS, as well as the entire last half of the statement and the first paragraph�appeared in Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder Harry Hay, ed. Will Roscoe (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996), p. 303. These omissions seem odd in view of the fact that Harry read from a written text. The truncated version also used capital letters for words such as �Brothers and Sisters� and �Queers,� a convention that is not followed here since this complete version is not based on a written text.
Sir Julian Huxley, the great English biologist, said, at the beginning of this century, no negative trait�and, as you know, a negative trait is one that does not reproduce itself�no negative trait ever appears, and reappears, millennia after millennia after millennia, unless it in some way serves the survival of that species. We gays and lesbians may embody, or have discovered, some things that you folks desperately need to know about.
I�m here today as a survivor, as well as the founder of the first ongoing gay organization in the United States, the Mattachine Society, first formed in 1950 in Los Angeles, and now, naturally, a member of SOS, the Spirit of Stonewall, because things we discovered about ourselves and principles we developed in 1950 to �53 are now being trashed by queers who don�t know their own history, all over the place.
We decided from the beginning that, first, because we were still discovering our parameters, we wouldn�t censure each other. If people like NAMBLA self-identify themselves to me as gays and lesbians, I accept them as brothers and sisters with love.
Second, when we decided to rejoin the social or political mainstream again, we would integrate as the group we saw ourselves to be, complete with our own set of values, or we would not integrate at all.
And third, we would no longer permit any heteros�nationally or internationally, individually or collectively�to tell us who we are, what persons our groups should or should not consist of. We assert our right to self-determination, we assert our right to collective self-definition. We queers will decide for ourselves who our members should be.
Members of SOS, notably NAMBLA, have been accused of child molestation. Insofar as child molestation is concerned, the most common form is the sexual coercion by which gay and lesbian children are bedeviled into hetero identities and behaviors. And this is practiced daily by the whole national and international hetero community�parents, family, teachers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs, not to overlook U.S. senators and pooh-bah media.
This outrageous coercion of gay kids into hetero identities and behaviors against their wills is not only sexually abusive, it is spiritually devastating rape, because the child unbeknowingly is being led into developing self-loathing at the same time. For this gigantic criminal trespass against not only today�s children but against all of us also�all of us�since childhood, from the queers my age of 82 down through all the generations of queers assembled here in New York, to the gay kids still being bedeviled by sexual coercion against their wills, we the international gay and lesbian people here this week should unite to sue the whole guilty heterosexual community lock, stock, and barrel to within an inch of their lives, and for every nickel they�ve got, as a beginning of compensation. And while we�re at it, we should request our first-class citizenship as well. This could be the class-action suit of the century.
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“My friend fought a tragic inner battle that tormented him to suicide. No one will ever understand the emotional turmoil that destroyed his life. The demons that haunted him... “
This poor soul fought a battle between good and evil. Evil won. I doubt he is in a better place. The worst thing a Christian can do to his fellow man is to tell him his chosen lifestyle is okay and accept him. He needs to hear the truth, no matter how painful or “intolerant” it may seem. He needs correcting.
Preferring sexual intercourse with others of one’s own sex is not a political ideology or issue, UNLESS AND UNTIL those professing such a perverse and unnatural preference choose to make it a political issue; employing pressure tactics of various kinds and exploiting political institutions and processes as means of compelling others to accept their perverse behavior as morally, socially and culturally normative; and demanding that this behavioral preference be taught to minor children in government schools as acceptable and normative.