Friday, October 29, 2004

Gay pickles

This year's election must be putting gay Republicans in a pickle.

And no, I'm not talking about the proposed amendment to the Constition to enshrine the idea that states no longer have a right to decide who marries (or all legal incidents thereof.)

I'm talking about the attempt by Republicans throughout the South especially to play off homophobia to tar Democrats. It is an updated version of the strategy that Republicans used after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 to woo the alienated white voters from the Democrats.

The latest examples:

  • "Top Republican officials" in the Kentucky state legislature called the Democratic Senate candidate Mongiardo "limp-wristed," questioned whether the "word 'man' applies to him," and called him a "switch hitter who doesn't whether he's on the left or right" while campaigning with his Republican opponent, Senator Jim Bunning. They deny they were referring to Mongiardo's sexuality.
  • Alan Keyes referred to Mary Cheney as a "selfish hedonist" shortly before the Republican convention because of her open lesbian identity and later explained that gay marriage was wrong because it would inevitably lead to incest. (Can't find the original articles, but mentioned here.)
  • The Star-News of North Carolina two days ago retracted their endorsement of Woody White who was running for the state senate after he made his opponent's sexuality a major issue in final TV ad talking about her "liberal activist homosexual agenda" and "radical homosexual rights and privileges," concluding with this: "The truth is … Julia Boseman seeks to be the first openly gay or lesbian State Senator in North Carolina History." The Star-News in withdrawing its endorsement explained, "But now a vote for him would be a vote for intolerance and dirty politics." Amen.
  • A recent ad run against Oklahoma congressman Brad Carson implies that he is in favor of gay marriage. He voted for the amendment to the Constitution and has spoken in opposition to gay marriage many times.
  • In Arkansas and Virginia, the Republican National Committee sent fliers to voters implying that a vote for Kerry would lead to banning the Bible and promoting gay marriage. (Interesting editorial on the lack of outrage here.)
  • In South Carolina, the Republican candidate for Senator Jim DeMint first entered into controversy regarding homosexuality when a staffer accidentally sent an e-mail to a homosexual activist reading, "Come on, fag, give this dike a reply.” The staffer stayed on with the campaign. DeMint later made news when he announced at the Senate debate that he did not think that homosexuals should be allowed to teach in public schools, which is consistent with the South Carolina Republican platform. Meanwhile elsewhere in the state, Rep. John Grahm Altman (R) sent an e-mail to his supporters claiming that his opponent was in favor of the "decay of traditional values in America" by supporting same-sex marriages and hiring homosexual Boy Scout troop leaders.
  • Mike Liffrig, the Republican Senate candidate in North Dakota has been accused of airing an anti-gay ad while mischaracterizing his Democratic opponent's position on gay marriage. Similar accusations have been leveled against Mel Martinez, a Republican Congressional hopeful in Florida.

Not that Republicans are trying to exploit this or anything! Republicans also are responsible for the numerous referendums in 11 states that are on the ballot to try to boost anti-gay marriage turnout.


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