Monday, February 14, 2011

GOProud: This Ain't Your Father's GOP

Please re tweet or email this article to your friends and family, or email your thoughts to GOProud directly.

If you are a reporter or blogger, feel free to republish this article as is, or make it your own.


If you are an elected official, please be informed that the LGBT Community may be looking for a new Party to support in 2012.  This article is part of a new series which addresses why.  I hope you find it informative and that it encourages you to do all you can to ensure that YOUR party will be the Party of choice for the LGBT community next year, whether you are Democrat or Republican.

Dear Friends,

If you've been following this blog for the past six weeks, let me first say THANK YOU!  I appreciate your time, and I encourage you to give thoughtful consideration to the matters presented herein.  As many of you know by now, many in the gay community have come to realize that during the past 2 years, the Democrats have reneged on the promises they made to the gay community to work on ENDA and DOMA in the 111th Congress, even though President Obama campaigned on them and convinced us to support his candidacy.  But even with a full 2 years of a Democractic majority in both Houses of Congress and the White House, they have failed to deliver on their commitments to the gay community, with the exception of the repeal of DADT. 

When we more closely examine the events that led up to even that advance forward, we see it was hardly a Democratic led charge that many portray it to be, and that many in the gay community continue to believe it was.  Trusted radio host, Michael Signorile forensically recounts the actual events leading to DADT's repeal in this article from the Advocate Magazine, wherein he reminds us of the true history of it.  As you'll discover, DADT's repeal was not so much due to Democratic legislative efforts, but instead it was due to the valiant efforts from brave folks like Lt. Dan Choi and many other supporters of our community, (like Lady Gaga).  It's a sad commentary indeed to realize that it takes an unelected military verteran and a pop star to get anything done in Congress these days on behalf of the gay community.

As I explained previously, when Barrack Obama was first elected, I believed that with the economy in a downward spiral, it was more important for Congress to focus on getting Americans back to work, and for Congress to pass measures that would encourage businesses to invest in America's recovery.  As we all watched with dropped jaws, Congress spent another trillion dollars on a failed stimulus spending bill, and then in order to divert media attention away from that misstep, went on to waste valuable tie and political capital on a health care bill that ultimately forces Americans to make unconstitutional investments in the free market to purchase private health insurance. 

In the flurry of it all, a few golden opportunities to advance legislative initiatives on behalf of our community were squandered, and it appears that the Democrats and the media are trying hard to help us forget it.  The purpose of this series is to not only keep us mindful of their betrayal and reneging on their promises, but also to encourage the gay community to consider our options in 2012 when deciding which party to support in the future.

In making the case to the gay community that perhaps we should consider what the GOP may be willing to offer us, especially at a time when they are scrambling to make up for lost money and votes, from the Tea party leaving the Big Tent to strike out on their own, many of us have come to realize that the Democrats have indeed betrayed our trust, although none of us are at a place yet where we can believe that the GOP is a good place to transfer it to least not yet.  However we all seem to agree that the Tea Party and its Theocratic aspirants are absolutely *not* the alternative we are seeking.  I think we all agree that if we wanted America to be a theocracy, we could just as easily move to Iran and save us all the trouble.

As we learned in the last article, we find that the Tea Party appears to be composed of the people whose long tradition of homophobia disguised as religious beliefs are the very reason we don't vote for Republicans now.  Their presence in the GOP over the past 30 years has made it difficult for most moderate Republicans and financial conservatives to be themselves, finding that they had to "speak the language" of the "social conservatives" (aka "church folks") in order to get their votes.  Unfortunately, many of them go to bed at night with unsettled consciences at what they have been forced to say and do in order to convince the Theocrats to vote for them....especially what they have been forced to say in regards to the gay community and where they stand on the issues of import to us.

Fortunately, many of these moderate Republicans, like First Lady Laura Bush, her daughter Barbara Bush, and Meagan McCain, have been allowed to finally publicly disclose their support for gay marriage.  And what I have learned from the recent events concerning GOProud and CPAC is that there are many, many more Republicans just like them, who despise the Theocrats as much as you and I do.  (And just to be clear, I don't despise the Theocrats' religion....but their speech, their motivations, their methods, and their aspirations to turn America into a theocracy.  Our Constitution guarantees each citizen the right to belong to whatever religion it wants to, and to belong to no religion if we so choose.  As a Christian myself, I find it appalling that so many would want to violate the Constitution in order to install a theocracy under the guise of "Taking America Back For God."  They don't want to take America back for God....they want to take America back to THEMSELVES!)  As a Christian, and as an American, I have 4  words to share with them: 


When it comes to the Democrats and their betrayal of trust to the gay community, a lot of my conversations with fellow gays has been like trying to tell one of my gay friends that their boyfriend or spouse is cheating on them.  It's not easy or pleasant for me to tell them, and it's not easy or pleasant for them to hear it, but we both know it's true.  We have all had relationships that started off with red hot passion, hope, and idealistic dreams of an exciting and rewarding life with that one special someone, only to eventually come to a point where we recognize that remaining in that relationship is no longer in our best interest, and is in fact the very reason we are being held back from realizing our full potential in the first place. 

Right now in American politics, my sense is that the gay community is just beginning to realize that our current boyfriend or spouse is cheating on us.  We know it in our heart, but our head isn't ready to admit it, and our soul isn't ready to confront it.  But let me ask you, have any of you ever broken up with a cheater and find that you were disappointed with that decision?  Of course not!  Anyone who has gone through the process will tell you that while it may have been a difficult process to go through, it's a journey that ultimately took you to a better place; a place of strength, power, and self respect....and often on to even better relationships in the future.  I am at a point in my life that I TRULY believe that embracing GOProud (and abandoning the assumptions that only the Democrats are disposed to doing anything for the gay community) is a journey of discovery well worth the risk.  As I've asked before, what good did it do us to give the Democrats the Presidency and a majority in both Houses of Congress, if they aren't going to move on the issues they promised to?

While I may be a lone voice crying in the wilderness, I truly believe this journey will bring us to a destination that will ensure not only an exponential growth in our political power in BOTH parties for the gay community of today, but for the gays of tomorrow as well.  And isn't that why we're in this fight; to secure a better future for those who come after us, even if we never see the fruits of our labor in this lifetime?  We have to ask ourselves as a community, and as individuals, "What kind of political legacy will we leave the next generation of gay Americans?"  Will it be one of a party who pays us lip service and sits on its hands when given the power to act on our behalf, or will it be one of securing power in BOTH parties, that ultimately includes gay-supported elected officials in BOTH parties?

As anyone who reviews some of my previous articles regarding GOProud and their motivations for wanting to make inroads with the Republican party can see, the scales have begun to fall from my eyes to the point that at least I can more clearly make out why they believe the GOP truly does have the best interest of gays at heart.  Although the GOP platform appeals to them (and honestly myself) for different reasons than why the Democratic platform (continues) to appeal to me, it doesn't necessarily mean one must feel as if we are committing an act of treason by voting Republican in 2012.

As I alluded to in previous articles, when President Obama was campaigning, one of his platform items was to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Now that I have candidly shared my dismay at the Democratic Party's inaction on DOMA, especially during the past 2 years when Democrats had a majority in both Houses of Congress and the White House, I have to stop and realize that it's also important to not paint all Democrats with the same brush.

Specifically, I think it's important to note that it would be disingenuous and unfair of me to say "the Democrats" didn't even bring DOMA to the floor for consideration.  Many of us will recall that 3 brave souls actually did attempt to get the ball rolling.  By way of reviewing the history of the 111th Congress' efforts on DOMA, I refer to select quotes from an exhaustive article from Edge, published on September 14, 2009, entitled "Frank Will Not Support DOMA Repeal":
A Congressman from New York plans to sponsor a bill to undo one of the most damaging federal laws to gay and lesbian families, the 1996 "Defense of Marriage" Act, which legally consigns same-sex couples to strangers status even if they are married in one of the six states where full marriage equality is legal.

DOMA was passed as the first state to contemplate marriage equality, Hawaii, was making headlines in 1996, and spurring a panic that if marriage equality were to become legal in any one of the 50 states, the rest would be compelled to honor such marriages granted there under the U.S. Constitution’s "full faith and credit" clause.

But the measure also denies gay and lesbian families any recognition from the federal government, declaring that only heterosexual couples will be recognized as being married by federal law.

That means that married gays and lesbians do not have access to a plethora of rights at the federal level--taxes, inheritance, pensions--even if they are otherwise married at the state level.

The only way to reverse this is to repeal DOMA, which is what New York Congressman Jerry Nadler intends to do...
Two of the three openly gay members of the House of Representatives, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis, are on board with Nadler, but a surprising omission in support for the measure of Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who says that there are too many other pieces of legislation to try and get passed.

The Blade quoted Frank as saying, "It’s not anything that’s achievable in the near term."

Added Frank, "I think getting ENDA [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], a repeal of [the military ban on openly gay troops] ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and full domestic partner benefits for federal employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this Congress."

The Blade quoted Nadler as scoffing at Frank’s reservations, saying, "Mr. Frank knows better than anyone that our opponents will falsely claim that any DOMA repeal bill ’exports marriage’ in an effort to generate fear and misunderstanding.

"But the dishonest tactics of our opponents should not stop us from aggressively pushing to end this horrific discrimination now, as is the consensus of the nation’s top LGBT groups who all support this approach."

Still, the Blade reported, Congressman Frank viewed progress on the issue as more likely to come from the courts--specifically, a lawsuit against DOMA brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Frank called the suit "very thoughtful, very well done," and predicted, "That’s the way we’ll win this."

GLBT equality advocates see no reason not to pursue both options.  Crain's New York quoted the president of the Lambda independent Democrats, Mary Cooley, in a Sept. 11 article: said Cooley, "We’re obviously strongly supportive of the bill, and we’re very grateful that Congressman Nadler has introduced it."

The article also quoted Marriage Equality New York’s executive director, Ron Zacchi, who disagreed with Frank’s assessment of the bill’s chances, saying, "To have Congress repeal DOMA, I think, is very viable."

Zacchi pointed to comments like that of former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter is gay. Cheney had expressed support for gay and lesbian families, and for letting states decide the issue themselves.

Noted Zacci, "Both political parties have said that government on the federal level shouldn’t be involved in marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act is taking a stance on marriage [on the part of the federal government].

"Letting states decide for themselves is something both parties have said they support," added Zacci.
Obama is another question mark. As a candidate, Obama spoke out against DOMA. He also spoke out against the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops in uniform, only to do little to banish "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" once in the White House. Overall, GLBT equality groups have grown impatient with the president’s lack of action on gay issues.
As you can see, BOTH parties support leaving gay marriage issues to each state to decide, so for those in the gay community who have recently complained that GOProud's exact same stance is somehow not "gay friendly" enough to support GOProud, I would urge them to become reaquainted with the actual position of the Democratic Party, because admittedly, it seems the media has done a fairly good job of portraying Democrats as supporting gay marriage, and the Republicans opposing it, but as we see, that's not entirely true.  Further, as I have said before, if the US Supreme Court ultimately decides the fate of gay marriage in this country, why should GOProud waste one minute trying to defend it within the GOP when the party has already stated that it supports states' rights on it, including from ultra conservative Dick Cheney, whose daughter is also gay?

Others have questioned why GOProud helped foot the bill for a television ad campaign that called for Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbara Boxer to be involunarily relieved of their posts in Congress during the 2010 midterm elections.  Many gays have craftily stated that GOProud was anti-gay because they ran the ad against Barney Frank, (carefully omitting any mention of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer being in the ad as well).  But I ask my fellow gay Americans:  With the dismissive attitude of Congressman Frank regarding DOMA, and his lack of support on the bill that had the strong initial Congressional support of 91 other co-sponsors, why is it the gay community is keeping him in Congress?  Is it SOLELY because he's gay?"  I ask, because as we'll see, Congressman Frank may be gay, and may belong to the Democratic Party in order to secure the gay vote, but in actuality it would seem his record reflects him to govern more like a Republican, or an Independent.

For Congressman Frank to fail to carry the banner of DOMA's repeal even as a Democrat, a gay man, and purported friend to the gay community, it seems to me his inaction was indeed a treacherous act of cowardice betrayal of our community.  I can only assume it was an attempt on his part to maintain the gay community's sense of "needing" Congressman Frank's presence in the Congress, even if he does nothing for us toward gay issues, until AFTER those issues have already been settled. 

On the other hand, let us remember that GOProud is not the first group of gay people to align themselves with members of the Republican Party if it meant getting the work of the people done.  As explained in the wikipedia link "Barney Frank," even the Congressman himself has as well (which is a good thing, by the way):
During the subprime mortgage crisis, Frank was characterized as "a key deal-maker, an unlikely bridge between his party’s left-wing base and [...] free market conservatives" in the Bush administration.  Hank Paulson, the U.S. Treasury Secretary for the Bush administration, said he enjoyed Frank’s penchant for brokering deals, "he is looking to get things done and make a difference, he focuses on areas of agreement and tries to build on those."



So again, for those who believe that it's impossible for a gay Democrat to support any Republican platforms, or to be unable to adopt any Republican stances on issues of importance to the gay community, seems to me to be more of an issue of mindset and attitude created by a Democratic leaning media, rather than a grasp on the actually realities involved.

As an aside:  In doing the research for this article, I found that to be a revelation in regards to my own mindset and attitude as well, so I'm not trying to say "oh I knew it all along and those gays who didn't know are just stupid."  As I've said before, gay folks may be many things, but stupid is not one of them.  But now that I am aware, I have to admit that it's actually refreshing, and gives me an all new confidence in my support of what GOProud is trying to do, even as I continue to come to grips with how they are trying to get it done, (and honestly even as I continue to ponder if GOProud Chairman Chris R. Barron is the right man to interface with the media when sharing GOProud's positions with the American electorate, both gay and straight).

Ultimately, it's up to us to either be informed of the emerging new political realities facing the gay community, or stand to lose valuable (and rare) opportunities like the one GOProud presents us with even in its infancy.  If we are truly interested in having BOTH parties compete for our votes instead of BOTH parties assuming it will always go to Democrats, we simply cannot abort fledgling new attempts to advance the gay community further into a wider spectrum of the political process, by letting these golden opportunities simply slip through the cracks of our indifference, ignorance of their existence, hurt feelings, holding onto past grudges, or through conflicts of personalities with GOProud's leadership and the media.

As a strong voice in the Republican Party, Ann Coulter was invited to deliver remarks at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).  Following are select quotes from her speech from February 12, 2011, with commentary from me, which tends to support what I have shared thus far in this article:

ANN COULTER: "You know, we could REALLY use a little help from the Democrats when it mattered.  Not when it's been triumphed over." 
I would just say HERE! HERE!  Barney Frank's refusal to help bring DOMA to the floor was a huge disappointment to the entire LGBT community, but do you recall after the repeal of DADT how he suddenly came to the defense of gays showering with straights?  Just as Ann said, we could have REALLY used a little help from him when it mattered (like on DOMA), and not after an issue has been triumphed over like when the DADT repeal had already been secured by the time he came to the defense of gays and straights showering together. 

ANN COULTER:  "I was GOProud's first speaker, and by the way, I talked them into dropping the gay marriage plank." 
As I've mentioned several times in these articles, if gay marriage is going to be decided by the US Supreme Court anyway (which even Barney Frank said is how we'll win), why should GOProud spend anytime at all trying to convince Republicans to think any differently about it other than to leave it to the states?  As indicated previously, both parties have repeatedly stated that gay marriage should be decided by states.  Our highest ranking gay member in Congress says it will happen in the courts.  Why then do gays consider that GOProud isn't being "gay enough" if even the Democratic leaders (who are ALREADY elected, by the way) are saying the EXACT same thing that GOProud is?  I think it's a brilliant move on GOProud's part and I think it would be unwise to forsake the opportunity they bring to the gay community with the inroads they've already made within the Republican Party over this one single issue.

ANN Coulter: .... [Democrats] are using the gays.
That is the essence of this article isn't it?  Isn't using you what any cheating husband or boyfriend is doing?  Yes!  Is it the hardest thing to learn and accept?  Yes!  Are we better for it once we recognize the truth as it is and take steps to move beyond it?  Yes!  As hard as it may be to hear (and as hard as it may be to hear it from me, or Ann Coulter, or Chris R Barron), the fact remains that regardless of our delivery of the message, the message is true nonetheless, and the knee jerk recoil of the gay community is to be expected.  I just hope you won't let it paralyze you into a defensive position.  I hope that by sharing this message, it gets us all moving on the offense and in support of GOProud's efforts, even if we still never vote Republican.  There are many gay Republicans already, but we cannot demand equality for gays while denying our fellow gays the opportunity to explore the political party that best aligns with their own views.

However, I am suggesting that the Republican Party seems to be moving towards the middle as the Theocrats (aka Tea Party) has broken off, and that the GOP may just be transforming and reinventing itself into a Party that many of us find aligns with similarly held Democratic positions, or at the very least isn't the horrific exercise in homophobic hate speech so many of us have come to expect when the Theocrats had a firm grip on GOP leaders.

ANN COULTER:  Like many of you, I was always a friend of the gays and then liberals come along with some idea that no one's thought of for 1,000 years; gay marriage.  And I go to sleep one night being friend of the gays, and I wake up the next day; HOMOPHOBE!  NO!  You can't do that!  You just made up this gay marriage thing and it has nothing to do with them [liberals] liking gays.  They don't mind their little pals, the Islamic terrorists dropping walls on gays.  (STANDING OVATION FROM AUDIENCE).
While I would disagree that liberals "don't mind Islamic terrorists dropping walls on gays" (or any of the other atrocities that happen to gay people by primitive and unenlightened societies who kill or maim gays), I do appreciate Ann (and other Republicans at CPAC) for bringing this point out for our consideration.  The gay community is not just an American community, but we are an international community.  We are members of every nation, every city, every family, every political pursuasion (and oh yes! every religion too!)

The most disturbing international aspect I think the death of Uganda gay rights leader, David Kato has brought into the light, is the role that American Theocrats played in his death.  All Americans are beginning to make the connection between international state sponsored hate crimes against gays, and the role the Theocrats in America have played in exporting the brutality and evil mindsets to other countries.  Using their televanglistic empire's worldwide reach, they appear to be making attempts to expand  their empires not only here in America, but hope to secure worldwide domination, by misusing Scripture, tithes, influence, tax laws, bigotry, fear, and hate speech. 

We'll also recall the well reported delays of denouncement from Pastor Rick Warren, who had far flung ties to religious groups here in America, who have far flung ties to legislators in Uganda (and many other countries around the world) who sponsor, support and/or enforce the death penalty against gay people, simply for being who they are....and even as his denouncements included the words, "It's not my personal calling to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."

It would appear that if my theories are correct about the Theocrats in this country wanting to overthrow the government and install a Theocracy here in America, that their visions of conquest are actually visions of worldwide conquest, and not merely the conquest of America.

And why gays?  Because it's the easiest group to pick on.  Why the death penalty?  To instill fear and make an example of us that helps the Theocrats control other aspects of the lives of the people who are left after all the gays are killed off.  It's a religious holocaust being used to institutionalize worldwide domination under the name "Christian," just like Hitler, but not just in Germany, and not just the Jews.

ANN COULTER:  Look, I am as born again, evangelical Christian as they come, and I am friend of the gays.  The gay argument is, why do conservatives act like our sin is worse than any other sin?  Did none of you have premarital sex?  Did none of your children have premarital sex?  You don't have friends who had premarital sex?  All of you are tithing every year?  And no, of course not, so I think there is a little extra animosity directed toward gays.  But then the conservatives would say, okay fine, but we don't go to CPAC and have a group called Republicans Against Tithing.  Or Republicans for Premarital Sex.  And to that, I'd say, "yeah but it's different being gay, you have all of culture telling gays "you should be liberal."  Just like all of culture used to tell women "If you don't support abortion, you must hate women."  This is the Left trying to co-opt gays. 

So for now, I would like gays to just be part of conservatives the way women are, and blacks are without a special designation.  We don't need the special designation for it.  I would prefer that, but there is something to being gay apart from the sodomy.  That's what I want their new motto to be by the way, "Gays Without the Sodomy."  This is why I get along with gays, we like the same music, the same cocktails, often  the same men. 

There is a whole culture to it, and I both know gays who are chaste and I don't want to dis them by saying, "Oh forget about it!  Don't even try being chaste!  I know chaste gays.  I honor them.  God is saying to gays, what He said to Abraham:  Give up something you love for Me.  That's a tough cross to bear, and I admire gays who do it.  But I can't tell you that I'm without sin, as none of us are.  So that's the big point.  The Left is trying to co-opt gays, and I don't think we [conservatives] should let them.  They should be on our side.

We're for low taxes, we're against crime, we're against the terrorists who want to kill gays. 
Gays are natural conservatives.
Did anyone notice that Ann seems to be the first conservative to at least say

"gays are natural.....?"  THANK YOU, ANN!

Now, how do we rid the Republican Party of its homophobic speech and quell the attempts of worldwide domination by the Theocrats, while at the same time crafting a message that opens the (FRONT) door to the Big Tent wide enough to actually welcome gays to the GOP (and not simply tolerate our presence in an effort to extract money from us instead of the church?)  I'll offer some of my own suggestions by exploring some of the excerpts from Ann's CPAC speech that I *don't* agree with in the next article of this series:  "Purging the Theocrats" (February 19, 2011)


Brian Anthony Bowen
Member of the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community
Music Producer, "The Gemini Enterprise: Stellar Trance"
Blogger, "The Gemini Gayzette"
Author of upcoming new book, "The Bed Keeper:  A Biblical Case FOR Gay Marriage"


1 comment:

  1. Hey queeny, are you really that stupid.

    The GOP goes after the poor, the minorities and the LGBT community. They cannot help themselves it is the nature of conservatism.

    If you want faster progress then I suggest you get involved in the primaries. There is major opportunity this year to affect change by getting dems with more backbone in office.