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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope


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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gay Republicans & the US election

Richard Grennell, the openly gay Republican who recently quit as Mitt Romney's foreign policy advisor amid a storm of criticism from the religious right, has re-affirmed his support for the GOP in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required). He makes an important point about the role of gay conservatives in politics:
Anti-gay extremists not only dismiss a plethora of serious issues confronting America and the world, but they fail to recognize the consistency of living by the conservative ideal of limiting government involvement in our lives.
The claim that gays should be barred from conservative activism is not only bigoted but is a bipartisan view. The intolerant assault comes from the far right, who object to Republicans who are gay, and the far left, who object to gays being Republicans. When the extremists on both sides are the only ones speaking up, the majority suffers.
…Thousands of Republicans privately voiced support for my appointment and were disappointed by the events that led to my resignation earlier this month. Some did so while admitting they disagreed with my support for gay marriage. But they too are passionate about a strong America, personal responsibility and independent religious institutions—issues that should be at the forefront of this year’s presidential election.
…While there are many reasons not to vote to re-elect President Obama, gay marriage is not one of those issues. …
Well said. The Canadian conservative movement has largely moved on from the gay marriage issue, and religious opposition to homosexuality from the social conservative wing of the Conservative Party of Canada has mostly been sidelined. This is as it should be; morality issues like this are private matters to be worked out in families and churches, not in Parliament. There are many things that unite us as conservatives and can be the basis of a platform that has broad political appeal: fiscal discipline, individual responsibility, the rule of law, and support for human rights and democracy abroad to name a few. As I've said before many times, making morality issues the subject of public policy debate is a political dead end, and only alienates so called "moderates" who are our natural allies.

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