Saturday, May 12, 2012

Even (some) Republicans get the equality message

Posted By on Sat, May 12, 2012 at 8:52 AM

OPERATORS STANDING By: Give us a call, Rep. Griffin.
  • OPERATORS STANDING BY: Give us a call, Rep. Griffin.
Still I wait by the phone for a call-back from U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's office on where he stands on marriage equality — or even civil unions with other legal protections for couples of the same sex, if not the "M" word.

Maybe, just maybe, Griffin's reluctance to immediately beat the old anti-gay drum is because he's privy to Republican insider polling and advice reported here by Andrew Sullivan. (And who wouldn't be privy to inside Republican strategy but Karl Rove's former camp follower?) It says the Republican Party risks marginalizing itself over time if it continues harsh anti-gay rhetoric.

This sentence alone from the memo is striking:

As people who promote personal responsibilities, family values, commitment and stability and emphasize freedom and limited government we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone.


Lots of interesting comment in the memo, along with this strategic advice:

Recommendation: A statement reflecting recent developments on this issue along the following lines:

“People who believe in equality under the law as a fundamental principle, as I do, will agree that this principle extends to gay and lesbian couples; gay and lesbian couples should not face discrimination and their relationship should be protected under the law. People who disagree on the fundamental nature of marriage can agree, at the same time, that gays and lesbians should receive essential rights and protections such as hospital visitation, adoption rights, and health and death benefits."

Problem is, the base of the Republican Party — Jerry Cox's army of fundamentalists, let's call them in Arkansas — doesn't want protection for gay people. They WANT to discriminate against them in work, life, on the school yard and otherwise. Thus they fight legislation even to protect children from bullying as an "infringement" on their religious freedom to persecute the different and the weak.

Nonetheless: I'm in the book Rep. Griffin. You do represent the most populous county in Arkansas, one of only two that, as long ago as 2008, wouldn't be stampeded by religious bigots into voting to prevent gay people from adopting children. One whose legislative delegation includes a lesbian. Even in 2004, before the opinion shift began and Arkansas was voting 3-1 to amend its constitution to ban gay marriage (and also approving it, if by about 10 points less, in Pulaski), the precinct in which Rep. Griffin votes, at the Heights Fire Station, was voting DOWN the amendment 392-285. Just saying, congressman. Don't you think it's time to get on board the Freedom Train with your neighbors?

Griffin's Heights neighbor Herb Rule, Democratic candidate for Griffin's seat, minced no words yesterday. Herb Rule, I might add, was front and center before the City Board advocating for homeless and other veterans while Tim Griffin was working against their interests and trying to torpedo a move to better quarters for a clinic serving them. Herb Rule also has supported Planned Parenthood and isn't one bit ashamed of supporting family planning, health screenings and other services for women. You won't find Tim Griffin on the women's health services train either. But if you have some weapon systems to sell the U.S. government, I bet you'd get a callback. He's on board with that spending, at the expense of the poor and hungry.

PS — Mitt Romney at Liberty University today threw some Falwellian meat on marriage to the crowd. The advice mentioned above didn't take in that setting.

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