Wednesday, August 15, 2007

News Flash: Some Republicans Actually Like Gays

A story that aired on National Public Radio's All Things Considered a few days ago, got me steamed.

The story was about the first-ever presidential candidate forum that was focused on issues affecting the gay community. Most of the Democratic candidates and none of the GOP candidates came to the event. Now, I think it is sad that some of the candidates like John McCain or Rudy Giuliani didn't bother to come and chat, but that was not what made me mad. What made me mad is that the reporter talked about how the Dems were so gay friendly, while the GOP was not, ignoring some obvious exceptions to the rule.

Now, I am not here to defend the GOP record on gay rights - I think it has been attrocious and has probably lost the GOP some votes that they will regret down the road. But I get tired of the mainstream media not focusing on those Republicans who do take stands for equality.

Recently, Log Cabin Republicans, the GLBT Republican group, held an event where several current and former GOP office holders spoke. Let's see what a few of them said, shall we?

Here is what Oregon Senator Gordon Smith said about pending hate-crime legislation:

Senator Gordon Smith, who is leading the fight in the U.S. Senate for hate crimes legislation, spoke about the importance of the bill. "We've got to stop talking about hate crimes [legislation] and pass it," he said. "This issue isn't going away and it's growing more important all the time."
And here is what Ohio Congresswomen Deb Price said about the Employee Nondiscrimination Act:

Congresswoman Deborah Pryce, chief Republican co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which will come before a vote in the U.S. House this summer, said the bill "is going to pass." She said, "To allow discrimination in the workplace is antithetical to what Republicans are as a Party." ENDA would expand current law banning workplace discrimination to include sexual orientation.
Now, you'd think a Republican co-sponsor to a bill friendly to gays would make news. Oh well. Here is what Flordia Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell:"

Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen highlighted the importance of ending the "Don't ask, Don't tell" law. "We've got to make sure the military has the personnel it needs." Ros-Lehtinen urged passage of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act so that thousands of gay and lesbian service members with valuable skills are able to serve openly and honestly. "America is suffering from a shortage of linguists," she told the Log Cabin crowd.
Hmmm, a Republican that is more concerned about terrorists than some guy holding another guys hand. Shocking!

(Oh, and here is another Republican that is pressing for an end to this ban.)

The fact is, there is a small, but strong body of Republicans who are standing up to the bigotry of the Religious Right, but it seems that for the most part, the media tends to ignore that.


I can only guess there is a certain amount of laziness among journalists, in that they create scripts for certain people or certain groups of people. Anyone that doesn't fit that script is ignored. I tend to believe the media has tagged Republicans as a bunch of backward Bible-thumpers and that is the story they stick with. I'm not saying there aren't people like that, but I think that since that is the group that yells the most, that is the one that gets the attention and sets the view of what a Republican is supposed to be.

I think that's sad. I'm not saying that the media should ignore the bigots, they need to shown for what they truly are. But when someone is taking a stand for justice, well, they should be noticed as well for their stand.

Sometimes, though, the media gets it right. There is an article about Rudy Giuliani that shows a man who took a stand:

As the Justice Department's number three official in 1982, Giuliani authorized the hiring of the first openly gay lawyer for a prosecutor post requiring a security clearance, according to records and interviews.

That precedent-setting but little-known action, combined with his successful push as mayor for domestic partnership and hate crime laws in New York, make Giuliani an anomaly: a front-runner for the GOP nomination who is a top champion of gay rights.
I'm thankful that Newsday was willing to write about this. I hope it shows that while there are Republicans who go after gays, there are others who truly live up to the spirit of Lincoln and strive for equality. I just wish the media would do more of these stories.

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