After President Obama came out for same-sex marriage yesterday, it didn’t take the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s oldest and most prominent group of gay Republicans, long to pile on him. They called the timing “offensive ” and “callous.”
But in a press release issued today titled “Campaigning Against Marriage Is a Losing Strategy,” the group admits (not in glowing terms exactly, but admits all the same) that President Obama was right not just in terms of principle, but in terms of smart politics. While pundits waste their time handwringing over black fallout which will never happen, the Log Cabin Republicans get about the business about the politics of the real word.
From their release, emphasis added:
In the wake of President Obama’s personal announcement in support of the freedom to marry, Republicans should recognize the changed political climate on the issue in favor of equality.
“Marriage equality has captured the nation’s attention, and the response to President Obama’s announcement is evidence of the tide turning in favor of equality for all. Log Cabin Republicans have long believed that supporting the freedom to marry is the right thing to do and the President’s joining this effort is in the nation’s best interest. That said, Americans can be certain that the President would not have made this decision at this time if it were not in his best political interests. In addition to energizing his base and distracting attention from a failed economic record, the trap is laid for any Republican who responds with intolerance,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. “Already some in the GOP are taking the bait with former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie bringing up the twice-failed Federal Marriage Amendment and the unfortunate vote on Representative Heulskamp’s (R-KS) amendment re-affirming DOMA last night. Democrats are eager to fundraise off of this issue. It is in the best interests of Republican candidates to be measured and disciplined in response, recognizing that a generational shift has occurred.”
“Governor Mitt Romney’s statement in opposition to not just marriage but civil unions jeopardizes his ability to win moderates, women and younger voters, especially as a large majority of Americans favor some form of relationship recognition for their LGBT friends and neighbors. Ultimately, the response of the Republican candidates this election cycle will determine not just endorsements by Log Cabin Republicans, but the votes of millions of Americans who are simply tired of the culture wars.”
Indeed, we can’t imagine Romney is too happy about this. Romney was Governor of Massachusetts in 2004 when same-sex marriage became legal there and, according to wikipedia, “Romney ordered town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses on May 17, 2004.” He totally over corrected yesterday, pivoting away from his beloved economic talk and not just distancing himself from gay marriage but from civil unions, as well.
As Joe Biden and even George W. Bush’s own 2004 re-election team knew, too many damn Americans have watched Will and Grace to think gay people don’t deserve some humane level of legal recognition. Will and Jack were powerful antidotes to the Book of Leviticus. Romney is going to turn a lot of people off if they think he’s being too draconian on this subject, which he already seems to be despite a more moderate record.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 10, 2012