When the Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Mitt Romney this week, many LGBT voters may have found themselves scratching their heads. And for good reason. The national group purports to be the conservative voice for the LGBT community, but in throwing their support behind Mittens, they align themselves with other vehemently anti-gay organizations that have done the same.
While Romney may be speaking out of both sides of his mouth the closer we get to Nov. 6 (Obama is projected to get 253 electoral votes to Romney’s 191), he’s also the same guy who signed the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) pledge to stand against marriage equality if elected, which means supporting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would block the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage – even in states where it’s been legalized. It could also have a major impact on appointing Supreme Court justices, which should have gays and women shaking in their electoral booties.
Not only has Romney won support from anti-gay NOM, but he’s supported this hate group for years. And his running mate Paul Ryan (a guy who’s voted against gay adoption and other issues in his home state of Wisconsin) has really been making the rounds, promising leaders of arch-conservative Evangelical organizations (you know, the folks who believe in locking up gay kids and subjecting them to harsh “therapy” to “straighten” them out – a practice that’s already been outlawed in California and could become a law in Pennsylvania in hopes of protecting minors) that the Romney-Ryan administration would, indeed, be dedicated to turning back LGBT rights. No buts about it.
It’s interesting while Ryan has called LGBT issues “meaningless,” he’s also been spending the last few weeks courting these anti-gay conservative groups. How meaningless are they, Paul, when you would sit down with guys from NOM and Focus on Family to tout anti-gay views, like how gay marriage isn’t an “American value?” He really did say that.
Ryan also voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Matthew Shepard Act. And while he voted for ENDA, which prohibits employers from discriminating against someone for being gay, that’s where he and his presidential running mate part ways. Romney opposes ENDA. He’s also said that hospital visitation is a privilege, not a right. This administration could roll back the law that Obama put in place to ensure that no partner will be turned away from visiting a loved one in the hospital. This also goes for same-sex parents who have children in the hospital. Is it a privilege to visit them? The ticket that would make it harder for any parent to be with his or her child is not the party that stands up for family values. Simple as that.
How the Log Cabins could possibly endorse this agenda is mind boggling. Many gay Republicans argue that this election is all about the economy, stupid, which puts social issues into the back seat. But these “social issues” have enormous economic consequences that conservatives would just as soon have you forget.
Take gay marriage.
When a couple is unable to legally marry, they lack important rights that mean they pay more taxes and inheritance on estates. Couples who have been together as partners for decades stand to lose half of everything they built together when one passes away. And while there are loop holes for guys like Romney (hello, off-shore bank accounts) most ordinary folks are faced with harsh economic consequences when legislation on these so-called “social” issues fail to protect them.
Don’t believe Romney, Ryan and other smoke-and-mirror conservatives when they shrug all of this off, saying these issues are matters of state’s rights. What would you say to the candidate in 1960 who proclaims issues of Civil Rights and the end of segregation belonged in the hands of states and states alone? Would it be somehow “okay” to have a state like New York end segregation while Pennsylvania upholds it? Of course not. And the same goes for issues of marriage equality and other LGBT rights that were swept under the carpet during the presidential debates this season. But in reality, gay issues have just as much to do with the economy as healthcare and tax incentives. Marriage equality is a tax incentive.
That’s why I would challenge every LGBT voter to think about how not having the 100-plus rights afforded to straight voters impacts not only your everyday life – but also your wallet. The next time you pay more taxes because you and your partner are unmarried, think about it. When you risk losing your job for who you love, think about it. And when a friend says to you that, sure, they support gay rights but they’re going to vote for Romney because of “blah, blah, blah,” think about it. And remind them that when they support a candidate who is willing to stand for any American facing second class citizenship, they are doing the exact same thing.
And remind them that it could also have a major impact on the “social” issues that impact their wallets, too. Because like turning back gay rights, it’s just as easy for a Romney-Ryan administration to make it harder for women to afford healthcare and have access to birth control, and to make it harder for women to make the same money as men in the same jobs. Romney’s been conflicted over the Fair Pay Act since the beginning.
Suddenly, the social issues don’t feel so social anymore, do they? They add up. And they cost money.
This election isn’t about gay rights. It’s about human rights. And if you vote for a candidate who fails to protect all Americans from discrimination – even the LGBT ones – you’re essentially voting for it. Don’t believe me? Try posting this on Facebook today and see what reactions you get:
“A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote in favor of discrimination.”
You may surprised.