What Does Iowa Really Mean?
Mitt Romney may have inched Rick Santorum out of first place in Iowa yesterday, but coming in a close second (with a mere eight-vote difference) should have LGBT folks around the country a little (okay, make that a lot) worried. Because for a candidate who has made a name for himself in this race as the conservative Catholic with a very anti-gay platform, it’s starting to look like being against LGBT rights is a successful recipe for wooing right-wing Republican voters. In Iowa, anyway.
And that’s, well, kinda weird. Especially if you consider how many polls show how far Americans (and Catholics, even) have come in not only embracing the notion of same-sex marriage, but also basic civil rights. But we must consider the way many of these candidates (especially Santorum) have perverted the idea of “family values” to mean only one, very narrow definition of family. For same-sex couples raising children in America, using this as a campaign ploy is not only disingenuous, but also inflammatory. Looking back, we heard much the same rhetoric spewed about civil rights for blacks – and women. And, sure, while history likely won’t be very kind to the candidates who have gone on the record this year to say that LGBT people are somehow lesser citizens, we have a lot of work to do today.
Don’t let how much Romney spent on his campaign so far compared to what Santorum barely has in his coffer (he’s outspending even the super PACs) fool anybody. Pundits may be saying that Santorum doesn’t have enough beans to compete against Romney and the other GOP frontrunners in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida (where chads go a-dangling), let’s not underestimate the power of this win for the former PA senator who could attract much more attention and dollars now that he’s proven that at least some voters believe in his deeply hateful message.
Santorum’s already netted a cool million from the National Organization for Marriage (with its track record against LGBT people that many say qualifies it as a veritable hate group). Sadly, there’s more where NOM comes from.
A lot of liberals and gay people are complaining right now about Obama not doing enough for the community. But there’s a big difference between doing enough and completely outlawing every glimmer of hopeful legislation that the LGBT community and its allies have been working so hard to attain – which is exactly what candidates like Santorum and Romney would like to do (they both signed pledges saying they would repeal same-sex marriage on the federal level, not to mention other rights afforded to LGBTs and women). Santorum even goes so far to endorse reparative therapy and has recently accused gay people of being unwilling to consider a heterosexual lifestyle.
Obama may not be perfect (who is?) but when it’s time for Pennsylvania to head to the polls – ask yourself this: Am I willing to tell Obama exactly what I think by not voting for him…if it means electing a guy like Rick Santorum?