So, while I’ve been away in LA, at a certain book fair, the Grand Old Party has been continuing to build momentum toward a change, or at least a diversity of opinion, on the ever contentious issue of gay marriage. First, Ann Coulter’s highly anticipated and controversy causing appearance at HomoCon (for gay conservatives) was widely misrepresented in the liberal press as divisive. Looking for another perspective, I went to Coulter’s twitter feed to find out what she recommended as the real scoop, and found a link to the following article by Lisa De Pasquale of Human Events who reports:
“I was fortunate to be a guest of Coulter’s at a New York City cocktail party where she gave a short speech and did Q & A with GOProud, a group of conservative-minded gays. Unsurprisingly, Coulter stuck to her principles by defending traditional marriage between one man and one woman. They were completely charmed and loved every minute of the repartee. What’s a reporter to make of a crowded room of open-minded conservatives with Ann Coulter at the helm? Lie, of course!
Politico reported that there was “nervous laughter” when Coulter addressed the frequent argument that gay marriage is a civil right and akin to denying blacks their rights. Coulter pointed out, both with truth and in jest, “Gays have the highest income of any demographic group in America. Blacks must be looking at gay rights activists in bewilderment thinking, ‘Why couldn’t we be oppressed like that?’”
There was no “nervous laughter” except, perhaps, by a reporter unsure of the location of the 14th Amendment.
Toward the end of her speech, Coulter gave a reasoned argument for traditional marriage. She said, “The purpose of marriage isn’t for society to honor the strong feelings people have for one another, it’s solely and exclusively to provide children the best environment for developing into law-abiding, socialized, productive citizens—so they don’t end up on welfare or mugging us someday.”
There was no booing. No haughty retorts. No one left the room in a dramatic huff. Members of the audience were tolerant not because they’re gay, but because they’re conservatives.
Coulter also offered a proposition that was well-received by the event’s organizers and the crowd. After reminding the crowd of the devastation of single motherhood on children, she said, ‘Instead of promoting something that’s a terrible idea, that everyone hates and that I know you secretly don’t even want anyway, my proposal is that GOProud demand that heterosexuals start taking marriage seriously.’ “
Here’s the story: Reporters Freak as Ann Coulter Meets Gay GOPers
I think it’s true that in many respects, the conservatives I’ve interacted with SO FAR, and I admit these are not too many since really, I am only beginning this journey, but the ones I’ve interacted with are generally far more tolerant of viewpoints not entirely in agreement with their own. I can discuss choice or gay marriage with people who disagree with my perspective, and not be maligned as a woman hating, moronic, sexist, insane, or — (insert nasty insult of choice). The person I am speaking with does not appear to be about to explode or evaporate with anger. I learn a lot from many of these discussions, and I feel the other party might also, or I hope so. My experience with the (far) left is far more contentious and I add, far less respectful of disagreement. I’m not talking about you moderates out there! In any event, I am not surprised that Coulter went over well, after all I doubt that anyone thought she was going to go to HomoCon and pitch gay marriage, but her perspective and humor was valued nonetheless.
The GOP is grappling with gay marriage anew, as I’ve written recently. This is fascinating to watch and of course, I am hoping personally for a real change or an opening here. I think it will be a mixed bag, but I do see a change occurring. After all, the case for gay marriage can be made principally from the perspective of liberty and individual rights; when marriage stopped being about marrying girls off to the highest bidder, about property or status, when people decided to marry for love as much as for pragmatic concerns, gay marriage became inevitable. Some people, after all, fall in love with the same sex, and not – the opposite.
Another story on this strange and unexpected sea change from the GOP here by Matt Lewis:
“Other conservatives even went so far as to argue that supporting gay rights is inherently conservative.
“Conservatism and gay rights are actually natural allies,” said S.E. Cupp, conservative columnist and author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity.” “Conservatism rightly seeks to keep the government out of our private lives, and when you strip away the politics of pop culture, it’s this assertion of privacy and freedom that the gay rights movement is essentially making.”
This is how institutions evolve and emerge within a conservative culture,” says Jon Henke, a libertarian-leaning blogger. “In time, gay people will be married, extending the valuable social institution of marriage to more people. In time, conservatives will argue that the positive impact that marriage has on the gay community is further evidence of the importance of the institution of marriage.”
National Review’s Dan Foster believes the changing attitudes are largely generational, but added that “a central thread of conservatism, going back to Edmund Burke, is . . . gradualism.”
Change has come gradually, and it’s worth noting that Coulter’s decision to speak at HomoCon is merely the latest example of prominent conservatives (of all ages) lending, at least, tacit support to the cause of gay rights.
Conservative anti-tax activist Grover Norquist serves on the board of directors for GOProud, and RightWingNews, the blog site run by conservative blogger John Hawkins, has agreed to co-sponsor HomoCon.
Meanwhile, Ted Olson, the lawyer who represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore, the case that resolved the 2000 presidential election, recently worked to overturn Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California. Fox News host Glenn Beck recently said he thinks government should stay out of the gay marriage debate. And The Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson is speaking at an event hosted by the Log Cabin Republicans.”
From this article by Matt Lewis: Ann Coulter Applauded by Young Conservatives for ‘HomoCon’ Speech
And, where does the notorious and populist Tea Party stand on this? Of course, the Tea Parties are not actually unified political parties, but they are swinging libertarian. An amalgam of political impulses, ideas, and passions, they are a work in progress and represent discontent with big government and a huge deficit more than a veering toward pushing government mandated traditional values. That’s not to say that social conservatives are not well represented at the Tea Parties, because they are, but these same social conservatives also share libertarian free market principles and appear presently, more engaged with pushing back what they believe is the encroachment of nanny state socialism and big government spending. Here, the founder of Log Cabin Republicans gives his take on the Tea Parties and LGBT politics in an interview on NPR with Linda Wertheimer:
Mr. TAFEL: Well, it was a big experiment in the Republican Party for a decade over a decade, which was the fiscally conservative, less government, free market party was going to become the family value, social conservative party. And it sort of switched identities. And I think, actually, the rise of the Tea Party and the loss of moderates and independents has been a signal to the party that hey, there’s a lot of people out there who’s issues are fiscal issues, less government, possibly the military issues, and probably pretty libertarian on a lot of social issues. Those folks have been lost and now they’re coming back in different ways, they’re finding their way back. And I think the social issues folks have lost.
WERTHEIMER: So Glenn Beck says that gay marriage is not a threat to the country. Ann Coulter, who is a conservative political commentator.
Mr. TAFEL: Um-hum, um-hum.
WERTHEIMER: Speaks at a gay Republican event; Senator John Cornyn who is a Republican chairman of the Republican Campaign Committee in the Senate speaking at your fundraiser for the Log Cabin Republicans. It’s beginning to sound like you’ve won.
Mr. TAFEL: Well, we’re not there yet. I always felt like we were going to win because I spoke to so many young people in the ’90s.
And, no the GOP is not there as the recent “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” vote shows, but time will tell, and — I have a feeling that a lot will change simply because – as Tafel describes in this interview later, the culture itself has changed.
The interview is included here in an audio clip and the transcript:
As a heterosexual trans man, this is not actually even my fight. But, I am not foolish enough to believe that denying gay and lesbian people their right to create intimate partnerships is going to help make my rights any more secure. I understand that gay marriage represents a radical change, I won’t deny this, however, people universally have experienced many radical changes in the last few hundred years. Some have not worked out, and others are working just fine. The time has come to loosen the bonds that restrict people’s ability to choose who they marry or partner with . People are doing it any way, as Glenn Beck has pointed out, gay people are “marrying” for all intents and purposes. Marriage or at least, civil unions with the same rights as civil marriage, can only create more stability for society as it secures and strengthens the idea that people make commitments that have consequences and responsibilities, as well as privileges. I actually agree with Coulter when she said that gay people should try and make heterosexual marriage stronger, how about some no-fault divorce? Or, an automatic opt-in for such for couples with children. Of course people may be discouraged from having children, which would not necessarily be a good thing. So, I’m not sure about this issue people, but I do think we have to free people to create lasting partnerships, if they wish.
I just believe ultimately in individual liberty.