By DeWayne Wickham
To defend their claim to a smidgen of space in the GOP’s ideological pup tent, the Log Cabin Republicans — a gay and lesbian group — is attacking Barack Obama for doing what Mitt Romney won’t: say he supports same-sex marriage.
Under other circumstances, the president’s statement might have moved the group to respond with high praise. Same-sex marriage is, after all, a top Log Cabin goal. But in this political silly season, rational behavior is the first casualty.
“That the president has chosen today to finally speak up for marriage equality is offensive and callous,” the organization said in a press release. Obama announced his position a day after North Carolina voters amended their state’s constitution to define marriage only as a union between one man and one woman.
While the GOP homosexuals were angered by the timing of the president’s announcement, they voiced no such rage over the position of Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, who opposes legal unions between gays or lesbians.
“Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman,” Romney said Saturday during a commencement address at Liberty University, an evangelical school that teaches that his faith —Mormonism — is a cult. By siding with evangelicals on gay marriage, he seeks to weaken such concerns.
Campaigning in Colorado a few days earlier, Romney told a Denver TV station: “I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage.” But even as Romney throws gays and lesbians under his campaign bus, the Log Cabin Republicans offered only a dithering response to Romney’s opposition to any form of legal status for gay couples.
“What we said is consistent with where we’ve been on Gov. Romney for some time,” R. Clarke Cooper, the Log Cabin Republicans executive director told me. Yes, consistently tepid.
The GOP didn’t always appear to be this insensitive to the interests of gays and lesbians. Twenty years ago, the Republican’s slide to the right seemed to slow just a bit when Mary Fisher, an HIV-positive former aide to President Gerald Ford, was allowed to address the Republican convention.
“I bear a message of challenge, not self-congratulation. I want your attention, not your applause,” Fisher said in a nationally televised speech. She asked the Republican Party to treat the victims of AIDS, which was then widely thought to be a gay disease, with compassion. “We cannot love justice and ignore prejudice,” she said.
Now, as the GOP’s presidential candidate tries to do just that, the Log Cabin Republicans lack the courage to forcefully challenge him. Instead, the group bashes Obama because it doesn’t like the timing of his support of their cause. In an offering of faint praise, Cooper said Obama’s announcement “is starting to make lawmakers on my side of the aisle who haven’t done so take a position” on gay marriage.
The Log Cabin Republicans are outcasts within the GOP. The marital equality they seek is opposed by Romney and many of the right-wingers whose votes he hopes will help him defeat Obama in November.
The Republican homosexual group seems bent on subjecting its members to an unyielding brand of political flagellation.
It is apparently willing to pay any price, bear any burden and endure any insult to maintain a toehold in the GOP ranks — a political obsession that is as oxymoronic as a black joining the Ku Klux Klan, or a Jew becoming a follower of Hamas.