The Log Cabin Republicans—the GOP’s most prominent pro-gay group—endorsed Mitt Romney for president this week.
They “qualified” this endorsement by writing that they believe the former governor has tacked to the right to satisfy the fundamentalist wing of their party. Qualification or not, the Log Cabin Republicans should have withheld their endorsement.
What is the basic implication here? And, actually, it’s not even implied. This is taken straight from their endorsement: “In our judgment, the pledge [against gay marriage] is ultimately merely symbolic and thus should not be the basis of a decision to withhold an endorsement from an otherwise qualified candidate, particularly given the gravity of the economic and national security issues currently at stake.”
If we don’t take our candidates for public office at their word, what use is campaigning?
Of course, this campaign cycle has been all but defined by the, uh, versatility of Romney’s policy positions. As Rachel Maddow pointed out during msnbc’s post-debate coverage on Monday night, the Republican nominee for president evidently adopted a new position on the Afghanistan War two weeks out from Election Day. I suppose it’s a possibility that a President Romney would endorse civil marriage equality for same-sex couples the day after he took office.
This is, in fewer words, what the Log Cabin Republicans are betting on with their endorsement of Romney. By making this endorsement, the Log Cabin Republicans are asserting that our politics have become, more or less, a collection of wink-and-nod promises, signatures, and speeches made with no greater intention than victory.
To be fair, there are plenty of reasons to think that the wink-and-nod approach was how President Obama addressed civil marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples until he finished “evolving,” but even during this phase, he made clear, on numerous occasions, that he opposed discrimination against LGBTQ people. For Romney to make such an assertion would be absurd on its face.
Further, Obama went out of his way to conduct outreach to LGBTQ individuals and groups and signed the anti-hate-crimes Matthew Shepard Act into law during his first year in office. Romney is the man who remarked to same-sex couples, while governor of Massachusetts, “I didn't know you had families.”
I know Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. He’s a smart guy who has served this country well on the field of battle. And there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of work to do when it comes to conservative outreach on LGBTQ rights. Civil marriage equality is only one of many, many issues that affect the community.
Their endorsement is entitled, “We Are Americans First,” but with this endorsement, the Log Cabin Republicans are supporting a candidate who (ostensibly) would not treat them as Americans but as second-class citizens.
They—and we—deserve better.