Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thinking conservatives move away from anti-gay rhetoric

My Dad used to be a Republican. You know, the fiscally cautious small businessman type, who worked hard, behaved responsibly towards his employees, disliked taxes, and pretty much let people run their own lives in a vaguely libertarian way. Remember those? They got washed away by neo-Cons and theo-Cons and no longer see their values in the Republican Party. The earth may be warming but hell has clearly frozen over because Dad now votes Democrat.

BushCo cynically played the religious right and its social issues, with particular focus on the anti-gay card, and converted the minority view represented by the Evangelicals into political capital. (Though it behooves us to remember that DOMA and DADT were gifts from the Clinton Administration. Thanks for nothing, Bill.) But for good or bad, the semi-rational tea-party activists who now seem in the ascendant in the Republican party aren't particularly interested in social issues (except maybe in Texas--see yesterday's post).

And it seems, in a society where acceptance of gay relationships has risen to over 50% (here and here), and where the young OVERWHELMINGLY approve of GLBT relationships, the savvy conservative recognizes that an anti-gay attitude may end up being a liability.

Writing in the NY Times Charles Blow comments that more men than women now find gay relationships "morally acceptable", and the numbers have increased dramatically. Why?
1. The contact hypothesis. As more men openly acknowledge that they are gay, it becomes harder for men who are not gay to discriminate against them......
2. Men may be becoming more egalitarian in general. As Dr. Kimmel put it: “Men have gotten increasingly comfortable with the presence of, and relative equality of, ‘the other,’ and we’re becoming more accustomed to it. ....
And my personal favorite,
3. Virulent homophobes are increasingly being exposed for engaging in homosexuality. Think Ted Haggard,....or George Rekers....In fact, there is a growing body of research that supports the notion that homophobia in some men could be a reaction to their own homosexual impulses. Many heterosexual men see this, and they don’t want to be associated with it. It’s like being antigay is becoming the old gay. Not cool.
It's not really acceptance, then, but it's grudging tolerance. Still that's better than it was.

Now, combine this with the news that right-wingers Grover Norquist of the Club for Growth, and Margaret Hoover of Fox News, have joined the group GOProud, a gay, right-wing republican group that considers the Log Cabin Republicans too liberal.

"GOProud is an important part of the conservative movement," said Norquist. "I am proud to join GOProud's Board of Advisors and to help in advancing their common-sense conservative agenda of limited government, lower taxes and individual liberty."
Hmmmm. I think it's too soon to call it a sea-change, but it sure sounds like the social-issues conservative voters are being herded towards the back of the bus. About bloody time.

Of course, ol' Grover is getting some flak from the Usual Suspects, including the Family Research Council (that link is to Pam's House Blend, since I won't link to hate sites):
Grover is famous for saying he'll work with anyone who agrees with him "80 percent of the time." But it's been the social issues that he seems willing to sacrifice. His belief that we can have fiscal stability without moral decency is doomed to failure and only drives a deep wedge in a movement that was unified to bring change to Washington this fall.
Where's my popcorn?

Update: Norquist is unrepentant.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Better late.... Change of heart or opportunistic? Does it matter?

Erika Baker said...

Does the theory that increasing exposure to openly lgbt people melts prejudice not feature in this?