In light of Friday’s historic ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, I’ve been doing some thinking.
Over the last decade or so, I’ve been involved in trying to make the Grand Old Party a more inclusive party when it comes to sexual orientation. Over the years, I involved in various positions for the local chapter of Log Cabin Republicans here in Minnesota. I staffed the booth at the local gay pride festival, talked to state representatives and governors, all to help the GOP become a more tolerant place.
For the longest time, I felt it was my responsibility to make the GOP change. Now I think I was wrong. It wasn’t my job, or at least it wasn’t my job as a gay man alone.
No, the job actually belongs to all those straight Republicans who don’t have a problem with gay people, but for whatever reason, have stayed on the sidelines.
I started to come to this understand while talking with my liberal husband. In reflecting on the campaign to ban same sex marriage in Minnesota, Daniel noted that it was not “the gays” who saved the day. There are just not enough of us to make a dent. What did make the difference was the fact that straight Minnesotans stepped up and spoke out against the proposed amendment. In the end it was the straight people who were able to cause the amendment to fail.
The thing is, if the GOP is to change it’s not going to come from the scattered few gay conservatives and libertarians. There are not enough of us to make that big of dent. What will make the difference are the many people living in cities and suburbs that have gay relatives and want them to live their lives. You can even be a social conservative and think homosexuality is a sin, but still believe that gay Americans should be able to live free lives.
What I’ve known over the years is that there are a lot of good Republicans that have welcomed me personally as a gay man. I believe there are a number of good Republicans out there who want to see the party grow and be more inclusive. I also know that many of these people are considered big funders to the party. What I don’t see are those good people challenging the party leaders and candidates when they propose policies that hurt gay people.
Listen, it’s time for conservatism in the United States to not look like a bunch of backward kooks. I’ve done all I can, but now it’s time for you step up.
But what about the candidates? Yeah, what about them?
Yes, it’s nice to hear people like Lindsey Graham asking that the platform strike the desire for a constitutional ban on same sex marriage. But when push comes to shove, the candidates will be cautious. Why? Because the people who are active and are speaking up are the people who think this is an important issue. They will make sure that the candidates toe the line.
And what about hoping for some nice moderate candidate that is nice towards the gays? We had that in Jon Huntsman who ran an anemic campaign in 2012 and had no one really following him.
You see, it really comes down to you. You dear straight but friendly Republican are going to have to do this. You are going to have to demand things change. And I’m looking espeially at all of those Millenial Republicans. You all saw your so inclusive, so start putting your money where your mouth is.
I understand that it is scary, but frankly it is well past time for the Republican party to live in at least the 1990s. You know this.
If you have family members or friends who are gay, think of them and start speaking up. Start working for change in the party. Because I’ve done what I can.
And in the end, it is not all on me. At least not anymore.