A Republican Refugee
A reader writes:
I think you left out an important clause in your statement today about the gay rights movement pre-Stonewall. Perhaps it would be most complete if you had said: "...there was a vital gay rights movement not coopted by the far left or by the Democratic Party fundraising machine, and one not yet driven by torch and pickfork from the ranks of Republicans."
I don't pretend to believe that the Republican party ever welcomed or even exhibited ambivalence toward gays and lesbians being among them. However, from my experience, I believe many more gay Americans today would be Republican if the party were not antagonistic toward them and returned to its core conservative philosophy (as opposed to the religious dogma it follow currently). I likely would, if Republicans made effort to earn my trust.
There are so many reasons why gay people might vote Republican if the GOP were a conservative party and not a religious one. Small government, individual freedom, low taxes, strong defense: these are values shared by many gay Americans. Personal responsibility is also one of them. When I think of a gay person who lives responsibly, saves his or her money, goes to church, contributes to charity and settles down in a stable relationship, I think: conservative. When such a couple wants to get married, I think: conservative. When such a person decides to serve his country in the military, I think: conservative. But the new Republican base sees all this and thinks: evil. It didn't have to end this way. But it has. The GOP won a couple of elections with the help of it. They have won a generation's contempt as well.