This truly is a tale of two conservatisms. In America, a core plank of the Republican party is fear and loathing of homosexuals, banning any civil rights for gay couples, persecuting gay servicemembers, and reiterating claims that children need to be protected from the gay menace. Republican intellectuals are intent on Biblical proscriptions of the alleged gay threat to the family, resurrecting the idea that psychotherapy can "cure" gays, and reviving natural law to ensure that gay couples are rendered second class citizens in their own constitution. In Britain this week, at the Conservative Party Conference, there will be a big event to celebrate gay inclusion:
The official Conservative event will be hosted by high-profile LGBT Conservatives Iain Dale, political blogger and shortlisted Parliamentary candidate for the safe Conservative seat of Bracknell and openly-Lesbian Vice Chair of the Party Margot James. It will include a live performance by singer Angie Brown and addresses by senior shadow cabinet members, Nick Herbert and Theresa May, as well as Stonewall’s Ben Summerskill.
There's a protest - by the left. Labour is terrified that the Tories have left previous bigotry behind and can now appeal to gay voters on the basis of their core ideas and arguments. And look at who's scheduled: Two openly gay future cabinet members and the openly gay vice-chair of the party. That's better than the Democrats.
Why the inclusion? Because conservatism should be about what it stands for, not the people it excludes. But not in America. Here, the base hatred only deepens; and the cowardice at the top endures.