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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Curious Incident of Gay Rights at Election Time
Crœsos
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# 238

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U.S. election time, at least.

quote:
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

"The dog did nothing in the night-time."

"That was the curious incident,"
remarked Sherlock Holmes.

In the 2004 U.S. Presidential election George W. Bush used anti-gay sentiment to turn out his supporters, largely in the form of several state-level anti-same-sex marriage referenda. Along with the general muddled-ness of the Kerry campaign, this was one of the key factors propelling Bush II to a second term.

Now if someone had told me in early 2009, just after Barack Obama took office, that he would repeal the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, use his executive authority to force hospitals to allow same-sex partners the same visitation rights as married couples, and publicly state his support for marriage equality, I would have expected whoever his Republican rival in the 2012 election turned out to be would make it a big campaign theme.

And yet here we are less than a week from Election Day in the U.S. and gay rights is barely a blip in the Presidential campaign. Not only is Romney not plugging this issue, he seems to be avoiding comment on the four states holding same-sex marriage referenda. Granted that Maryland, Washington, Maine, and Minnesota aren't swing states by anyone's definition of the term, but even the usual "unaffiliated" public interest organizations aren't going after Obama very hard on this issue. Shouldn't there be some "independent" ads attacking him on "traditional family values" grounds? The only ad I've encountered along these lines was roundly panned as ineffective (and unintentionally hilarious) by most observers, left and right.

So if gay rights is "[t]he dog [that] did nothing in the night-time", is it because on a national level there just isn't that much opposition any more? That opposing equality at best is a break-even issue and at worst mobilizes more opposition than support? Two presidential election cycles seems like a remarkably short turn-around time for something like this, but it's the most plausible explanation I can come up with.

Thoughts?

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Alogon
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# 5513

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I agree-- although there are well-orchestrated local and state-wide campaigns against same-sex marriage wherever it is up for plebiscite, and against judges or legislators who have voted for it. The outcome probably depends on whether young people can be bothered to vote as reliably as old people. I'm not too optimistic this time around, but demographics are in its favor long-term. The opponents know that they can't roll back the tide nationwide, but they also know that they don't need to do so if they can keep trouncing the idea in localities where it is an issue.

I also have little doubt that opponents have a good stealth candidate in Romney. Just get him elected, and they can breath easy for at least the next Presidential term-- and longer than that depending on who gets onto the Supreme Court.

[ 01. November 2012, 17:39: Message edited by: Alogon ]

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Porridge
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I have been wondering about this. I live in a swing state where one gubernatorial candidate is likely, given the right set of legislators, to try to sign away our marriage-equality legislation, it's only tangential even to that race.

I am hopeful that, if elected, this candidate gets the wrong set of legislators (I will be one of them). The people I talk to seem to belong to two camps: Bible-thumpers who oppose marriage equality on grounds that have no place in governance, and people who go "Sheesh; why don't we all just mind our own bidness and live and let live?"

Unfortunately, my view may be deeply skewed; I live in a very Democratic area.

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hilaryg
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I am in one of the key swing states that is getting swamped with attention. I've seen one billboard advertisement that said something to the effect that "Obama is pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion, are you"? I haven't seen anything specific about gay rights issues on tv advertising, but I tend to skip over those anyway. I've heard the occasional "believes in family values" tag used as a descriptor for candidates in the more local elections, but no big deals made out of them.

The caveat to this is that as I'm not a US citizen I'm not eligible to vote in this election, so I'm not paying as much attention as I could be!

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Soror Magna
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From north of 49, it looks like SSM may have reached the same point politically (not legally) in the US as abortion in Canada. Every now and then, a Conservative backbencher will pop up with a private member's "human life" bill. This is automatically followed by a statement from PM Harper that the abortion issue will not be reopened, and Parliament disposes of the bill.

The political calculus is simple: any effort to restrict abortion will alienate more voters than it attracts. The Conservatives know they are skating on a very thin layer of trust on social issues and won't put the rest of their agenda at risk by trying to turn the clock back.

The Democrats don't have to advertise a liberal position on same-sex marriage. They just have to let the Republicans speak against it and look like bigots to more and more people.

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Niteowl

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Perhaps no official campaign, but on social networking sites the right wing Christians are pushing their opinion of what constitutes "Biblical voting" on abortion and gay rights issues. They've also taken to referring to welfare and other safety net programs as "wasteful spending with no return for the taxpayer".

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The Great Gumby

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quote:
Originally posted by Niteowl:
Perhaps no official campaign, but on social networking sites the right wing Christians are pushing their opinion of what constitutes "Biblical voting" on abortion and gay rights issues. They've also taken to referring to welfare and other safety net programs as "wasteful spending with no return for the taxpayer".

So the usual suspects haven't suddenly changed their minds, but they're just speaking their minds, not running a massive political campaign. Either the Romney strategists are asleep at the wheel or the political calculus doesn't make this sort of approach a viable strategy on a national basis.

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Horseman Bree
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This link may help ease your wonderment.

The TowleRoad (Pastor John McTernan) link in the article is a prime example of fixed focus giving laughable results, and the SMBC link is a hoot, giving a positive spin to the whole thing.

Who would have thought that The Mittster and Obama are both Gay Nazis?

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It's Not That Simple

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Crœsos
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From a related thread.

quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Last time around, three judges were kicked off the Iowa Supreme Court, because they had judged in favour of SSM. This time, the next judge who approved the issue was up for re-election, but retained his office.

Obviously, the issue is moving in one direction US-wide.

That lack of electoral consequences (or rather change of electoral consequences) speaks volumes.

One of the measures of how far the U.S. has moved on this were the things the Romney campaign didn't advocate. Romney didn't call for the re-criminalization of homosexuality. He didn't insist that gays should be fired for being gay, not even from jobs like teaching. (They'll recruit your kids!) He didn't oppose same-sex couples adopting children. He couldn't bring himself to call for the reinstatement of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". The most the campaign would do was send out Paul Ryan (the running mate usually gets the job of "going negative" on an issue) to say that while he regarded the repeal of DADT as a mistake, it wasn't a mistake that could be corrected by reinstating the policy. In short, regardless of what he believed privately (or how he would have actually governed if elected) Romney presented a public face of supporting the equal rights of homosexuals to just about everything except marriage, which seems to be the bastion of last resistance for social conservatives.

It should be noted that all of these positions (except opposing same-sex marriage) are at odds with the Republican Platform of 2004. That's a very long way in a very short time.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Porridge
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Which goes to show, maybe, that reg'lar Merkans are capable of noticing their own experience and comparing it to the bull-crap the Bible-thumpers are handing out.

Gay people got married. The world failed to end.
Gay people adopted kids. The kids failed to grow up into monsters.
Gay people hold jobs, pay taxes and -- oh, yeah. They VOTE.

[ 08. November 2012, 21:33: Message edited by: Porridge ]

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Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Olaf
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# 11804

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I'm sure it was a simple case of conservative fear that bigoted ads might energize more young voters to vote against them. They seem to blame young voters for Obama getting into office in 2008.
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Horseman Bree
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But the GOP always blames someone/thing else, because THEY ARE RIGHT so it must be someone else's fault. Nothing to do with their platform, their attitude, their organisation, their nut-cases, their racism, ... No, it was the unChristian blacks, the women who didn't listen to their husbands, the moochers, teh gays, the uneducated Hispanics,....

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It's Not That Simple

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Olaf:
I'm sure it was a simple case of conservative fear that bigoted ads might energize more young voters to vote against them. They seem to blame young voters for Obama getting into office in 2008.

It seems a reasonable fear, given how the four state referenda touching on same-sex marriage turned out in the 2012 election. What's so remarkable is that conservatives had no such fears in 2004, and that their lack of such fears then was apparently justified at the polls back then. That's more or less what I'm commenting on; the fact that such a change happened so rapidly.

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The Silent Acolyte

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# 1158

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Part of the answer to the opening poster's question is that it was the Mormon dog that did not bark.

Mormon dollars have been sluicing into anti-gay efforts starting all the way back to Hawai'i and up to Prop 8 in California.

This time, with theocratic visions of a Mormon chief executive, the Mormon dollars stayed in their anti-gay wallets so as to not queer the pitch for Romney.

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by The Silent Acolyte:
Part of the answer to the opening poster's question is that it was the Mormon dog that did not bark.

Mormon dollars have been sluicing into anti-gay efforts starting all the way back to Hawai'i and up to Prop 8 in California.

This time, with theocratic visions of a Mormon chief executive, the Mormon dollars stayed in their anti-gay wallets so as to not queer the pitch for Romney.

There's some thought that the Mormons were surprised at the large negative reaction to their efforts on Prop 8 and have pulled back for that reason. It's hard to tell, but we'll see if the anti-gay marriage stuff re-emerges as Romney fades into the background.

I still am betting that the Mormons are going to do a flip and go from not allowing same sex marriage to requireing it for gay and lesbian Mormons. They are a lot more flexible than some older churches.

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Net Spinster
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
There's some thought that the Mormons were surprised at the large negative reaction to their efforts on Prop 8 and have pulled back for that reason. It's hard to tell, but we'll see if the anti-gay marriage stuff re-emerges as Romney fades into the background.

They had a certain amount of negative reaction from their own people, and, I understand it caused at least a few to formalize leaving or cutting their tithing. There were Mormon groups marching in some gay pride parades this past summer.

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spinner of webs

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Spiffy
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quote:
Originally posted by Net Spinster:
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
There's some thought that the Mormons were surprised at the large negative reaction to their efforts on Prop 8 and have pulled back for that reason. It's hard to tell, but we'll see if the anti-gay marriage stuff re-emerges as Romney fades into the background.

They had a certain amount of negative reaction from their own people, and, I understand it caused at least a few to formalize leaving or cutting their tithing. There were Mormon groups marching in some gay pride parades this past summer.
Yep. The ones in our local parade were carrying signs that said, "Sorry we're late".

As a queer coming of age in the United States over the last 30 years, I really don't think it's as sudden as the news media seems to want to make it. It definitely has reached a tipping point where the majority of people support gay rights. But when the mainstream media is run almost exclusively by cisgendered heterosexual wealthy white men, a lot of voices get drowned out.

Thank God for the Internet, where anyone with a keyboard has a voice and a platform.

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Palimpsest
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A brief tangent.
In my universe, in my city, as a result of the election victory we had the first round of gay marriages promptly at midnight of the first possible day.
Same Sex Marriage

The first couple were a couple in their eighties and seventies who had been together for 35 years.
There were no protesters present as far as I know.
It's worth taking a moment to celebrate the prize.

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Crœsos
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Just came across a mention of something and thought to myself "has it really only been a year*?" At the time it was widely debated if Biden's comments endorsing the legalization of same-sex marriage were a pure gaffe (a politician accidentally telling the truth), a deliberate attempt to shift the Obama administration's policy, or a trial balloon to see if the administration could push harder on the issue. It's only three hundred sixty-five days later and already the idea of Democratic politicians endorsing gay marriage has gone from avant garde to passé. Now we're only impressed when Republicans do it. That was remarkably quick.


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*The New York Times has a ridiculous paywall that only allows non-subscribers to view ten articles per calendar month. Only click through if you're a subscriber or you're willing to spend one of your ten monthly NYT passes to read a year-old article about Joe Biden.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Palimpsest
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Crœsos:
[QB] Just came across a mention of something and thought to myself "has it really only been a year*?" At the time it was widely debated if Biden's comments endorsing the legalization of same-sex marriage were a pure gaffe (a politician accidentally telling the truth), a deliberate attempt to shift the Obama administration's policy, or a trial balloon to see if the administration could push harder on the issue. It's only three hundred sixty-five days later and already the idea of Democratic politicians endorsing gay marriage has gone from avant garde to passé. Now we're only impressed when Republicans do it. That was remarkably quick.


Perhaps that was an opening move in the campaign for the next presidential nomination; Biden v Clinton.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
Perhaps that was an opening move in the campaign for the next presidential nomination; Biden v Clinton.

Doubtful. Even the most ambitious politician usually takes it one election at a time. I'm pretty sure that even if he took into consideration how the move would look in 2016, Biden was much more concerned with how it would look in 2012.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
That was remarkably quick.

I think that what it really comes down to is this:

While you can spend an eternity fearing the sky will fall in after you act, once you have acted there are only a certain number of times you can wake up in the morning and find it remarkable that the sky hasn't fallen in yet.

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Crœsos
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Bumping this thread to comment on the same dynamic playing out in the 2016 Republican primary.

It seems Marco Rubio had a less than successful discussion with a gay New Hampshirite recently*.

quote:
A middle-aged gay man confronted Senator Marco Rubio here on Monday over his opposition to same-sex marriage, pointedly asking, “Why do you want to put me back in the closet?”

“I don’t,” Mr. Rubio replied. “You can live any way you want.”

<snip>

The voter, who identified himself as Timothy Kierstead, was seated at a table with his mother and his husband when Mr. Rubio walked up behind him, according to pool reports of the encounter. During a brief conversation, Mr. Kierstead, 50, told Mr. Rubio that he was married but complained that the senator’s position amounted to him declaring that “we don’t matter.”

Mr. Rubio, who was standing with his youngest son, Dominick, 8, by his side, gently disagreed. “No, I just believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

“Well,” replied Mr. Kierstead, “that’s your belief.”

Mr. Rubio continued: “I think that’s what the law should be. And if you don’t agree you should have the law changed by a legislature.”

If Mr. Rubio is any indication the Republican position hasn't changed substantially since 2012. He thinks Mr. Kierstead (and others like him) should be able to "live any way [he] want[s]". Unless, of course, Mr. Kierstead and his husband want the same legal arrangements and protections the state affords to Marco and Jeanette Rubio. That would be going too far. Still, it's remarkable to note how much of a change "[y]ou can live any way you want" (with noted caveats) is from where the Republican party was in 2004.


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*The New York Times has a ridiculous paywall that only allows non-subscribers to view ten articles per calendar month. Only click through if you're a subscriber or you're willing to spend one of your ten monthly NYT passes to read article about Marco Rubio failing to impress a New Hampshire voter.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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lilBuddha
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As shocking as trodding on bear crap in a forest.
Republicans aren't known for change.
I wonder if this is a milquetoast attempt at a Trump-style comment?

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