I’ve made the point over and over again that gay marriage is an issue that Republicans should be leading on. At its most basic, and perhaps only legitimate, issue, the conversation is one of individual Liberty. That is the ability of one person to consciously and willingly decide who to live with, form a relationship with and enter into financial contracts with.
Any other considerations aside, this is a basic human dignity issue.
But this IS politics. And if we wanna be able to advance the case for Liberty and Libertarian based policy, we need to win elections. We need to support more like-minded folks and generate momentum and a movement. In other words, we need to generate good will that translates into votes. And by alienating a group of people who might otherwise be loyal conservatives, you fail in that mission.
But when you acknowledge that all people, regardless of personal persuasion, are entitled to Liberty, you can expect political support to follow and even be embraced:
ALBANY — Gay rights advocates from Wall Street to Hollywood poured donations into the coffers of four little-known Republican state senators after the lawmakers provided the decisive votes for same-sex marriage in New York last June, according to new campaign finance filings released on Tuesday.
The support for the four senators, whose votes broke ranks with their party, is seen by gay rights leaders as symbolically important for their movement nationally, because in many states same-sex marriage could become law only with support from Republicans, as well as conservative Democrats. Maryland, New Jersey and Washington State are expected to consider same-sex marriage legislation this year.
Now, to be sure, it’s possible that this money is flowing not because of some new found love for all things Republican, but it does show that when a group is no longer isolated and disqualified, that group at their supporters will be more willing to listen and support your cause. And in some cases, it may even jar them from their core issue:
Michael McKeon, a 48-year-old California insurance executive who describes his political stance as “just to the left of being far left,” said he had never supported a Republican in his life before hearing Mr. Grisanti’s speech on the Senate floor during the same-sex marriage debate.
“His speech was absolutely compelling, moving,” Mr. McKeon said by telephone from Los Angeles, where he has lived for 30 years after growing up in Lewiston, N.Y. After the same-sex-marriage bill passed, Mr. McKeon returned to Lewiston to marry his partner; while in the state, he met Mr. Grisanti, shook his hand and handed one of his aides a check for $200.
“If Mr. Grisanti were running for president, I’d vote for him, even though he’s Republican” said Mr. McKeon, a volunteer activist for gay rights. “He stood up for us.”
I’ve always thought many of the people who claim that they are Democrats aren’t really buying into the far left ideology that mainstream Democrats espouse. Rather, they have an issue or a cause that puts them at odds with Republicans. Remove that cause or disagreement and you might find you have a natural ally. An otherwise fiscal conservative is passionate about water/air pollution. She may never resonate with Republicans. Same conservative has a passion for welfare programs, again, she may never resonate with Republicans. But an otherwise conservative individual who happens to be gay finds that he cannot support a party that won’t acknowledge him as an individual.
This one is easy and it’s a win/win. Support Liberty AND get more voters.