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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 6, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 01
LGBT activists react to Iowa Republican caucuses
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LGBT activists react to Iowa Republican caucuses

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign:
'These men who have pledged to amend the constitution to ban marriage for Gay couples, keep the failed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, and oppose basic workplace protections for LGBT people, are not fit to lead. Their showings in Iowa last night only further draw a distinction between their plans to turn back the clock on equality and President Obama's demonstrated commitment to making the lives of LGBT people better.

'The anti-LGBT positions shared by these candidates will not serve them well in a general election. By a strong majority, Americans support equal treatment under the law which neither Romney or Santorum do. Governor Romney may have tried to seem like a moderate candidate on LGBT issues when in Massachusetts, but it's clear through the campaign he's run for President that he is no friend to LGBT Americans. Further, Senator Santorum is only exemplary in that no other candidate has made opposing basic rights for LGBT Americans such a guiding principle of his or her public life.'

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:
'In the repellent race to the bottom (no pun intended) it should be no surprise that Santorum did so well in the Iowa caucuses. Mitt Romney is in a major stall, and in a field of class clowns Rick Santorum stands out as particularly cartoonish. The two pieces of good news are this: first, Romney's chilly relationship with voters is not likely to thaw anytime soon, meaning that that the disarray and fumbling will continue for many months to come, to the great benefit of President Obama; second, Santorum won with just over 30K votes, which is about one third of the crowd at the San Francisco Folsom Street Fair. Santorum's win is not a referendum on who he is as a man (inhumane and ignorant), or who he is as a candidate (pandering and mean). It is simply the gasping statement of a thankfully dying breed of Americans - those who fear, loathe, or hate anyone different from themselves, who mistrust or reject the idea that government can and should be a force for good, and who detest even the slightest exposure to information or ideas that challenge their world view.'

Richard Socarides, White House special assistant to President Clinton:
'What the results say to me is that the far right has taken over the Republican Party. The most anti-Gay candidate, Rick Santorum, emerges with the only real momentum out of Iowa. Mitt Romney, still the likely nominee, remains completely unacceptable to any Gay person who's paying attention. Ron Paul is no better. While President Obama has not demonstrated the kind of emotional connection to our issues that we hoped for, on the merits he has delivered for us and now it is crucially important that we deliver for him. In doing so, we can build on the important gains we have made and save ourselves from the totally unacceptable alternatives.'

Jerame Davis, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats:
'The Iowa caucuses paint a sad and desperate picture of today's Republican Party. Mitt Romney has been running for president for five years and yet 75% of Iowa Republicans would like anyone but Romney to be their standard bearer. Last night, Iowa scraped the bottom of the barrel and came up with Rick Santorum - a dyed-in-the-wool culture warrior hell-bent on imposing his warped moral values on the rest of the nation - as their anti-Romney. Of all the clowns in the car, they picked the most virulently homophobic and least qualified of the lot.'

Troy Price, executive director of One Iowa, the state's LGBT advocacy group:
'This extremely close outcome shows that in spite of the millions of dollars and constant campaigning on the backs of loving, committed Gay and Lesbian couples in Iowa, the attempt by social conservatives to dominate the caucuses simply didn't work. Rather, this tie between Santorum and Romney shows the deep divisions that exist between social conservatives who want to harm loving and committed couples, and fiscal conservatives who prioritize job creation and smaller government. The debate over LGBT equality will continue in Iowa, and One Iowa and its allies will do everything possible to protect our rights and freedoms.'

David Mixner, human rights activist:
'In The Sound of Music, the nuns sing about the nun who doesn't quite fit into the convent [in the song] 'How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?' Well, the Republicans can be singing a similar tune today about Mitt Romney after the Iowa caucuses. The establishment favorite once again proves that after six years of campaigning he couldn't break 25%. In fact he received a few less votes than he did four years ago in Iowa.

'The spin that this year was a more competitive race is nonsense. After all four years ago there was Huckabee, Thompson, McCain, and Paul on the ballot. Hardly a less competitive race compared to this year's crop of candidates. In fact last night, 75% of Iowa voters signaled they rather have someone else than Romney who is a very well known character to the voters.'

Andrew Sullivan, blogger:
'[Santorum] does not believe that you have the right to adult, consensual sex in your own bedroom, if the government decides it's bad for society as a whole. That includes masturbation and contraception on exactly the same grounds as homosexual acts. All of them are sodomy and subject to government regulation. Santorum can say he is just referring to the role of the courts, not backing substantive legislation to criminalize private adult consensual sex. But it's clear he believes that such sex is a serious threat to civilization, and only prudential grounds should restrain the government's decision to enforce that morality. & Santorum's slogan is 'Faith, Family, Freedom.' But it is more accurately described as 'Faith, Family, and Freedom That Doesn't Violate the Tenets of Faith and Family as Defined by Santorum.'

Fred Karger, openly Gay GOP presidential candidate:
'After a long, long night, it appears to be a tie between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in Iowa. That said, it really is a huge loss for Romney. He and his campaign stupidly declared victory last week, only raising expectations. The fact that Gay-hater Rick Santorum nearly beat the Romney machine is pretty amazing. The reported $1 million that one of Santorum's backers - I'm guessing the National Organization for Marriage - paid Bob Vander Plaats' Family Leader organization for its endorsement must have helped. Santorum is also NOM's handpicked candidate for president. Scary.'

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director, Log Cabin Republicans:
'While there's no definitive winner in Iowa tonight, a long-term victory over Barack Obama will require a candidate who can unite and expand the Republican ranks. Of the candidates who participated in the Iowa caucuses, Romney was one of the best on issues affecting LGBT Americans. By contrast, Santorum rose by appealing to a uniquely socially conservative electorate. The divisive social issue politics that helped Santorum's campaign in Iowa will only hurt him in New Hampshire and beyond. We suggest all candidates reject Santorum's politics and focus on the issues that matter most to Americans: jobs and the economy.'

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