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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 7, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 36
Self-respect and voting
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Self-respect and voting

Will the Log Cabin Republicans endorse the GOP Romney/Ryan presidential ticket?

by Mark Segal - Publisher, Philadelphia Gay News

I'm writing this just before my trip to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. For me, this is an emotional trip since I'll be joined by 12 other out LGBT delegates from Pennsylvania, and we'll be meeting up with more than 500 out delegates from other states. We'll also be voting on the most LGBT-inclusive platform ever endorsed by the Democratic Party.

My first DNC was in 1984, where there were 'some' Gay and Lesbian delegates. If memory serves me well, we had one meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Caucus: San Francisco's LGBT community sponsored a welcoming reception at a small restaurant, hosted by Valerie Harper and Judith Light. That year, the DNC's Gay and Lesbian platform read 'Gay Plank' under 'Chapter II: Justice, Dignity, Opportunity - Introduction.' It stated, 'Government has a special responsibility to those whom society has historically prevented from enjoying the benefits of full citizenship for reasons of race, religion, sex, age, national origin and ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, or disability.'

Twenty-eight years later, the changes have been dramatic, to say the least. Just read the proposed LGBT platform for this year and you'll note support for both marriage equality and nondiscrimination legislation.

Compare that with the Republican Party's platform this year (which literally has a plank that supports the Christian Right's anti-Gay missions to Africa). 'Marriage is between a man and woman,' the platform says, with nothing regarding nondiscrimination or anything else pro-civil rights. They're not even in 1984 - rather, they are stuck in the 1950s, the days of Father Knows Best.

If you have any self-respect at all, you know for whom you're voting.

There's a big guessing game in political circles right now: Will the Log Cabin Republicans hold their heads high or show a lack of self-respect by endorsing the Romney/Ryan ticket? And now that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has escaped the confines of the GOP right-wing base in Tampa, will he attempt to go to the middle or will he run a base campaign?

What's a base campaign, you ask? It's a campaign where you try to maximize voter turnout among your 'base,' i.e., those demographic groups that most strongly share your expressed worldview. The Republican base consists of conservatives (including the religious right), the managerial upper middle class, and working-class white men. (For Democrats, it's liberals, unionized workers, and minority groups.)

This is not the race Romney wanted to run, but he may have decided he has no other choice. Note how the Romney commercials have stooped to demonizing welfare and food stamp recipients, and also witness his 'birther' remark last week. Will he try to turn toward the middle after Tampa has faded? If so, he may find it's a tough turn to make.

This is an edited version of a column that first appeared in the Philadelphia Gay News. Award-winning commentator Mark Segal can be reached at mark@epgn.com.

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