gay marriage

A Conservative View on Same-Sex Marriage, part one

There are only a handful of political blogs that I care to frequent.  One of these is a site run by what I would call "movement libertarians."  There was a discussion of secular opposition to gay marriage.  Subsequently, the comment thread drew a lot of attention from supporters of gay marriage with the same old overblown hyper-emotional arguments.  This post is something of a lengthy comment to that thread.

First, I don't believe that gay marriage is a good idea, and that supporting it would be, from a policy perspective, a very poor choice.  And the reasoning behind this is strictly secular.  On the other hand, I also believe that it's inevitable, that it's part of a broader shift in our culture, and it's bound to happen anyway at one point or another.

I am really turned off by the assertion that same-sex marriage is some sort of civil rights struggle.  There was never a time when gays were obliged to sit at the back of a bus.  There were never special water fountains set up for gays so they would stay away from the 'straights only' water.  That sort of thing never happened.

Back in the days of the wagon trains, riding along in their wagon-- what was the status of gays at that time?  Well, you have these two fellows who ride in this one conestoga by themselves-- they don't have any other family with them.  They decorated their wagon a bit fancy, but it adds a bit of pizzazz to the whole wagon train-- and they haven't been attacked by Indians yet (maybe they haven't yet because they don't know what to think of that fancy wagon!).  And that one fellow can cook pretty good-- mighty tasty, whatever it was.

Everything's good.  As long as they circle up when it's time to circle up and head out when it's time to head out, everything is good.

But then, late one evening, sitting around the campfire, the one fellow decides he wants to hold the other fellow's hand just sitting right there.  How's that going to go over?

Now, claims that one's own marriage is or is not stronger / better off / sprinkled with chocolate chips due to allowing / disallowing same-sex marriage amount to anecdotal evidence, and should be discounted wholesale.  Individual results are rightfully expected to be many and diverse, and evidence of their diversity substantiates this.

The claims of the need for validation and against alienation are over-wrought inanities which amount to nothing more than narcissism, and should be easily discounted.  Just because no one gave you a lollipop doesn't mean that you just got a spanking-- but they want to cry about it just the same.

What is at issue is the right of the state to administer administrative law, such as the professional requirements for architects, nurses, real estate agents and used car salesmen, training minimums for paramedics, etc.  It's the same type of regulation.

My opposition is founded on the function of society as an organic construct.  Because of this, there is no one 'right and wrong,' but many different 'rights and wrongs;' whether a particular thing is right or wrong depends as much on its place as anything else.  And so, our inquiry is naturally limited in scope.

It is apparent to me, and I want the reader to realize at this point, that, although the Left would like to claim the mantle of strength in diversity and the champion of civil rights, it is truly the conservative view which values the diversity of society, and in more meaningful terms.

Each one of these arguments that they raise to support the idea of same-sex marriage-- equality of rights, emotional suffering / alienation, anecdotal outcomes-- adheres to one core set of values that does not allow for any other.  At its base is the Europeanization of American culture as an ideal, and for all their railing against colonialism, this is simply another form of colonialism.  Although they would like you to believe that they really care about immigrants and want them to maintain separation by language, they want even more for every one of these Asians or Latinos or Africans to relinquish their heritage, traditions, culture, and morality, and trade them in for the sanitized, approved, white-faced Western European ideals-- which at some point has degenerated from Enlightenment to Rationalization.  For them, there is no room for any other standard, any other model, or belief.  Once again, we are confronted by ideologues who adhere blindly, unfailingly, and unquestioningly to their ideal of the supremacy of late Western European rationalism.  If you look at their arguments, you can check each one for positive materialism, and each one follows the standard.

I came to a realization the other day watching my kitten play with a grasshopper that she caught.  She brought it into the living room and was sitting there playing with it.  It occurred to me that this is one of the fundamental differences in the way that dogs & cats organize into societies.  Cats are solitary hunters.  They hunt alone, make the kill, and bring it back.  Dogs hunt in a pack.  They go out together to make the kill, and so there's no issue of bringing it back.  Humans use both methods, though they tend to follow that cat method more closely.  There is no one 'right' and one 'wrong,' but many different 'rights and wrongs.'

At the same time, their form of society is structured to accommodate this.  Dogs have a very structured, strict hierarchal view.  They're always looking to eat you.  They always know who the top dog is, and they're always waiting for the power dynamics in the pack to shift to where they are the strongest one.  Cats do not have this hierarchical structure, but assert themselves at various times.  Again, humans follow both models, but tend to be more cat-like than dog-like in this regard.

This illustrates the competitive and the cooperative relationship, and the interplay between them.  Cats are competitive (solitary hunting) toward a cooperative end (bringing back the catch), while dogs are cooperative (pack hunting) toward a competitive end (the pecking order of the pack).  Again, humans follow both models, and it depends on how big of group of them you want to look at as to which model will be more prevalent.

From a conservative view, cats are more representative of a family, an estate, a household, in that the members exhibit various roles or functions toward a common end.  Similarly, dogs are more representative of the manner in which business is conducted and the various entities engage in activities outside of their immediate family.

As I noted earlier, my opposition to same-sex marriage is based on the idea of society being organic in nature.  That is, society is not strictly rational in its makeup or its activities.  Yet these structures were formed to accommodate specific needs, and those needs remain valid.  We know that those needs continue to be valid, because other aspects of society have altered or disappeared.  An organic society is a vibrant, lively, ever-shifting place.  Apart from the rationalized ideals of Western Europe and the dry, bland homogeneity that it engenders and hallows, an organic society is full of diversity and meaning.

This is running a bit long.  I'm going to close this as Part One.

Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

It is one thing to judge, and another to excuse. The Manhattan Declaration does neither. I found this to be a rather profound statement by a large number of Christian leaders taking a stand for the foundations of civilization, the family, and the sanctity of human life. People of faith have to work together to preserve and protect the fundamental principles of morality from those who seek to destroy them. This declaration brings together numerous Catholic bishops, Orthodox clergy, and Evangelical leaders and as an evangelical Christian I will gladly partner with other types of Christians on the common concepts that form the backbone of Christianity.


Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

1.        the sanctity of human life

2.        the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife

3.        the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.                                                                                              

Even now the whispers of “hate speech,” “ignorance,” “bigotry,” “intolerance,” and “insensitivity” await those who now champion the sanctity of life or who fail to cheerlead homosexuality and sexual deviancy. Some have even gone so far as to label the Manhattan Declaration “hateful” or a call for civil disobedience. They are wrong. If anything, it is in fact a rather benign, formal declaration of what a great many believe. It is also a clear warning shot across the bow of the U.S.S. liberal agenda that Christians will not compromise their fundamental religious beliefs no matter what the state may attempt to dictate.

Those who seek to mock, disparage, and even persecute those who fail to march lockstep with the agenda of secular humanism need to understand that a line has been drawn in the sand and a wide spectrum of the Christian community is joining together in a common cause to proclaim God’s truth, as they understand it, as outlined in the Bible. These are clear cut and unambiguous issues for Bible-believing people of faith and compromise is not an option when it comes to these basic principles.

The suspension of judgment and the concept that there is no true right or wrong is a devious lie and one that often fools even otherwise educated and intelligent people. If you are willing to suspend judgment and the concept of right and wrong, then you will eventually accept anything. The “if-it-feels-good-do-it” mindset produces only heartache and disaster in the end. It is the wise man who rejects such childlike idiocy and expects adults to think and act like adults. With maturity should come responsibility, self-restraint, discernment, and wisdom. It stands in stark contrast to an ideology of dependency, irresponsibility, the inability to practice self-restraint and accept the consequences of one’s actions, and the continued childlike dependency on others to fix one’s own mistakes.

Popular culture may sneer at such ideas as morals and values, sexual restraint, and personal responsibility, at patriotism and good citizenship, and at honesty, decency, and respect. Those are the failings of secularists and liberals. They should not be of Christians and conservatives. Part and parcel of both Christianity and conservatism is the simple concept that actions have consequences. The concept of the prohibition of sin was not to somehow squash your “fun” but to warn one about the repercussions of certain actions. It was to protect us, not to be “mean” to us.

There may come a time when a declaration like this is labeled “hate speech” or contrary to the public good and banned from dissemination. One may think that is far-fetched but we currently stand at the edge of the abyss when it comes to thought-control, censorship, and even the persecution of those that don’t march lock step with the powers-that-be and the dictates of a corrupt, popular culture.

As our society and culture embraces decadence and earnestly seeks to fulfill the Prophet Isaiah’s warning that “good shall be called evil, and evil good” it is increasingly important for people of faith to stand up and be counted. It is time to draw a stark distinction between those who have sold out to situational morality and don’t believe in right or wrong, only “different.” Eleven of the twelve disciples achieved martyrdom by refusing to heed those who sought to silence them. It is incumbent upon Christians to stand up for what is right, no matter the cost. It is an essential element of the faith, and at the core of the teachings of Christ. To not call sin “sin” is to be dishonest and contrary to the teachings of the gospels.

The last paragraph of the Declaration reads:

 ”Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”

There is something noble and honorable about standing for truth, as uncomfortable or inconvenient that may be for some on occasion. You can join the over 300,000 people of faith who have followed the example and lead of the initial 170 leaders of the Christian community who presented the world with the Manhattan Declaration. Dare to take a stand. Join what has gone far beyond a mere statement in defense of faith and principle, and is now becoming a movement of people of conscience taking a stand for the whole world to see.

Start the New Year by recommitting yourself to what is right and true. The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience can be read in its entirity at I signed this powerful declaration and so should you. I like the spectrum and caliber of the signers and am proud to join my smallest of voices with theirs.The goal is for one million Christians to sign the declaration. Will you join me in doing so?

For more information on the thinking behind the Manhattan Declaration I would suggest the article by Dr. Timothy George, Dean of the Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, senior editor of Christianity Today, and one of the original architects of The Manhattan Declaration: The Manhattan Declaration:  A Growing, Grassroots Movement of the Spirit (

CPAC 2010: The GOProud Controversy

A couple weeks ago, the American Family Association protested CPAC's inclusion of GOProud - a gay conservative group - as a CPAC 2010 sponsor.  They may say they don't hate homosexuals, but the AFA rhetoric makes it pretty clear that they don't want gay people around.

A spokesman for the American Family Association says a Republican homosexual activist group doesn't belong at a popular conservative political conference in February. ... "The bottom line is that homosexuality is not a conservative value," Fischer states emphatically.

Unsurprisingly, WorldNetDaily is leaping to participate in the bigotry, saying that "A viral alarm [is] spreading among conservatives that the American Conservative Union is accepting homosexual sponsorship for its annual Conservative Political Action Conference..." and adding "Campaign launched to reject support from homosexuals".  AFA Action is demanding other conservative organizations oppose GOProud participation at CPAC, saying "groups that promote the normalization of homosexual behavior should be resisted without reserve or compromise by any genuinely conservative organization."

Know how you can tell this is more about bigotry against gays themselves than principled opposition to any support for gay marriage?

  • Dick Cheney is pro-gay marriage and opposed to federal marriage amendment....just like GOProud.  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when he spoke at CPAC.  You can't.
  • Ron Paul is opposed to a federal marriage amendment (he voted against DoMA) or a Constitutional ban on gay marriage...just like GOProud.  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when he spoke at CPAC.  You can't.
  • The Libertarian Party opposes government restrictions prohibiting gay marriage (they opposed DoMA and support "marriage equality").  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the LP co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.
  • Google supports gay marriage (they opposed Proposition 8 in 2008).  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the Google co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.
  • UPDATE: The Log Cabin Republicans, who support gay marriage, sponsored CPAC in 2005. Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the the Log Cabin Republicans co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.

American Family Association and WorldNetDaily are not defending traditional marriage or conservative principles. They're just being bigots.

I've made my case regarding gay marriage in the past, and I'll line up with Ed Morrissey of Hot Air on this story.  Commending CPAC's courage in accepting and defending GOProud's co-sponsorship, Morrissey writes that "GOProud’s priorities are fundamentally in line with [our key principles].  We should not allow a purity campaign to push away natural allies on the fiscal crisis that grips our country, and the opportunity we have to correct it in 2010."

I hope a CPAC speaker will address this matter and express support for GOProud...or even make the case for gay marriage.  I'm looking at you, Andrew Breitbart. Or perhaps it's time to start a "Draft Dick Cheney to talk about Gay Marriage at CPAC" campaign.

Should GOProud and CPAC face more of this during CPAC 2010, I hope that CPAC attendees, whatever their position on the gay marriage issue itself, will stand against the kind of bigotry that WorldNetDaily and American Family Association are peddling.

What will 2010 be about?

Sometimes, election years get focused on certain races to tell the story of the cycle. It is too early to tell what the stories of the next cycle will be, but here are two possibilities.

In Pennsylvania, recently re-minted Democrat Arlen Specter has said that he is not shifting his position on card-check, aka the Employee Forced (nee Free) Choice Act. SEIU and AFL-CIO are already pressuring Specter to cave by, among other things, encouraging Rep. Joe Sestak to run against him, in a race in which card-check would be a central debate.

Ironically, the 200,000 people that became Democrats, making Specter's GOP primary impossible, are likely Specter voters in a Democratic primary. As the Democrats have become more affluent, moderate tolerant, and less labor-dependent, the power of organized labor may not be so large.

What if the Democratic primary became a referendum on card-check for Democrats?  How important -- really -- is card check to Democrats? With Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel, etc., all weighing in on the anti-card-check side. Wouldn't that be funny. Wouldn't a Specter/card-check victory be a decisive defeat for the unions? This race could become nationalized in much the way that the Lieberman race was in 2006.

Similarly, I can see a fight in New Hampshire over gay marriage in the general. The legislature has passed easily reconcilable bills that legalize gay marriage legislatively. It is likely that the governor will neither sign nor veto them, bringing the law into effect.

But New Hampshire is different than Massachussets and Iowa, where gay marriage has been created by judicial fiat and seems unlikely to be reconsidered due to the ballot initiative processes. It is also different than neighboring Vermont, which just legalized gay marriage by legislative action. This is a dead issue in Vermont.

But you could imagine a battle in the general election in New Hampshire over gay marriage. Democrats had not controlled the state legislature since 1874, and some of these seats could swing back. After all, in 2006, we lost, as Time put it,  "91 state legislature seats, six of [our] 16 state senate seats and both [our] congressional seats". And gay marriage would undoubtedly play a role in a number of swing seats around the state and be a nationalized campaign. Money would flood in from around the country for both sides.

My gut is that gay marriage will not be a compelling issue in New Hampshire, but this will be the only serious opportunity for pro-traditional marriage forces to defend their position at the ballot box. They probably cannot afford to pass it up.

Aside from all the questions about the ability of the GOP to comeback and the future of the redistricting process, 2010 could be quite fascinating.

National Organization for Marriage vows to fight back against Perez Hilton's bogus copyright claims

perez hilton miss californiaThe gossip blogger sent DMCA takedown notices for a YouTube video because it shows three seconds from his video blog. But does the ad constitute fair use?

By the time YouTube removed an ad from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) due to a DMCA takedown request, the video had already received thousands of views. The takedown notice had been sent to the video sharing site from representatives of Mario Armando Lavandeira -- who blogs under the pseudonym Perez Hilton -- and claimed that because the ad features about three seconds of footage from Perez's video blog, it violates his copyright. Representatives also sent a cease and desist order on Friday to NOM demanding that the organization -- well known for its opposition to legalizing gay marriage -- stop playing the ad in television markets.

The ad in question -- which lasts about a minute -- features comments from Miss California Carrie Prejean in which she states that marriage "should be between a man and a woman," a comment directly followed with a clip of Perez calling her a "dumb bitch." (an email requesting comment from Perez for this article was not returned). The ad ends by accusing proponents of same sex marriage of trying to "silence opposition" rather than debating the issue.

Today I spoke to Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, and he labeled the takedown request and cease and desist demands "completely bogus" and said that his organization plans to fight back against them.

"I don't know people's motivations, but it seems pretty clear that Perez is embarassed about the fact of what he said," Brown told me. "There's no other reason of why he would try to take it down, because clearly he's going to lose under well established fair use rules. It's clearly fair use. I don't know any lawyer who would look at this with a fair mind who would say otherwise."

The organization's lawyers have already sent both a letter to YouTube asking it to reinstall the video and a reply (PDF) to Perez rejecting his copyright claim. But though it's still not clear whether YouTube will comply with the request, at least one conservative blogger has defiantly uploaded the ad onto his own YouTube account and said he'd fight any copyright claims if Perez's lawyers came after him.

"Ultimately we just filed the response and I think [the video] will continue to be up," Brown said to me. "I think that it's really laughable. [Perez] is the one who went after Carrie. He went after Miss California, he put it up on a public blog. If he didn't want people to see it, then why did he do it? And now I think he realizes that people don't like the fact that Miss California speaks her mind and has to be the subject of attack by Perez Hilton. And it doesn't look good for him. So clearly it's not that hard to figure out. He doesn't want it up because he's embarrassed by it."

I asked Brown whether he'd heard that bloggers were protesting by uploading the video on their own. He said that he had seen that and he was glad that they were doing so, but that he was still frustrated by YouTube removing the video because it means they would have to redirect all the links on the NOM website, which can be an inefficient process. Though he placed most of the blame on Perez for sending the DMCA takedown, he said he's at least a little bit frustrated by YouTube's unwillingness to substantiate claims from copyright holders and evaluate whether a clip constitutes fair use.

But Ben Sheffner, a copyright attorney who has been covering this issue on his blog, says that it's not that simple. And he should know -- he previously worked for 20th Century Fox, where a significant part of his job was sending DMCA takedown notices to video sites like YouTube. He also served as special counsel on John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, where he had to respond to DMCA takedowns sent by news organizations like Fox News, which claimed that McCain couldn't use its footage in his campaign ads.

"I would say this," Sheffner said in a phone interview. "Virtually all of the blame for the bogus takedown notice goes to the sender of the bogus takedown, meaning the copyright owner -- Perez Hilton in this instance. There is an argument to be made that the host -- meaning YouTube or whomever it is -- should evaluate the notice and see whether an issue is really fair use before it's taken down. But if they don't do that, I'm sympathetic to their reason, and they have several reasons.

"One of them is they get so many takedown notices that they don't have the resources to do an analysis on each one. And for a company like YouTube, I'm very sympathetic of that. They have hundreds of thousands of takedown notices every year. It would be extremely difficult. But as long as they get an facially valid takedown notice, meaning it sort of includes the required information, they'll take it down automatically."

The other reason, he said, was that the way that the DMCA was written is that a host site is only protected from lawsuit if it complies with the takedown expeditiously. This means that the site does not have the time to evaluate the thousands of takedowns submitted every year and yet still protect itself from lawsuits.

As of this writing, the original NOM ad is still removed from YouTube, so it remains to be seen whether the Google-owned company will reinstate it. But this case will likely be closely followed by copyright activists who are wary of media personalities who use copyright claims to silence legitimate criticism.

"It's a very disturbing development," Sheffner said. "I consider myself someone to be a strong supporter of copyright and I don't take a particularly broad view of fair use compared to some people, but the uses that we're talking about here -- it is very clearly fair use. It's fully non-commercial, it's political, it's extremely short, and it really doesn't do harm for Hilton's video blog. If people are less likely to support Hilton and his positions after watching the National Organization for Marriage ad, that's too bad, the law does not recognize that as a sort of harm that copyright is meant to protect."

Simon Owens is a media journalist and social media consultant. Email him at or read more of his writing at his blog

Warning: GOP may become 'The Religious Party'

McCain strategist Steve Schmidt thinks that the GOP risks becoming the religious party (as if it isn't already.)

Fox News reports:

John McCain’s top adviser from the presidential campaign urged fellow Republicans on Friday to warm up to gay rights and warned that the GOP risks becoming the “religious party” with its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Steve Schmidt, in his first political appearance since the election, spoke at the Washington, D.C., convention for the Log Cabin Republicans — a grassroots group for gay and lesbian Republicans.

He urged Republicans, in the near-term, to endorse civil unions and stop using the Bible as rationale for gay-marriage opposition.

“If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party,” he said. “And in a free country a political party cannot be viable in the long-term if it is seen as a sectarian party.”

Schmidt, whose sister is a lesbian and who supports same-sex marriage, said he understands the Republican Party probably won’t reverse its resistance to same-sex marriage anytime soon.

But he suggested that the party will be increasingly marginalized if it sustains that opposition long-term.



Why Young Coservatives Should Not Worry about Gay Marriage



   With my home state's Supreme Court making it’s now famous decision the other day, gay marriage is on the cusp of the lip's of many. A few days before the gay marriage decision, I was thinking about as Young Republicans, what do we want of the world? What do we want to see? What do we want our image to be? A thought from the brilliant William F. Buckley came to mind. He described people whom he viewed as "Small C Conservatives" and "Big C Conservatives." In our modern political climate, where our party has been hijacked by the religious right, Mr. Buckley's words were like a gust of fresh air. Buckley is my new hero. Plain and simple. According to the father of National Review, a Conservative (or "Big C") is one who concerns themselves with fiscal issues and stands as a libertarian on the social ones. This is the true follower of the ideology. As for gay marriage, I'm going to take Mr. Buckley's advice and forget it. I've got a U-Bill due Tuesday. 


Could the Iowa court decision mark the end of the Iowa caucus?

Chris Cillizza has argued that the Iowa Supreme Court decision that established gay marriage might disadvantage moderate candidates in the 2012 GOP primary. Cillizza notes that Heartland Iowa, a lefty Iowa blog, lays out a timeframe that would include a November 2011 ballot initiative that Nate Silver seems to think would be close, but the pro-traditional-marriage forces would prevail. (I have to say, I wonder what the presence of married gay couples does to his model)

UPDATE: This even happening would require getting it on the ballot, which would require the cooperation of the Democratic legislature. I kinda doubt that'll happen, don't you?

Anyways, back to Cillizza:

Assuming that time line is right, the fight over the constitutionality of banning same sex marriages would fall right in the heart of the run-up to the 2012 presidential caucus.

And, with the Republican caucus typically dominated by social conservatives, you can imagine the long-term impact today's ruling could have on the presidential jockeying.

At first glance, the decision should help candidates -- like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- who are closely aligned with the social conservative wing of the Republican party.

He then argues that this could really hurt Jon Huntsman:

One person who could potentially be hurt by today's ruling is Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) who has staked out a moderate position on the issue -- expressing his support for civil unions earlier this year despite the fact that large numbers of Utah voters oppose the idea. "I'm a firm believer in the traditional construct of marriage, a man and a woman," the governor told the Deseret News. "But I also think that we can go a greater distance in enhancing equal rights for others in nontraditional relationships."

Let me offer another thought. This could lead to a further minimization of the Iowa Caucus. My understanding is that Mitt Romney, who must be considered the front-runner, is already trying to figure out how to avoid Iowa or somehow reshuffle the deck. A number of candidates could reasonably try to skip it.

Iowa Republican Party politics will be very, very interesting over the next couple of years. I expect this to be ask much solved by the rules guys and party officials as by actual voters. But that's really the point of caucuses, isn't it?


Gingrich's Focus

Crossposted at The Rockefeller Republican.

Let me start by saying I have always listened to what Newt Gingrich has to say. I have not always agreed with him, and his past personal history is cloudy at best, but he has always been a font of ideas in a sometimes barren political landscape. Just this past summer I proudly signed the petition to “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less,” and had considerable pride in the fact that partly due to that campaign congress did eventually move, albeit too slowly, in the right direction on that issue. But lately Mr. Gingrich has strayed into waters I feel are better left unstirred as we look to rebuild the Republican Party.

Just last week Gingrich was on The O'Reilly Factor warning of "gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us." At a time when unemployment is stretching towards 7%, the big three automakers are on the verge of bankruptcy, and the only retailer not losing money is discount king Wal-Mart, Gingrich wants conservative to focus on “gay and secular fascism?”

This is not what the Republican Party needs to rebuild a governing majority.

On his website visitors are asked to sign a petition on behalf of insufficient references to God in the new Capitol Visitor Center, and his new book/DVD entitled Rediscovering God in America is currently a best seller. His appeal is still wide among conservatives, but he needs to lend his considerable influence to causes that will untie across the spectrum, not just social conservatives.

I know it has become an annual Christmas season talking point- the fact the secular progressives are taking God out of Christmas, and I am just as upset as the next guy when a local town takes down a nativity scene so as not to offend the 10-15% of citizens who are not at least nominally Christian. However, there are lots of people making those arguments; we need our most influential voices focusing on ideas that are most pressing to the nation at large.

How are we going to stimulate the economy?
What should be done about the increasing tensions in India/Pakistan?
How can we avert the next energy crisis?

These are the issues conservatives need to address, and address with new and innovative ideas, if we are to reclaim our hold on the hearts and minds of Middle America. Not gay marriage, not God, not even abortion, will do as the nation faces our current array of problems. That is not to say we need to give up on these issues; they are central to who we are as a party. But, as has been stated numerous times this past election cycle, the nation is essentially centrist. So bringing out divisive social issues as a way of rebuilding the party is a sure way to rebuild an eternally minority party, which would be disastrous, both for Republicans and for the nation.

The unfortunate result of the recent Republican electoral nightmare is that the only people left standing tend to be the most hard-line conservatives. The moderates, who brought balance to the party as a whole, have largely been defeated by conservative democrats helped by the tsunami that was Obama’s presidential campaign.

It is vitally important in the coming year to create a party that will attract not just the most conservative among us, but also the moderates and even some centrist Democrats. This is not just sound electoral strategy, it is also the only way we can solve the problems America faces.


CA Passes Gay Marriage Ban and Thereby Hurts Religious Right

California, the "Land of Fruits and Nuts", sided with the GOP on election day and voted For Proposition 8 banning gay marriage.  Think about this for a second-the most liberal state in the union agreed with the Republicans on a social issue.  African Americans who overwhelmingly voted for Obama crossed over from the Democrats side and joined with the Republicans farther down the ballot.  Gay marriage bans also won in Arizona, Arkansas, and recently blue state Florida. Many states in past elections have also passed these same sex marriage bans. What does this mean?  Much of the nation does not support gay marriage, and the GOP is vindicated on this issue. 

But there is another story here.  When the Soviet Union collapsed many people lost sight of the dangers in the world and turned their focus to other matters.  Military budgets were reduced, the national security issue lost its importance in the world, and economic partnerships were more important than military ones.

That is what will probably happen with gay marriage.  As same sex marriage bans are passed all around the country, regular people are not going to be threatened by it as much as they were.  With an iron clad state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage why would gay marriage be a voter concern?  Concern will instead be passed to other issues like the economy, crime, and taxes. 

The GOP has won many gay marriage battles, but it is time for them to reassess this issue and move to more pressing voter concerns.

By the way...the people of San Francisco didn't name that sewage plant after Bush, and they didn't make prostitution legal. 


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