The World Is Changing-- Love Is Love And It Does Belong To Everybody
I talk to a lot of people running for Congress. I've been doing it, more or less, systematically since 2005. It's part of the Blue America vetting process. One of the questions I ask all the candidates is about marriage equality for the LGBT community. When I started, the question was about whether or not the candidate supported it. I was even interested if they supported it in their heart despite being able to say so aloud in a red, red district. That's changed remarkably fast. Almost all Democrats support marriage equality now, including all moderates. Only the most dire, ancient reactionaries who, for whatever reason, haven't flipped to the GOP yet, still oppose marriage equality. And the question has changed as well. Now I ask how the candidate is going to persuade conservative voters that marriage equality is the right path.
Last month I spoke with a self-described "very conservative" Washington state senator, Steve Hobbs. And he is very conservative-- but not on social issues, including LGBT equality. Hobb's is a pro-Choice, pro-LGBT Democrat, with a voting record to back up those claims. It's in contrast to the Blue Dogs in DC who swear they're just fiscally conservative and then vote straight-up reactionary when it comes to matters of Choice, corporate corruption and equality. In the guest post he did for DWT on the topic he talked about how his military service in Afghanistan helped him understand the need for equality on a very personal level. "How could I look my gay and lesbian comrades in the eye if I voted no? How could I stand next to them, train with them, fight with them and potentially die with them if I voted to deny them the same rights that I have? I represent a swing district in Snohomish County, Washington, where the majority of my constituents do not support marriage equality. That’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and, believe me-- they shared them with me before I took my vote." I'd have more respect for conservatives in general if there were more conservatives like Steve Hobbs.
Jim Graves, the Democrat running against Bachmann, may not be another Alan Grayson, Barbara Lee or Raúl Grijalva but he is somewhat more of a progressive, across the board, than Hobbs. His district, though, is as conservative as Hobbs' is. In a guest post he did for DWT he talked about how he combats Bachmann's deranged homophobia on the stump:
I also reject my opponent's understanding of the role of government. She talks a lot about making government smaller. But, in fact, she seems to think the government should interfere with the most personal decisions a person could ever make. She would like government officials to tell the victim of rape what she ought to do with her body. She would like the government to determine who a person can and cannot marry. Now, I have been married to my wife, Julie, for nearly forty years. Our marriage has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I don’t see how anyone would want our government to deprive individuals the freedom to experience that same joy and happiness no matter what their sexual orientation.
Sounds something like that ad at the top of the page... which is exactly how most Democrats are sounding these days. Most... but not all. And leave it to DCCC Chairman Steve Israel to find the crud left at that bottom of the toilet to lavish millions of dollars on in this year's congressional campaigns. Needless to say, Israel isn't helping Graves defeat Bachmann. Instead he's pouring money into the campaigns of homophobic psychopaths like Hayden Rogers (Blue Dog, NC-11) who would vote with Bachmann against LGBT community-- along with "Front-Line" homophobes in North Carolina Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell, each of who has a lifetime ZERO rating on crucial LGBT votes in Congress. Bachmann has a ZERO as well, but not many Democrats do-- aside from McIntyre and Kissell, only Mark Critz (also on the DCCC Front-Line list) and two reactionary Blue Dogs who are retiring, Heath Shuler (NC) and Mike Ross (AR).
The DCCC Front-Line candidates get most of the money that the DCCC spends. Here's the whole list and each member's lieftime crucial vote score on LGBT issues from Progressive Punch:
Ron Barber (AZ)- hasn't voted on any LGBT issues so far
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)- 16.67
Tim Bishop (D-NY)- 28.57%
Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA)- 28.57%
Lois Capps (D-CA)- 100%
Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)- 16.67
Mark Critz (PA)- ZERO
John Garamendi (D-CA)- 100%
Kathy Hochul (NY)- 100%
Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC)- ZERO
David Loebsack (D-IA)- 50%
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)- 14.29
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)- ZERO
Jerry McNerney (CA)- 50%
Bill Owens (NY)- 33.33%
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)- 66.67%
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)- 71.43%
Betty Sutton (D-OH)- 50%
Tim Walz (MN)- 50%
Bolded names are of congressmen so consumed with homophobia that they are in severe need of psychological treatment for their mental illness. Please keep in mind that if you are contributing to the DCCC, some of your money is going to reelect these vicious hatemongers... but none of it goes to getting them mental health counseling.
As for the Republicans, the vast majority of them score ZERO. Blue America has a special page dedicated to helping replace Congress' worst homophobes with supporters of LGBT equality-- like in the Minnesota race pitting Jim Graves against Bachmann.