by James A. Lopata
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told a gay Iowan recently that if LGBT issues were most important for him, then he should vote for Obama.
The GOP record on gay rights is pretty dismal compared to Democrats, but even so, in the 2010 elections, 31 percent of gay voters said they voted Republican. Surely these must not be single-issue gay voters.
But what if there were actual gay reasons for voting Republican? I stretched my powers of imagination and came up with a list of The Top Ten Gay Reasons to Vote GOP in the 2012 presidential elections.
10 - Obama’s gay marriage views are not “evolving” quickly enough. When it comes to LGBT issues, President Obama isn’t perfect. He famously has not declared full support for marriage equality. Gay Republican political organizations like GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans argue that because Republicans are not perceived as being strong on LGBT concerns, they have more of an impact on the issues when they do. Honestly, it doesn’t sound terribly persuasive, but then again, this is only reason number 10.
9 - Abraham Lincoln was gay. The possibility that Lincoln, the first Republican U.S. president, was a homosexual has persisted for decades. With a GOP legacy of such support for civil rights, perhaps a 21st century Republican president could follow in Lincoln's footsteps with a gay emancipation proclamation — freeing lesbian and gay people to love and marry whomever they choose. I have a dream.
8 - Nixon was gay. A new book about tricky Dick alleges he was involved in a gay love affair. So what makes that a good gay reason to vote GOP in 2012? Well, not really sure, but we thought it was interesting anyway.
7 - Former GOP chairperson Ken Mehlman is gay. After the high profile same-sex sex scandals of Republican House Member from Florida Mark Foley and Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, it was refreshing to see a high profile GOP operative come out cleanly. Gay Democratic lawmakers don't have much of a problem being out. With more Republicans in office, there is more of a chance there will be more GOP lawmakers coming out. This reasoning really makes no sense, but we’re only at number 7.
6 - Google “Santorum.” Openly gay columnist Dan Savage successfully Google-bombed the former senator and presidential candidate, coining an unseemly new definition for Rick’s last name, Santorum, as, well, you'll need to Google it ourself. Think of all the slick and off-color jokes Jon Stewart could make for years with Santorum as commander-in-chief. The White House wouldn’t appear quite so white. Eww.
5 - GOP Presidential Candidate Fred Karger is gay. That’s right, an openly gay Republican presidential candidate! Unfortunately, with his low poll ratings, you probably haven't heard much about Karger. He hasn’t qualified for the debates, but he is the first out Republican presidential candidate. He hasn’t got a prayer. But his support of same-sex marriage does qualify him as the one Republican more evolved on the issue than Obama.
4 - Michele Bachmann’s husband might be gay. This is quite a stretch, but at least some people’s gaydar is going off when it comes to the lisping Dr. Marcus Bachmann. This may seem particularly odd since the unlicensed therapist offers “reparative therapy,” which allegedly helps homosexuals move toward a heterosexual orientation. But that may prove even more credible evidence of his homosexuality given that many prominent ex-gay advocates have had to concede defeat after same-sex sex scandals, including former board chairman of ex-gay group Exodus John Paulk and disgraced evangelical minister Rev. Ted Haggard. Michele could just unwittingly give the U.S. its first gay First Gentleman. And, who knows — while we are stretching the bounds of imagination — what if Marcus then revealed that Michele is more than his beard? Perhaps Michele could be our first lesbian president. Big stretch.
3 - Rick Perry could be gay. The rabidly anti-gay Rick Perry might be gay? Well, the idea is making the rounds. An openly gay Texas politician — partisan Democrat — gathered all the evidence into a book, which includes speculation that Perry slept with his Secretary of State Geoff Connor. Connor, when questioned about it, did not confirm or deny it, saying, “I suggest you ask Rick Perry.” Okay, so no major media outlet is touching this rumor, but, that just means that Perry could be the ultimate stealth gay rights candidate, right? And I mean far right.
2 - Newt Gingrich's half-sister is a lesbian. Sure, former Vice President Dick Cheney had a lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, but she supported the Bush presidency and stayed mostly behind-the-scenes. Candace Gingrich, on the other hand, is an outspoken LGBT rights advocate and has promised to vote for Obama, even if her brother is the GOP nominee. Candace would surely be a welcome thorn in the side of a Newt White House.
1 - Romney could flip again. It’s been chronicled how Romney claimed strong support for gay civil rights in his 1994 U.S. senate campaign against Ted Kennedy. And it’s a matter of record how virulently he fought against legal marriage for same-sex couples as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. Who knows? He could flip again.
Well, we've come to the end of the top 10 gay reasons to vote Republican in 2012, and, well, none of them seem persuasive at all. In fact, I can't find any compelling gay reason to vote Republican in 2102. Can you?