A Ray of Light

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the opinions of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin

Timothy Kincaid

March 20th, 2008

When homophobic rants like those of Sally Kern get a standing ovation from her House Republican caucus, or when folks like Oregon State Sen. Gary George (R – Newberg) can call gays “perverts” and advise that they just “shut up”, it can become discouraging. It does seem as though our nation is deeply divided along party lines and that we are an easy target in the raging culture wars.

But I think much of the venom and bile are the behavior of those who know in their gut that dusk is falling on their culture of heterosexist oppression. The signs are there for those who look. And here’s one from the Bay Area Reporter:

Log Cabiners’ optimism that their party is turning a lavender corner was buoyed last month at the California Republican Party’s state convention, held in San Francisco. The party adopted a new platform that no longer calls for passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The change in stance on an amendment is a blow to conservative groups trying to place such a ballot measure before voters this November. And it reinforces gay GOPer’s belief that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will oppose such a measure should it get on the ballot.

The party does still define marriage as being between a man and a woman, though a push to strip that from the platform came close to passing this year. It fell short by only eight votes.

A closer look does illustrate continued homophobic language within the platform, including

We believe that public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.

And in its discussion on Equal Opportunity, it clarifies that Equal does not include gay people.

We oppose any special rights based on sexual or behavioral preferences.

Clearly a (small) majority of the California Republican Party voting membership has decided not to view gay citizens as equal or deserving of the same rights that they hold so dear for themselves.

But in our constant battle against those who actively seek us harm, it can be easy to forget how much progress has been made, and how quickly progress continues to be made. In many states, any Democratic candidate that displays overt homophobia cannot expect to win their party’s nomination. In some areas, Republican candidates are facing the reality that their constituents can no longer be motivated by hate. And more importantly, many elected officials of all parties are coming to recognize the inherent worth of gay citizens on their own.

I believe that those kids who are now toddlers will live in a world in which a Sally Kern will seems as much an anomoly or embarrassment as David Duke or George Wallace. And while that day is still a ways off, this change in the CRP platform is definitely a positive omen of better days to come.


March 22nd, 2008

Excellent commentary Mr. Kincaid.

Maybe there’s hope.

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