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Marriage’s final frontier

Timothy Kincaid

June 1st, 2011

In what has been, to me, a surprisingly short period of time, the fertile, tamed gay-supportive territory has come to support marriage equality. Democrats overwhelmingly are supportive, and independents have joined them to the extent that now a majority of Americans favor legalized same-sex marriages.

But Republicans – especially conservative evangelical Republicans – have held to their opposition with little exception. The red state, red meat, tea partying folk have not been receptive in any manner to talk about Teh Gheys being real people with real rights, especially the right to marry the person of their choosing.

Until recently. Very very recently.

Perhaps it took the high-profile support over unquestionably-conservative Ted Olson to make it possible for conservative Republican support to be considered. Perhaps the hopeless – but fascinating and visible – presidential campaign of Fred Karger introduced the possibility. Maybe it was Meghan McCain, Barbara Bush, or other young Republicans willing to talk back to their elders. But whatever allowed it, change has begun.

Marriage equality has finally set foot in this wild frontier, planted a flag, and claimed its place. In, of all places, Iowa’s activist Republican community. Today, Jeff Angelo, a former State Senator from Ames has launched a new group: Iowa Republicans for Freedom.

Angelo is a heterosexual father of three who identifies as an evangelical Christian. He regularly attends the Ames Evangelical Free Church. While he still considers himself “very much an activist Republican,” Angelo said he, and other Republicans, are recognizing banning same-sex marriage violates the widely-held conservative belief of personal freedoms.

But don’t assume that Angelo is just some “squishy moderate” who has let his liberal side take over. Angelo’s anti-gay credentials couldn’t be stronger. (DMRegister)

Angelo, who formerly lived in Creston, had opposed gay marriage while serving in the Iowa Senate and was co-sponsor of the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act in the late 1990s. In 2006, he was the lead sponsor of a proposed state constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. He said he gradually came to a realization after leaving the legislature that his stance on same-sex marriage was wrong and hurtful.

Like many, he had believed the lies he told himself. Especially the old “my gay friends” fiction. (Iowa Independent)

“I previously bought into the notion that I could tell my gay friends how much I loved them, that I just disapproved of their lifestyle and they would be OK with that,” Angelo admitted. “But they told me that I made them feel lesser in my eyes or that I made them feel like a second-class citizen. I labored under delusion for some time that [what my friends said] wasn’t true, that they really believed I loved them and that I was their friend.”

And he found that once he questioned his presumptions, it turned out that this new respect for his fellow man fit better with his ideals than had his prejudices. So he’s now sharing that message.

“Far too often, the conversation on marriage can get lost in rhetoric,” Angelo said. “But this debate really centers around one idea: whether government has the right to say whom a person should love and marry. As a proud conservative, I believe in smaller, limited government, and that government should have no more of a right to say whom I can marry than they should be able to tell my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters whom they can marry.”

“It is time for conservatives to get back to their roots,” Angelo said. “Through Iowa Republicans for Freedom, we will begin a conversation about whether our party and our state will stand for true conservative values, or whether we will allow ourselves to get lost in senseless debates that do nothing but demean our neighbors and threaten the rights of our fellow Iowans.”

Jeff Angelo is a very welcome advocate. His voice can reach those who simply cannot hear what our community is trying to say. I truly wish him well.

Comments

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tim
June 1st, 2011 | LINK

I’m curious. How many of those that call him a welcome advocate also carry the (mistaken) notion that Log Cabin Republicans are all ‘self hating’ gays?

Timothy Kincaid
June 1st, 2011 | LINK

Well, tim, as the one person so far who called him a welcome advocate, I can say that ZERO percent carry the notion that Log Cabin Republicans are all ‘self hating’ gays.

Isn’t it nice to get an immediate and conclusive answer?

WisconsinLiberal19
June 1st, 2011 | LINK

Personally I find it a little annoying to have these people come out as supporters after they are no longer in power. It’s nice to see them change their attitude, but still it would nice for them to speak out while they are in a position of power. Barbara Bush waited until she was no longer in the white house to say anything.

As a side note I don’t think long cabin or republican gays are self hating. Personally though I see it as a bunch of people that are more worried about their wallets than their rights. Just my opinion and I know younger voters of the GOP have different attitudes, but right now it seems to be weird to be part of a political party that considers you abominations.

Other Fred in the UK
June 1st, 2011 | LINK

WisconsinLiberal19,

Perhaps Log Cabin Republicans think change comes from within and wish to support and drive that change.

Mike Camardelle
June 2nd, 2011 | LINK

When anyone, and I mean anyone in Mississippi government can legitimately support and affect change on Marriage Equality while not sabotaging their political career, then, and only then, can we consider a ‘Final Frontier’.

Without federal intervention, we have no hope in hell of ever being treated equally here.

Sarah
June 2nd, 2011 | LINK

“…a former State Senator…”

Key word there is former. I’ll be impressed when a currently elected conservative comes out.

This is just more of the same BS.

EOJinDC
June 2nd, 2011 | LINK

1) Before we start signing off on evangelical right-wingers who claim to support us on one issue, we need to make sure we know where they are on all of our important issues. Where is he on employment nondiscrimination? Bullying? Hate Crimes? Housing discrimination?

He’s saying the federal government should be limited and stay out of our personal lives. However, the same argument Mr. Angelo is making can be used to rob the LGBT community of state and local laws and policies that protect us from anti-gay bigotry. I welcome the support, but I don’t think we should pass out blanket approval until we know where they stand on all the issues that impact our community.

2) Until the Log Cabin Republicans can show a single change they’ve made from “inside” the Republican Party, after approximately 20 years, they will remain in the “self-hating” column. The DADT lawsuit doesn’t count. DOD never actually followed the judge’s order. Free trade, smaller government, and tax cuts don’t count for crap if arbitrary limits are being placed on our liberty.

But, again, I’m willing to reconsider if someone can show me one single thing the Log Cabin Republicans have done to move their party in a positive direction on our issues.

kelly
June 5th, 2011 | LINK

Anyone can love anyone they want. They just can’t get preferential treatment from the state. This is so stupid.

Gays can marry gays if they are opposite sex. That’s equality.

I’m a Democrat atheist and this is one of the few issues I hope the Republicans and evangelicals will continue to defend.

Timothy Kincaid
June 6th, 2011 | LINK

To help translate kelly’s comments:

“preferential treatment” means “the same treatment as heterosexuals”.

“equality” means “applying rules that are designed to exclude certain people ‘to everyone’ and pretending not to see the deliberate exclusion”. Example, “banning yarmelkes is equality because it bans them for everyone”.

Kelly, if you are, indeed, a Democrat atheist, then I guess you aren’t taking your anti-gay position out of deeply held religious convictions. I guess you are just a plain ol’ bigot.

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