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Who would you vote for?

Timothy Kincaid

September 26th, 2012

There’s a choice – well, a non-choice really – in the 60’th House seat in Illinois.

Candidate A

A opposes same sex marriage. The members of her church disapprove of “that lifestyle”.

“We do not allow those types of behaviors in our church at all. Not that you can’t come there, but if you do you’re not going to be blatant. What you do at home needs to stay at home.”

When asked to explain what types of behaviors she meant, A said: “Two men kissing, two women kissing.” And, besides, why do gay people need marriage?

“I’m still not clear on why they feel the need for marriage when you’ve got civil unions,” she said. “One of the answers I was told is that civil unions didn’t give them enough. How much more do you want?”

A did not vote for civil unions either, answering “present” instead.

Candidate B

B opposes same sex marriage. He thinks marriage is for pro-creation and notes that while gay couples can adopt they cannot have biological children together.

“I have a very big problem with the use of the word ‘marriage.'” he said. “I’ve been married 40 years. That word actually means something.”

B is worried about how the family has “dissolved” in our society and said “the gay marriage issue fits right into that.” As for civil unions or expanded rights, he is less bothered by that.

“I don’t have the right to tell people who they should love or how they should love, but I do believe that the word marriage should not be incorporated in there.”

I know we are not one-issue voters. But if they take positions on our lives, that has to be a major factor.

And just as a matter of intellectual curiosity, I wonder if either of these candidates appears worse than the other – and why. After you decide, go see whether the party affiliation confirms, changes or in any way impacts your gut impression. (And let’s pretend you can’t choose a third party, write in, or sit this one out or else your grocery clerk will pack your ice-cream in the same bag as your fresh warm deli-roasted chicken).



Chris McCoy
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

Candidate A’s answers seem like she is more open to dialog. “How much more do you want” has an answer: “full equality under the law.” The wording of her answers leaves it open for dialog, an opportunity for her constituents to address her concerns.

Whereas Candidate B has already made up his mind that “Marriage” means something, and that definition does not include gays. His answers do not leave room for discourse.

Based on that little information, with no opportunity for cross-examination, I choose Candidate A.

However, I am not a single-issue voter, so while LGBT issues are important to me, I would wager that these candidates have different views on a range of other topics.

I doubt this is a “ceteris paribus” (“all other things being equal”) race.

The Lauderdale
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

For me it was dead even, so I read the article. It turned out there was some additional info about Candidate A: she starts off by basing her decision, not on her own or her church’s disapproval of gay marriage, but on “survey data” indicating “her constituents don’t support legalizing gay marriage.” She also said that she had ‘”mixed emotions’ about gay marriage,” leaving me to wonder what the unstated part in the mix was. As McCoy put it, it just looks like there is more going on there, more room for dialog, possibility and change.

Candidate B also seems to couch same-sex marriage as more of a threat, complaining about how the family has “dissolved” and saying that gay marriage is a part of this.

September 26th, 2012 | LINK

Are you asking b/c you live in their district?

The answer is that I would vote for candidate B, but I drew this conclusion only after clicking and learning the details. Also, my answer is based solely on its impact on the marriage issue. I am assuming for this exercise that these candidates are equal on all other gay-related issues as well as all other issues.

This is a race in Illinois, so the first thing you know is that control of the chamber is not at issue. (Had it been, you would have had to vote for the Dem because there will be no marriage vote without Dem control.) The fact that it is in Illinois also means that civil unions are already available and thus support for or opposition to CUs has no real impact.

Since chamber control and civil unions are off the table, it is basically a wash. They are both anti-gay and neither takes a good stance on marriage, which is the only item of relevance in IL. So why vote for the Republican in this case? To establsih the precedent that Dems who oppose marriage equality are outliers and run the risk of losing. And also to pave the way for a better Dem candidate next election.

A Dem who talks like Candidate A should know that it comes with real risks, so since the 2 candidates are about equally bad, I’d punish the Dem and then hope a pro-gay Dem is nominated next election. By contrast, if you elect the anti-gay Dem, you are not incentivizing the GOP to nominate a pro-gay candidate next time around.

Timothy Kincaid
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

Good answers, so far. I look forward to reading more.

September 26th, 2012 | LINK

I’m curious why Mayfield’s (Candidate A) nonsense about charitable groups and Catholic Charities is left out. I think it’s germain.

Neither candidate is acceptable on the issue of gay marriage, and neither is likely to be convinced. That leaves the decision to other criteria.

My politics are progressive liberal, and for election purposes I am a registered Democrat.

In this case, I would vote for the Democrat, in the hope/belief that down the line, on other issues, she would follow the party line–a line that I assume would be nearer my thinking.

Mayfield doesn’t seem to be much of a thinker herself, and I assume that she does what she’s told to do (though there’s no guarantee of it). I’d rather have a Democrat like that than a Republican.

Gene in L.A.
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

Given Mayfield’s answers, the fact that her objection is religious, and that she won’t even support civil unions, I vote against her. Burleson’s objections are not based on religion, and he doesn’t object to civil unions. He’s not dead-set against us. He would therefor be my choice, if I were a one-issue voter. Not knowing what other positions they hold, I can’t say definitively which would get my vote if I had to make a real choice. This is an unusual instance where the Republican is actually less against us than the Democrat. Thanks for the exercise.

Donny D.
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

If I was judging only on same sex marriage stands and I felt I had to vote for one of the two, I would pick B. He seems to see us as an inevitable part of the population who do have a place in society. I’m guessing from that and his support for civil unions that he might be amenable to change at some point.

Candidate A can’t even understand why we would want full marriage. I read her two questions, “And, besides, why do gay people need marriage?” and, “How much more do you want?” as rhetorical. She just doesn’t see us as real human beings, so we can’t possibly have the same motivations as “normal people”. “How much more do you want?” tells us she believes we should be perfectly satisfied with 2nd class citizenship, whereas B seems like he could understand our strivings toward equality, though he’d have arguments against them in the case of civil marriage.

But I probably will never base my votes solely on same sex marriage stands, because I just don’t think same sex civil marriage is all that important. That it gets all this attention at the expense of state and federal ENDAs really only benefits gay business owners who think marriage is a great conservative value but don’t want any legislation that strengthens employees’ rights and makes it any harder for their businesses to fail to hire, mistreat on the job or fire employees whenever they like.

Also, I have no problem with not voting in any given race on the ballot, because I feel no obligation to pick from a field of bad choices. Not voting in a particular race is my own form of protest at the low quality of the people running.

September 26th, 2012 | LINK

(Before reading article)

Candidate A seems to think gay marriage is immoral.

Candidate B, as far as I can tell, seems to think gays are vaguely inferior, and he blames us at least in part for the problems of heterosexuals.

I can have a rational discussion with someone who thinks my actions are immoral. I can’t with someone who just kinda thinks I’m inferior, for reasons he can’t even explain. Therefore, I vote for Candidate A.

September 26th, 2012 | LINK

(After reading article)

Well, I didn’t cross party lines — whatever that means.

As a Democrat, Mayfield will have to spend more time than Burleson considering the arguments in favor of gay marriage, because she will be under increasing pressure to justify her position. She may not come around, but she won’t be able to retreat to the insipid Good Cop position of saying, “Hey, I’m not completely heartless, I think they should be allowed to form civil unions.”

Rowan Bristol
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

I’m trying to understand the meme. You’re asking us to decide who hates us less? And then be either proud or ashamed when the hater is either part of or not part of the party we belong to?

This is the third ‘respect the hater’ article in as many weeks. I get that they’re wonderful delightful people whose only flaw is the boot on our throats, but why do we have to go over this again and again?

I vote for my party, because ultimately my party will keep the hater in line, and put the necessary pressure on them to commit to justice whether they think justice is icky or not.

Especially after last week’s post which had both body policing, and actionable improper physician contact, I’m trying to see what the positive purpose is behind examining each color in the prism of hatred.

September 27th, 2012 | LINK

The way your challenge was framed made me immediately try to form a mental picture of each candidate. Whatever that says about me, it says, but I was pretty spot-on in my mental images, except for candidate B’s choice of facial hair.

I’m not sure how I’d vote, and I think I’d have to read the slate of issues, but I do think I’d be more inclined to vote D, simply because of the R platform. Perhaps I’d want to investigate whether Ds and Rs ever cross the aisle in IL state politics, or if they’re pretty polarized. That would be a factor as well.

September 27th, 2012 | LINK

@Chris McCoy
Candidate B sounds more persuadable, just going from the short-form presentation of their views and not the linked article.

While Candidate A couches her opposition in terms of religion (“my church” etc), Candidate B is concerned about preserving the institution of marriage. It’s a more pragmatic/social position than a theological one. That kind of person — my own mom is one — actually is open to discussion, if we talk to them the right way.

We can take seriously their desire to protect the sanctity of marriage instead of belittling it (after all, we want into that “sanctity” ourselves!) and then show them that gay marriage is a step forward, not a threat. Someone who has made peace with civil unions but is still on the fence about full marriage is someone who is still open to a conversation. Candidate A’s “how much more do they want?” is a sign that for her the conversation is over.

September 27th, 2012 | LINK

A! Because her anti-gayness stems directly from her church rather than from some sort of nostalgic twinged ideology. I’d much rather have a less ideological religious anti-gay over an anti-gay ideologue of any affiliation. It would seem that there are more arguments available to a constituent that might would want to change her mind on this issue. Also, her position could change if she changed churches or if her church changed pastors. Whereas B is set in his ways in that he is tying his anti-gay marriage position into his ideological worldview. In order to change his mind you have to challenge his entire worldview & that’s going to be much more difficult for a constituent to reach him on this issue.

Of course, given the similarities of the positions I’d probably vet them a bit further before pulling the lever.

Priya Lynn
September 27th, 2012 | LINK

I can’t distinguish which one is better from the information you’ve given, they are the same in my opinion. That being the case it would be best to vote for the Democrat given that that party will support marriage equality while the Republicans will oppose it and the relative power of each party is largely determined by the number of members elected.

September 27th, 2012 | LINK

I must say, I don’t really see how this post is itself hateful or promoting hate. It’s a situation that many people find themselves in, and deciding which is the lesser of two evils is unfortunately something a lot of us deal with. What do you do about a friend or a co-worker who is a perfectly nice person in all other respects, but uncomfortable with or religiously opposed to GLBT rights? What about a family member? Do you always “drop the atom bomb” on someone right away or do you give them time to get to know and like you, with the idea of applying gentle persuasion in the future? A lot of issues that come up around GLBT rights, in society, aren’t necessarily susceptible to pat or black and white answers, and saying so isn’t being anti-gay.

September 27th, 2012 | LINK

once again another dishonest “choice” presented to us by Mr. Kincaide.

There is another choice, but he would remove that option. Do not vore for either, if you cannot be a multiple issue voter, then maybe you shouldn’t be voting.

This is also just a dovetail on the Barney Frank flap over the Victory fund, and ZTim is trying to tie a bunch of dis-similar items together to try to prove a point he couldn’t artfully make in prior postings.

Now, given Tim’s propensity to forgive religous leaders for THEIR hateful Speech, one must wonder why the Democrats religous reasoning is somehow not viable, but when talking about Osteen and the entire subject of religiosity, he seems to be able to forgive the right leaning individuals.

It seems to me that Tim would rather forgive any right leaning individual over left leaning individuals when it comes to religous beliefs.

And it also seems as if Tim is willing to sell out the LGBT community to promote his conservative agenda.

September 27th, 2012 | LINK

Hated ’em both, so I didn’t bother to play the endgame. I wouldn’t vote for either. I would vote for . . . C. Because there is ALWAYS a “C,” despite the prevailing binary mind-set.

Timothy Kincaid
September 27th, 2012 | LINK

Thanks for some really thoughtful and well argued positions. I hope you enjoyed the exercise as much as
I enjoyed reading your responses.

September 28th, 2012 | LINK

They are both dumb as dirt. If I had to vote for one of them, I’d vote for candidate A, who can probably be pressured into doing the right thing.

Richard Rush
September 28th, 2012 | LINK

If this were a primary election I would hold my nose and vote for B. I think people like A who allow their religion to establish or justify their beliefs are more unlikely to allow reason to enter their thinking.

If this were a general election I would hold my nose and vote for the Democrat. I would rather have a containable religious fanatic on the Democratic side of the aisle than risk tipping the majority to the Republican side.

Nowadays, in a general election I would vote for a Democrat I believe is corrupt rather than a decent moderate Republican, and then try to get rid of the corrupt Democrat in the next primary election.

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