Michigan GOP former Speaker of House calls for equality

Timothy Kincaid

June 17th, 2014

A number of formerly prominent Republicans have signed a brief urging the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the ruling that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is in violation of the US Constitution. (ClickOnDetroit)

The Republicans include former House Speaker Rick Johnson and former House Majority Leader Chris Ward.

Former U.S. Rep. John “Joe” Schwartz has signed on, along with former state lawmakers Leon Drolet, Doug Hart, Dave Honigman and Susan Grimes Gilbert.

It seems to me that in some parts of the country we have now reached the stage in our quest for equality wherein former GOP leaders or power-players are beginning to champion our cause. And while most of those currently in power do not yet appear to be willing to be publicly supportive, many have elected to adopt language such as “let the judicial system decide” or even “it is inevitable, so we should focus on respecting each other”.

While Republicans are not speaking in harmony with not the fully supportive language of the Democrats, I think that these shifts in the political stance of Republicans leaders, both current and former, foretell a time not so distantly ahead in which civil equality is assured and not even terribly controversial.


June 18th, 2014

Politicians follow public opinion. They don’t lead it. For Republicans, public opinion means primary voters, and primary voters in the Republican party are very very anti-gay. I would be surprised if there were much more than 20% support for same-sex marriage in that demographic. That’s why there really hasn’t been all that much progress in the direction of support for same-sex marriage among Republicans who plan to seek election in the future. The only real change I’ve seen is a toning down of the anti-gay rhetoric, and that’s only because they don’t want to alienate general election voters. We won’t see significant additional change until support by Republican primary voters starts nudging above 50%, and that could take a very long time.


June 18th, 2014

All the more reason for us to encourage voting in primaries. Some state let independent voters select the primary they wish to vote in. I have taken advantage of this in my state to put in my two cents for more moderate Republican voices. I have even known people to register for a party they oppose to help influence primaries towards a more moderate tone (or vote for the person that will run unopposed in the general election). The Republican see-sawing between primaries and general elections certainly needs to level out a great deal. But the politicians could also be bolder: when all of them support equality, choosing in the primary on that basis becomes moot.

Timothy Kincaid

June 18th, 2014


I think you’re right that we won’t see much change in the GOP until primary voters nudge over 50%. However, most votes are local, and it won’t be long before some geographic areas will have GOP voters well over 50%.

New England is more or less there. I suspect that rural California, the NorthWest, the SouthWest, and the Great Lakes States aren’t that far behind.

What we will see is a gradual shift – the first important step of which will be the GOP deciding on a national level that “this is a decision best left to the states”, i.e. don’t insist that the Massachusetts voters be anti-gay.

And, of course, national GOP leaders are praying that the courts take this out of their hands so it can all go away before they have to schism the party.

enough already

June 19th, 2014

From what I’ve seen of the 2014 Republican state party platforms – precursors to the 2016 national platform in many ways – the party is going to split.
While my party can tolerate the occasional Rubén Diaz, the Republicans have virtually nothing to offer to blacks, Mexican-Americans and queers.
I’m guessing the split will come after the 2016 elections leave the House in Republican hands, the Senate returns to us and President Clinton awaits inauguration.

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