Posts Tagged As: Tea Party Movement

More Tea Partiers not upset about the overturn of DOMA

Timothy Kincaid

July 13th, 2010

Last week the NY Times interviewed leaders of various Tea Party factions, noting that many found Judge Tauro’s decision that marriage is a state decision rather than a federal decision to be consistent with their own views. Now the Washington Times has interviewed more and found much the same.

“I do think it’s a state’s right,” said Phillip Dennis, Texas state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. The group does not take a position on social issues, he said, but personally, “I believe that if the people in Massachusetts want gay people to get married, then they should allow it, just as people in Utah do not support abortion. They should have the right to vote against that.”

Everett Wilkinson, state director for the Florida Tea Party Patriots, agreed: “On the issue [of gay marriage] itself, we have no stance, but any time a state’s rights or powers are encouraged over the federal government, it is a good thing.”

Tea Partiers support overturn of DOMA

Timothy Kincaid

July 9th, 2010

The Tea Party movement can be difficult to understand. On the one hand, they are not supportive of gay equality, but on the other they truly dislike and distrust a large centralized government.

And the New York Times found that, for the most part, the Tea Party leaders supported the decision to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act as a victory for states’ rights, even if they don’t much like the consequences.

Some people involved in the campaigns to limit Washington’s reach cheered what they said was a states’ rights victory.

“The Constitution isn’t about political ideology,” said Michael Boldin, the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, a group based in Los Angeles. “It’s about liberty, and limiting the government to certain divisive issues — I applaud what I consider a very rare ruling form the judiciary.”

Others, like Steve V. Moon, a software programmer and founder of, a group founded in Utah in 2008, said the judge’s decision was both right and wrong.

“It’s unconstitutional for the federal government to pass laws superseding state authority — and the judge did affirm states’ rights in this area,” he said. “But I personally believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman and support any state passing laws affirming the sanctity of marriage.”

Mr. Moon said he feared that what might look like a states’ rights victory could backfire. If judges in other states, drawing on Judge Tauro’s reasoning, start throwing out marriage definition laws that were passed by residents or legislatures, “that could be detrimental to states’ rights.”

A spokeswoman for one of the biggest Tea Party umbrella organizations, Tea Party Patriots, said that social questions were not part of their mission.

“As far as an assertion of states’ rights goes, I believe it’s a good thing,” said Shelby Blakely, executive director of The New Patriot Journal, the group’s online publication. “The Constitution does not allow federal regulation of gay marriage just as it doesn’t allow for federal regulation of health care.”

“But I don’t want to come off saying I support gay marriage,” she added.

Meanwhile, the white house continues to stay silent on the decision.

Is the Tea Party movement good for gays?

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2010

tea partyThe gay community tends not to fare well when angry conservative populist movements gain influence; the “common man” tends not to hold the interests of minorities to heart.

So many gay individuals and organizations have viewed the Tea Party movement with suspicion and concern. This reaction seemed to be confirmed by social conservatives pointing to the movement and offering praise. However, the Tea Party movement may prove to be a tremendous boon for the community.

There are several articles today about the movement from several different sources and they all seem to be saying the same thing: not only are the Tea Partiers not social conservatives, they want nothing to do with them.

Patrik Jonsson, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, starts his article this way

Emergence of the grass-roots “tea party” movement as a major force on the American political right is having a quiet but fundamental effect on the Republican tribe: Social conservatives have been voted off the island.

In recent years, fiscal conservatives seem to have taken a back seat to social conservatives in the Republican Party. President Bush, with his drunken sailor spending and moralizing piety was about as far from the fiscal conservative wing as you could get.

The Party had gambled that “the people” weren’t interested in esoteric things like the national debt or a balanced budget and pandered instead to biases against gay marriages and pregnant women. Not that Republicans actually did anything on social conservative issues, but by targeting a voter base that cared little about fiscal responsibility, they managed to answer to no one.

But the Tea Party movement appears to be a backlash, as much against the Republican Party that they feel has betrayed them as against President Obama and the Democrats. And in their efforts to change the focus of the Party, they are refusing to allow social issues to intrude. (New York Times)

Tea Party leaders argue that the country can ill afford the discussion about social issues when it is passing on enormous debts to future generations. But the focus is also strategic: leaders think they can attract independent voters if they stay away from divisive issues.

“We should be creating the biggest tent possible around the economic conservative issue,” said Ryan Hecker, the organizer behind the Contract From America. “I think social issues may matter to particular individuals, but at the end of the day, the movement should be agnostic about it. This is a movement that rose largely because of the Republican Party failing to deliver on being representative of the economic conservative ideology. To include social issues would be beside the point.”

And it appears that the jettisoning of the social conservatives is not merely cosmetic. “Family values” leaders are feeling the bite and are not happy with being booted from the drive’s seat (Politico).

“There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative,” said Bryan Fischer, director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association. “The tea party movement needs to insist that candidates believe in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.”

“As far as I can tell [the tea party movement] has a politics that’s irreligious. I can’t see how some of my fellow conservatives identify with it,” said Richard Cizik, who broke with a major evangelical group over his support for government action on climate change, but who remains largely in line with the Christian right on social issues. “The younger Evangelicals who I interact with are largely turned off by the tea party movement — by the incivility, the name-calling, the pathos of politics.”

But what impact will this have on our community? That depends, of course, on whether the movement can maintain its anger and its mission.

If they are effective and are seen as a political force, they could change what it means to be a Republican. If they want to draw in young people worried about their ability to pay a massive and ever increasing public debt, they may strong-arm the Party to drop issues such as abortion and gay marriage from the Party Platform. They may even insist on advancing and supporting gay candidates if they are perceived to be the best on fiscal issues.

It is possible that this movement of “common folk” – which includes more than a few that are complete wackadoodles: birthers, racists, and conspiracy theorists – could ultimately place our nation in a position in which there is one party that supports our rights (at least in theory) and another that “has no opinion” on the matter.

Time will tell us whether this movement – one our community mostly mocks and somewhat fears – will bring about a change in public consciousness on social issues, or whether they will just be another footnote in the history of our nation’s advancement.

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