This will be the first of (probably) numerous posts to be made from time to time on the issue of the Republican Party's touch-and-go relationship with what we will call, broadly, "the gay issue."
(What happened to that big post on TennCare you promised us?--ed.
In his blog, Lance in Iraq
, Lance Frizzell, staffer for the Tennessee House of Representatives Republican Caucus (presently on service leave in Iraq),
makes the observation that if a Republican ever said what Governor Bredesen said this week about sexual orientation, he would be criticized as a bigot.
Well, let's check out what the governor said (via Bill Hobbs):
"I certainly have said frequently over the years that I would happily promote hire or discharge of people in state government without regard to sexual orientation or anything like that," he said. "But it seems to me that's a long way from putting official imprimatur of the state on a union where, you know, there's many thousands of years of history to the contrary. It strikes me as unnecessary and contrary to the values of most Americans."
I'll agree that a Democrat will generally get more of a pass on the second part of those remarks than a Republican would (how different is this position from, say, George W. Bush's--actually, since Bush has stated that he is in favor of civil unions while this statement would seem to take those out of contention for Bredesen's favor--maybe Bush's is
different!), but you have to take that comment in the context of the one preceding it, that makes clears that Governor Bredesen believes that sexual orientation should be a non-issue in government personnel practices. Honestly, I've never heard a contemporary Republican really say that--at least not out loud--even though it is a perfectly sensible position.
I wonder why....oh, wait, I know! It's because many grassroots Republicans don't want sexual orientation acknowleged at all, on the theory (I guess) that doing so will somehow legitimate the (again perfectly sensible) proposition that even though the vast majority of people are naturally heterosexual, some are not.
This is why Republicans will keep getting the "bigot" label. Honestly, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Coming soon: what Christian Right Republican have in common with teachers' union Democrats! (We can hardly wait--ed.
P.S. Yes, I know the "ed." is Mickey Kaus' blogging device...I couldn't resist.