Lesbian Notions – Spoiled for Choice

Who would have ever thought that gay Republicans would be spoiled for choice in the upcoming presidential primaries? There are actually two Republican contenders who support us, in some way, although with reservations, caveats, and conditions.
Neither supports same-sex marriage. But let’s be honest – neither do the leading Democrats.
Rudy Giuliani is solidly in the civil union camp, with a record of signing a generous domestic-partner law into effect when he was New York City’s mayor. He supports gay rights – anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws – and when his marriage to Donna Hanover hit the skids, he moved in with a gay couple so that he could canoodle with his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Judith Nathan.
So I guess you can say that both personally and politically, he’s OK with the gays. (For a hysterical bit of him in drag, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IrE6FMpai8.)
Giuliani is also pro-choice, although he tries to mollify the radical Christian Republicans on the abortion issue with his undying love and affection for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (clearly anti-choice), and his contention that, as president, he would appoint strict constitutional constructionists.
Another issue where Giuliani diverges with the radical Christian mullahs guiding the moral center of the GOP is gun control. They’re against, and, of course, Giuliani supports it – he was the mayor of New York. He brought down crime by taking guns off the street – and giving unprecedented power to the police department. He also cleaned up the city.
I’m sure there are many in the Big Apple’s LGBT community who considered Giuliani’s actions to be sanitizing the city, not just cleaning it up. But for this girl from Long Island who has spent the last 30 years living in Albany, I have to tell you it is nice to go visit and feel safe on the streets. Yes, Disney may have taken over 42nd Street, but, from my perspective, I’d rather see The Lion King than signs for “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and guys, guys, guys walking out of peep shows with their zippers still undone.
And then there’s 9/11. Almost six years after the fact, Giuliani is still considered “America’s Mayor.” When he starts talking about fighting terrorism, he has a credibility – whether you agree with him or not – that can’t be undermined by political doublespeak, Democratic or Republican.
While some radical Christians may have trouble with Rudy because he’s been divorced twice and is pro-gay-rights and pro-choice, the looking-for-a-reason-to-get-excited, middle-of-the-road Republicans (as well as independents) may well get energized by his tough stand on terror. Like no other candidate for either side, he can talk about our borders being breached by terrorists and the impact it had on this nation’s greatest city.
Then there’s U.S. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). While Rudy’s popularity surges as he supports the troop surge in Iraq, McCain’s campaign is faltering under the weight of his support for the war. Go figure.
When it comes to our issues, McCain supports basic civil rights for LGBT people – like protection from being fired from your job or thrown out of your apartment – but is a little schizophrenic when it comes to marriage equality. He was vocal in his opposition to the federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but then in 2006 supported an amendment to his state’s constitution that would have also denied recognition to any type of legal status for our relationships. Thankfully, the voters didn’t listen, and the state amendment failed 51 percent to 49.
McCain is also not a darling of the Christian right. He’s gotten into some hot water with them over the years. They were categorically dismayed by his opposition to the federal amendment and for taking Bob Jones University to task during his 2000 presidential bid. The school, a Christian fundamentalist college, bans interracial dating – McCain thinks that’s not right.
However, McCain’s penchant for power is outpacing his politics. He has been playing footsie with Jerry Falwell and recently spoke at a pro-abstinence event in South Carolina. McCain’s actions, however, don’t play with political idiot savant James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who says “no way” to McCain.
In an attempt to deflect attention away from his lukewarm support for us, McCain’s camp intends to target Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping on LGBT issues. McCain has hired Rob Gray, a former Romney political operative out of Boston, to help him shape his New England strategy and pick away at Mitt’s new-found social conservatism.
Rudy Giuliani and John McCain – are gay Republicans spoiled for choice, or faced with pretty slim pickings? If the country continues in the direction it’s headed, it really won’t matter – the electorate will be so sick and tired of Bush and Iraq, they’ll clamor for the anti-George candidate, the Democratic nominee.
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Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached at LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.

Libby Post

Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media.

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