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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

A civil victory – by default

Imagine someone hunting you down, legally blocking you in every way, impeding your progress by any means necessary and then suddenly stopping. The reason they stop is not because they accept you or your lifestyle, but because it’s just not politically feasible to persecute or oppose you anymore. Talk about adding insult to victory.  

This is the reality that many same-sex couples could experience  in the near future. The New York Times recently covered former chairman of the Republican National Committee Ken Mehlman’s coming out and the lack of reaction to it. In the article, the The New York Times paints the image that gay marriage just isn’t an issue to Republicans or Americans anymore. The headline reads: “”Gay Bush Aide?  No Bombshell in Age of Fiscal Cares.”” Additionally, the piece cites Tea Party movements that advocate fixing economic matters, rather than focusing on social issues as a noticeable change in the party agenda.

So, in other words, if Republican pocketbooks weren’t hurting so badly, they would be right back to fighting gays away from the altar. It’s surprising that the political party that has been both admired and knocked for being notoriously concerned with “”moral decisions”” (such as abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage) has finally abandoned its moral course for what it really cares most about: money.

The article lists Dick Cheney, Laura Bush and former “”John McCain for President”” chief strategist Steve Schmidt as conservatives who have changed their stance on gay marriage. In fact, Schmidt once pledged his support of gay marriage to a group of gay conservatives, because his sister is gay, and Cheney has now chimed in due to the well-known sexual orientation of his daughter. This rationale just doesn’t seem to fit. Saying that you now side in favor of gay marriage, because a relative of yours is gay, is about as believable as saying, “”I can’t be racist, my friend is African American.””  

Now, speaking optimistically, people and opinions do evolve and their environments or families can produce a significant change in character. The only deterrent from believing this in the case with conservatives and gay marriage is a statement made by a former Bush re-election strategist Matthew Dowd. In The New York Times piece, Dowd cited polling information in which conservative voters listed terrorism, taxes, and the war in Iraq as the issues that would bring them to the polls.  

Translation: If I’m not scared or threatened by it, I don’t care.  

On the bright side, the The New York Times continues to cite Gallup polls that suggest a slight majority of Americans see gay marriage as “”morally acceptable.””  This is a comforting civil rights victory for gay Americans, and could provide eventual progress for them in their quest for equality. Nonetheless, don’t put your faith in the Grand Old Party having truly changed its stance because it agrees with the public opinion. This all seems to be politically driven, and therefore upsetting.  

I cannot speak for the homosexual community, but, speaking as a civil rights advocate, I am hopeful that gay men and women can be delivered their equality. I am hopeful that one day we can say that, in America, everyone enjoys equal rights because they deserve to, not because we’ve got more important matters to focus on.

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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