Politics Gets Simple

BTL Editorial

If you have a TV set you have most likely been subjected to the barrage of political ads this summer. It is so easy to tune them out and begin thinking that Romney/Ryan and the rest of the Republicans are about the same as Obama/Biden and the Democrats. That old adage that there is "really no difference between the parties and all politicians are alike" kicking in. But as we approach two weeks of nonstop political coverage of the two major parties' conventions - the Republicans will gather in Tampa starting Aug. 27 and the Democrats in Charlotte the following week - the stark differences between the parties and their candidates has never been more clear - especially on LGBT issues.

On same-sex marriage for instance, the Democrats made history a few weeks ago here in Detroit when the platform committee approved same-sex marriage equality as a goal of the Democratic Party, following President Obama's announcement of his personal support in May. In contrast, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney believes in amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, and his choice of running mate, Paul Ryan, twice voted in support of the failed Federal Marriage Amendment, in 2004 and 2006.

With Ryan's selection last week, the Republican Party is suffering a widening credibility gap with LGBT voters, women and just about any minority group except that of the very rich. Ryan has voted to ban adoption by gay couples and he voted against the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. He also voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr, Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009.

Last year, Ryan joined with Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) as two of the original co-sponsors of the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill which, among other things, introduced the country to the bizarre term "forcible rape." Then just this week, now U.S. Senate candidate Akin created a political firestorm by saying, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," an outrageous affront to all women and any thinking person. Even though Ryan and the rest of the Republican establishment is running from Aikn's remarks, the record is clear. A Romney/Ryan administration would eviscerate a woman's right to choose, as would any Supreme Court justices selected by them.

On LGBT employment issues, Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans in 1994 that he would sponsor ENDA if elected to the U.S. Senate. Then in 2006 he told National Journal that ENDA would "open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges." He dismissed ENDA, saying, "I don't see the need for new or special legislation." Although Ryan voted in favor of ENDA in 2007, just five minutes earlier he voted to use a parliamentary maneuver to kill the bill, prompting openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to blast him as disingenuous. The bill ultimately died.

Gay Republican groups like the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud have used Ryan's one procedural vote in 2007 as proof that the Republicans are closeted supporters of LGBT rights. These groups have twisted themselves into rhetorical pretzels to endorse the Romney/Ryan ticket. We could waste much space and ink on their delusional positions, but instead we ask you, our readers, to use your common sense. The Democrats and the Obama/Biden ticket stand for equality for LGBT people. The Republicans and Romney/Ryan simply do not. The choice is very simple. And for those who may still be confused remember that Mitt Romney attended Cranbrook Academy right here in greater Detroit where he terrorized a fellow gay student. Do you really want a bully in the White House?

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