The Republicans and the Tea Party are hell-bent on making Barack Obama a one-term president, and their tactics are shameful at the very least.
Not only are the conservatives refusing to aid the effort to jump-start an awful economy that went into the toilet under the reckless spending and warmongering by President George W. Bush, one of their own, but they are doing everything in their power to demonize the LGBT community in a blatant attempt to turn out the vote of the Religious Right.
This weekend, most of the Republican presidential candidates — including Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum — are heading to Iowa, home of the first presidential primary in early January, to attend a political forum hosted by CitizenLink, the advocacy affiliate of anti-gay hate group Focus on the Family, and The Family Leader, Focus on the Family’s Iowa policy group headed by anti-gay activist Bob Vander Plaats. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is also involved.
You know NOM, the organization that is listed as a known anti-gay hate group by the well-respected Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a watchdog of hate groups in the U.S.
The same NOM that violates campaign finance laws in efforts to derail marriage equality efforts across the U.S. NOM has sued 23 states to invalidate their elections laws in an attempt to bully their opponents and hide the identity of their donors.
“It’s appalling to see Republican candidates for president trooping to an event sponsored by an anti-gay group such as the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM),” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, who recently wed his longtime partner in New York.
“Presidential candidates should be working to bring our country together to tackle the big problems we confront, not pandering to the low agendas of organizations seeking to divide Americans and attack families,” he said.
“Ironically, kowtowing to anti-gay prejudice is not just bad policy, it is bad politics. A solid majority of Americans, including 59% of independent voters and 70% of voters between 18-34 years old, support the freedom to marry. Anti-gay groups like NOM are out of step with Americans who understand that government has no business putting obstacles in the path of any of us, gay or non-gay, seeking to take care of our loved ones and make ends meet in these tough economic times.”
Wolfson points out that NOM is currently under investigation or facing court battles in multiple states for flouting campaign finance laws. Four federal judges and three state boards, from California to Maine, have rejected NOM’s accusations of “harassment” by LGBT advocates and determined that the organization is not exempt from state disclosure rules.
The only leading Republican who has not committed to the Iowa forum is Mitt Romney, who as a Mormon is not being embraced by the Religious Right, Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Romney has not been very active in Iowa, where the conservative movement is dominated by the Religious Right. Vander Plaats, for example, has feverishly worked to undermine marriage equality in Iowa, and led efforts to recall state supreme court justices who supported gay marriage.
The other Mormon Republican, John Huntsman, apparently has declined to attend.
Fred Karger, the first-ever openly gay Republican presidential candidate, naturally was not invited to attend the forum hosted by the anti-gay groups. Poor Karger. He is perhaps the only credible Republican presidential candidate, but the Republican power brokers refuse to allow him to participate in any of their debates. Karger, to his credit, has continued his grass-roots efforts while campaigning hard in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two primary states where he is hoping for a miracle.
So the question remains: Why are the Republican presidential candidates supporting anti-gay hate groups, advocating institutionalized homophobia, and refusing to accept the fact that they are on the wrong side of history?
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at [email protected], @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.