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Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge: GOP Needs to Stop Discriminating Against Gay People

Now a businessman, consultant and philanthropist, former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge tells the WSJ that the Republican party needs to stop discriminating against gays:

Ridge“I think, as a party, we sometimes come across as very judgmental and very self-righteous, and that doesn’t play well to a lot of people,” he said. “Not just on political grounds, but in terms of the culture. We accept diversity in many different ways, and we need to be more clear about that and careful to express that.”

In particular, Ridge urged a more expansive approach to what he termed “the gay community,” noting that increased familiarity with gay people tends to lead to less judgmental politics. “I think that’s the right way to be,” he said. “Younger Americans on both sides of the aisle are saying, ‘Live and let live.’ ”

Asked about same-sex marriage, Ridge said he had no particular point of view. “It’s one of those situations where I’d leave it up to the state.”

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  1. WOW!...Interesting and surprising.

    Posted by: VDUFFORD | Apr 18, 2012 3:59:52 PM

  2. He is telling Republicans not to beat a dead horse.
    That's not quite the same thing as riding to our rescue.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Apr 18, 2012 4:07:07 PM

  3. So tired to Republicans speaking out AFTER they leave office.

    Posted by: Paul | Apr 18, 2012 4:09:37 PM

  4. "Sometimes"?

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 18, 2012 4:18:26 PM

  5. Why didn't he say this while he was in office?

    Posted by: Logan | Apr 18, 2012 4:19:35 PM

  6. Convenient to say now that he is retired, but should we look this gift horse in the mouth? I am not at all read on the subject so I am probably wrong about this, but I have never heard of him being specificly homophobic before, so it may not be crass hypocrisy. Better late than never, perhaps? Every little bit helps, maybe?

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 18, 2012 4:22:49 PM

  7. "Republicans don't discriminate against gays, Democrats do!" scream the boys of GOProud....

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 18, 2012 4:24:24 PM

  8. His comments are really surprising coming from a Pennsylvania Republican. The usual line about LGBT people from Pennsylvania GOP members usually resembles the ugliness coming out of Rick Santorum's frothy mouth.

    Posted by: Sean | Apr 18, 2012 4:35:20 PM

  9. Good to hear - but since green cards go through DHS, how does he feel about allowing gays to sponsor their partners in states where marriage is outlawed? He ought to have a much clearer position on that.

    Posted by: DN | Apr 18, 2012 4:44:21 PM

  10. Damned if they do, damned if they don't--that is the attitude most of you people have about Republicans and gay rights, isn't it?

    Well, that's OK--the Republican Party IS changing and becoming more welcoming to gay people (nearly 30% of whom voted for McCain in '08) and that will be good for all of us in the long run, since it will force Democrats to compete for our votes by actually acting on our issues rather than just paying lip service to them, which is their typical MO.

    Too bad that some of you are so lacking in perspective that you apparently can't see that (or just care more about the agenda of the Far Left than you do about advancing gay rights).

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 18, 2012 4:47:22 PM

  11. I think Rick has a point here! Though I am died in the wool Democrat
    you need both parties to get anything done. Just take a look at the last 4 years...just say en.
    But this an election year we need to be aware of pandering politics.

    Posted by: VDUFFORD | Apr 18, 2012 5:56:47 PM

  12. so...leave the matter of full equality up to the disgraceful ad hoc state-by-state process we have going on right now? instead of ensuring it at the federal level?

    you're such a visionary, mr. ridge.

    Posted by: redball | Apr 18, 2012 6:11:28 PM

  13. Every little bit helps. Hopefully Ridge still has some influence in the GOP.

    Posted by: Swiminbuff | Apr 18, 2012 6:45:42 PM

  14. A lot of talk lately about how the Republicans aren't really so anti gay and several articles written about this, so I'd say it's election season & time to court the independents. If you ignore all the pro gay republican chatter you'll notice things like the don't say gay bill pushing its way to the TN governor.

    The new softer rhetoric on gay rights does not match the action, the marriage amendments, the don't say Gay, the pro Christian bullying Republican driven bills and I'd take it all with a grain of salt.

    Posted by: sara | Apr 18, 2012 7:40:52 PM

  15. @Sara
    Good points. I imagine it is pandering and do take it with a grain of salt. And I am happy to have the independants pandered to this way instead of pandered to by attacking gays. It is a very good thing that the way to court independants is to be gay positive.
    Am I reading this wrong? Really, I had not seen your angle and I think I could still be missing something here.

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 18, 2012 7:45:59 PM

  16. @ Rick

    You have this completely reversed. It's the Democrats who have forced the Republicans to become more actively engaged in gay issues. Were it not for Democrats, there would be no reversal of DADT, no gains in marriage equality, and no evolution of general public acceptance. It's only because of these actions that the Republicans are even acknowledging gay people. Left to their own
    devices over the past decades, there would have been no progress in gay rights.

    Now that the majority is favoring marriage equality, the Republicans are downplaying its role in politics. They see it as a losing battle, not a victory for equal rights.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Apr 18, 2012 9:42:11 PM

  17. whydidnt hesay it when he was in office - a common comment

    Because like most tyrannies, the repub party will eat its own if they dont say yes sir to any hatefull comment.

    Prediction - the party splits into the extremist xtian talibangelicals and the libertarians.

    Nothing would be better then putting the nut case xtians in a minority. where their hate is understood by the majority.

    Posted by: billywingardenson | Apr 18, 2012 9:57:57 PM

  18. Good lord, people. Don't you remember the same all schtick just before the 2008 election? And just before the 2004 election? And just before the 2000 election?

    Some retired GOP guy who was "widely respected" says some relatively nice things but can't do a damned thing about 'em, of course.

    It's just about raising money from naive gay people who lean right.

    Posted by: BobN | Apr 19, 2012 3:07:26 AM

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