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.”


  1. H8Str8s says

    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?

  2. Sean says

    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.

  3. DN says

    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.

  4. Rick says

    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).

  5. VDUFFORD says

    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.

  6. redball says

    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.

  7. sara says

    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.

  8. H8Str8s says

    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.

  9. gr8guyca says

    @ 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.

  10. billywingardenson says

    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.

  11. BobN says

    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.

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