Barney Frank Defends Assertion That Gay Republican Role Model is ‘Uncle Tom’

The damaging aspect of the Log Cabin argument, to repeat the most important point, is that they may mislead people who do not share their view that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than LGBT rights into thinking that they are somehow helping the latter by supporting Mitt Romney and his Rick Santorum platform.
 
It is a good thing for Republicans to try to influence other Republicans to be supportive of LGBT rights.  The problem is when they pretend to be successful when they haven’t been, and urge people to join them in rewarding the Republicans when they have in fact continued their anti-LGBT stance.  I have been hearing the Log Cabin Republicans proclaim for years that they were improving the view of that party towards our legal equality.  In fact, over the past 20 years, things have gotten worse, not better.  Most recently, on DOMA, when the House Republicans offered an amendment to reaffirm it, they voted 98% in favor of it, while Democrats voted more than 90% against the amendment.  And it is not surprising that they have not been successful.  Giving strong political support to people who are maintaining their anti-LGBT stance is hardly an effective strategy for getting them to change it.
 
The argument Mr. Cooper and the others in the Log Cabin Republicans have put forward in their defense is that they have succeeded in getting the Republicans to reduce the extent to which they denounce us, and, in Mr. Cooper’s phrase, the fact that Paul Ryan is “willing to engage” with gay Republicans.  That is where Uncle Tom comes to mind.  They are urging people to vote for the anti-LGBT candidate over the most supportive LGBT candidate and platform imaginable because the “antis” are calling us fewer names and are willing to talk to some of us.  It is this willingness to acquiesce in a subordinate status as long as the masters are kinder in tone, although in substance, that emulates Uncle Tom.
 
I note Mr. Cooper points to a couple of Republicans as reasons for supporting that party and helping advance its anti-LGBT crusade.  As to Representative Ryan, in addition to his “willingness to engage with them,” Mr. Cooper cites his vote for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.  In fact, Paul Ryan has an overwhelmingly anti-LGBT voting record, including opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and a transgender-inclusive hate crimes bill, and support for a constitutional amendment not just to ban future same-sex marriages but to dissolve existing ones.  It is true that on one occasion he voted for ENDA, but he did so only after voting minutes before for a Republican procedural maneuver – a motion to recommit the bill – which falsely invoked the specter that passage of ENDA would compel same-sex marriage and which, if it had passed, would have killed the bill.  In other words, Paul Ryan has always voted against us, except for one occasion when he voted for us only after first trying to make the bill he theoretically supported inoperative.
 
Mr. Cooper also cites Susan Collins.  She was very good on the question of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  But the argument that supporting Susan Collins advances LGBT rights ignores the fact that Senator Collins has twice defeated Democrats who were far more supportive of our issues than she was.  And an example of that is the current referendum in the state of Maine on marriage.  We have a very good chance of winning in Maine, and winning a referendum is important both for the substantive rights of the people in Maine and for the political point that it demonstrates.  Unlike the two Democratic Representatives from Maine, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, Susan Collins has been stubbornly silent.  That is, in a state where marriage is on the ballot, and in a year in which she is not up for reelection, Senator Collins is withholding her support from us, unlike any Democrat who would have run against her.  And remember, these are the best that the Log Cabin Republicans can cite.
 
Some have complained that in comparing the Log Cabin Republicans to Uncle Tom, I was ignoring the fact that they are nice.  I accept the fact that many of them are nice – so was Uncle Tom – but in both cases, they’ve been nice to the wrong people.

Comments

  1. Strepsi says

    BAZINGA!
    +1000 for Barney Frank.

    I love this:
    “That is where Uncle Tom comes to mind. They are urging people to vote for the anti-LGBT candidate over the most supportive LGBT candidate and platform imaginable because the “antis” are calling us fewer names and are willing to talk to some of us. It is this willingness to acquiesce in a subordinate status as long as the masters are kinder in tone, although not in substance, that emulates Uncle Tom.”

  2. gregory brown says

    Bravo. In a time when someone makes a statement that provokes strongly negative responses, then returns a day or so later to say the original was a “mis-statement” or “mis-spoken”, Barney Frank sticks with what he said and goes farther into his reasons for saying it.

    That’s refreshing.

  3. says

    Barney Frank is absolutely right and another great gay role model for the gay community. I have never understood why any gay person would sign on with the Republican party. I feel the same way about Republican African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and all other minorities. To me why on earth would anyone ever support a group of people who would deny you the same equal rights that they themselves demand?

  4. disgusted american says

    as a 52yr old OUT Gay man since 1980…Im F’n TIRED of MY Life, My Very Existance being Cannon Fodder for the RightWing assholes……Brarnie Frank is ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY RIGHT!

  5. Jack says

    Maybe they’ll admit it, Barney, when you acknowledge that your party is the one that caused them to do so by presuming it knows best for everyone and everything.

    Perhaps if the Democrats cared about freedom (and lets be clear here, the Republicans don’t care about freedom either) in ALL regards rather than just LGBT equality, then no gay would ever feel the need to leave the party.

    But the fact is that Frank also sets up straw men. It sounds really nice to say “oh you let your economic interests outweigh your interests in equality,” but to paint it as something that simple is outright absurd, disingenuous, and full of fallacy. The government has been on the warpath taking freedom from the people. Does that affect my economic interests? Sure it does. But it’s not ABOUT my economic interests. It’s about the natural right of every person to live their life as they see fit with minimal government interference. Right now, we’re headed down the path of US having the ask the government if we’re allowed to do something, rather than the government having to ask US. That should be a scary thought to any liberty-loving individual. And we’ll continue down that path if either a D or R is elected.

  6. Inside says

    The Democratic party assumes they have the gay vote. The Republican party assumed they don’t have the gay vote.

    Why should either one work to pander to our community?

  7. RyanInWyo (formerly RyanInSacto) says

    Jack, what people who espouse the beliefs you espouse call “interference” is often referred to as “protection of civil rights” by the rest of us. If you are not interested in living in a society, then by all means, leave. I hear that Somalia, for example, has very little in the way of government interference. You can have complete enjoyment, such as it is, of your natural rights there. I, on the other hand, prefer civil rights which is what one receives from consenting to live in a functioning state. If you’d like a list of other failed states, where you can be “free”, here’s a link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Failed_States_Index#Political

    Also, here’s a link to Expedia where you can book your flight to your chosen free/failed state (assuming it has an operating airport):
    http://www.expedia.com/

    Bon voyage!

  8. RyanInWyo (formerly RyanInSacto) says

    Inside: The Republican party works to assure that it will never get the gay vote. Stop pretending they are the victims of something out of their control. For example, see the post above this one:

    Ann Romney Booked to Speak at Family Research Council’s ‘Values Voter Summit’

    Did the gays make her accept that invite?

  9. Mike in nyc says

    Gay republicans are such hopeless self-loathing miscreants,
    Barney let them off easy. Gruesome to watch Log Cabin tools
    lick the feet of Karl Rove and others who have made a career
    out of demonizing gay people.

    When I hear the words “gay republican” that’s when I reach for my
    revolver.

  10. Mike in nyc says

    Gay republicans are such hopeless self-loathing miscreants,
    Barney let them off easy. Gruesome to watch Log Cabin tools
    lick the feet of Karl Rove and others who have made a career
    out of demonizing gay people.

    When I hear the words “gay republican” that’s when I reach for my
    revolver.

  11. Patrick says

    Barney Frank is an embarrassment to us all, beginning with his public persona–a bellicose blowhard and buffoon–and continuing with the hustler boyfriend/roommate scandal(a Republican would have been driven from office for a similar adventure), but most importantly for his role in the Fannie Mae debacle. The more gay Republicans the better, the more gay men and women in all influential and powerful positions the better.

  12. MaddM@ says

    Glad that Deomocrats are showing some backbone where they know they are right- I don’t know what misinformed wonk sold them on the idea that wimpy was going to earn votes when Republicans get lauded for courage when they’re lying through their teeth.

    I was also glad to hear the number of people voting “No” at the convention to add God to the party platform. Interesting that it’s the supposed “free to live your life” party that demands worship of a Judeo-Christian god to the exclusion of all others

  13. thevegastyleguy says

    I am Black and know Black history. I am an activist and strongly believe that our struggle is the New Civil Rights movement. Barney Frank is correct, LCR are nothing but a bunch of Uncle Toms. May I also add in that they are also a bunch of Kapos?

    Derek Washington
    Stonewall Democrats in Nevada

  14. thevegastyleguy says

    I am Black and know Black history. I am an activist and strongly believe that our struggle is the New Civil Rights movement. Barney Frank is correct, LCR are nothing but a bunch of Uncle Toms. May I also add in that they are also a bunch of Kapos?

    Derek Washington
    Stonewall Democrats in Nevada

  15. Nat says

    “Jack, what people who espouse the beliefs you espouse call “interference” is often referred to as “protection of civil rights””

    Really? So you think the ‘interferences’ created through the War on Terror constitute civil rights protections?

    “If you are not interested in living in a society, then by all means, leave. I hear that Somalia, for example, has very little in the way of government interference.”

    Completely disingenuous. The United States is a democracy. People are fully entitled to use democracy – a means – to pursue their desired ends.

    Incidentally, Somalia has a great deal of government interference. Only it tends to be punctuated and violent in its effect on Somalians.

    I agree with the substance of Frank’s analysis of the LCR, but I also think both parties promulgate detrimental policies on American citizens, and unduly abrogate their basic rights to individual liberty.

  16. Nat says

    “Jack, what people who espouse the beliefs you espouse call “interference” is often referred to as “protection of civil rights””

    Really? So you think the ‘interferences’ created through the War on Terror constitute civil rights protections?

    “If you are not interested in living in a society, then by all means, leave. I hear that Somalia, for example, has very little in the way of government interference.”

    Completely disingenuous. The United States is a democracy. People are fully entitled to use democracy – a means – to pursue their desired ends.

    Incidentally, Somalia has a great deal of government interference. Only it tends to be punctuated and violent in its effect on Somalians.

    I agree with the substance of Frank’s analysis of the LCR, but I also think both parties promulgate detrimental policies on American citizens, and unduly abrogate their basic rights to individual liberty.

  17. M. Scott Hernandez says

    I love you
    You love me
    We’re best friends like friends should be
    With a great big hug and
    A kiss from me to you
    Won’t you say you love me too?

    We all play on the same team.
    Friends can agree to disagree.

  18. Icebloo says

    I’m with Barney. There was no need for him to explain and I am glad he didn’t apologize.

    The idiot right wing gays have pushed our rights back for years. THEY are the reason we are so far behind the rest of the western world with our human rights. They hate themselves so they have done their best to ruin our lives too !

    They are HORRIBLE, STUPID & SELFISH morons. They are too stupid to be given a vote.

  19. Icebloo says

    I’m with Barney. There was no need for him to explain and I am glad he didn’t apologize.

    The idiot right wing gays have pushed our rights back for years. THEY are the reason we are so far behind the rest of the western world with our human rights. They hate themselves so they have done their best to ruin our lives too !

    They are HORRIBLE, STUPID & SELFISH morons. They are too stupid to be given a vote.

  20. Chad says

    Wow the fact that any gay person would vote Republican is sickening. I’m in the 1% and like many gays would never vote for the GOP, who demonize and fight every gay rights issue/person. Is someone saying that Obama who made it possible for gays to serve in the military and now has openly called for the ability for gays to marry at the convention and Democratic platform is somehow not doing enough. It’s historic and any gay person voting for Romney in this election is sub-human.

  21. Frank says

    Keep hating Barney. 1980 – 1987 Ronald Reagan didn’t mention AIDS and you stayed in the closet while thousand of us died. In 1978 the LCR convinced former governor Ronald Reagan to denounce the Briggs initiative that would ban gays and lesbians from teaching in California public schools. In 2004 the LCR sued the USA challenging the constitutionality of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell which started the ball rolling on the repeal. The LCR wouldn’t make much of a difference if they converted to LCD. We need a presence in all corners of our government and we need to support all fighting for our rights no matter how hard the challenge.

  22. mikatune says

    I don’t understand the Republican argument of wanting less government interference. If the GOP wants less government and wants people to be free why do they want to revise the constitution to prohibit gay marriages? Why do they want to ban books in public libraries that have gay content? The list goes on. It was the Democrats who established things like fair working conditions and labor laws. If the GOP had their way the rank and file would be working for free and companies would be dumping their toxic waste into their neighbors water wells.

  23. TooBoot says

    Frank, I know you want to think you and the LCR have made a difference, but touting the same 3 examples of some influence over the past 30 years compared to the overwhelmingly positive civil rights advances of the Democrats makes you sound like a deluded, whiny prat. Denial is a sad state of affairs. Grow up and realize you are wrong and maybe then you can actually be affective.

  24. Will says

    Log Cabin Republicans….ugh, give it up already.

    Over 10 years ago, I argued with one at a pride event for over an hour. His argument was that the core principle was to infiltrate the repubs and promote change from within….10 years later and the issue is still fodder for every election. So…hows that working for ya?

    Hypocrites all of them. Barney Frank is absolutely right!

  25. HM2 Matt says

    Neither party has the answer to our economic problems, if you think one party’s ideas are better than the other that’s your prerogative. But the fact of the matter is that economic posterity is useless without the civil rights to enjoy it.

    One party is offering a damn good chance at full equality, the other is actively trying to stifle it. Vote for equality first, when you have it, then you can vote for the economic changes you think will work because one means nothing without the other. The country is not going to fall apart just because we don’t vote conservative right now. It takes years, decades even, for the economic policies of one party to effect real and lasting change on the country. We’ll still be here 4 years from now, the only difference is we may be legally equal to everyone else depending on who we vote into office in November.

    A vote against your own civil rights is an act of treason, both against your community as a homosexual and as an American. You are scum.

  26. Laura says

    Do you know what the gay faction of the Democratic party is called? The Democratic party.

    By even having a GOProud and the LCR, the republican party shows that they are separate and not equal.

    Barney Frank is right. So glad he didn’t back down or apologize.

  27. anon says

    The top three priorities for all national civil rights groups are: raise money, raise money, raise money. The progress on civil rights they all make: zero. The scandal in DC is not what’s abnormal, it’s what’s normal.

  28. DavidHNYC says

    I will miss Barney Frank’s representation in the House but I have spoken to Log Cabin Republicans on any number of occasions and think it is a bit harsh and divisive to refer to them as Uncle Toms. Mr. Frank was closeted for many years, admittedly at a time when he believed he would never win an election if he disclosed his sexuality, but nevertheless must understand that not all LGBT voters are in lock step on priorities. I happen to agree that full equality should be the priority but marriage equality is now an issue before the Supreme Court and, perhaps state governments. LGBT voters have every right to be concerned about the economy and other issues but, as he knows, it is off-putting to engage in name-calling. If his aim is to persuade Log Cabin Republicans to make full equality their top priority, this is not the way to do it.

  29. Jerome Cuffey says

    Barney Frank you speak the truth and we know the republican, I mean the repulsive party can’t stand the truth. I’m a Black American and could not have said it better. THANK YOU!

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