Recently, we have seen some greater outreach to the LGBT community from the Republican Party. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and others all make the same argument, which goes something like this: The Republican Party is better for gays because ISIS.
Seriously, that’s it: ISIS and reactionary governments in the Islamic Middle East discriminate, kill, and castrate gays. The Republican Party will keep those people out of the United States and take the fight to them from Syria to Iran to Libya. Ted Cruz wanted to carpet bomb them. Hillary Clinton will not: Her lax immigration and poor anti-terrorism policies will allow more radical Jihadists to come into this country to target gay people. Therefore, vote Republican.
The train of thought is remarkable, if only because its riddled with fallacies and misdirection. Saying you support the LGBT community because you only discriminate and demonize rather than kills us like ISIS is like saying segregation was a good idea because at least it wasn’t slavery. It is truly baffling. Still, it is worth the time to highlight the craven, sick, and dangerous game Republicans are playing. They are no friends of ours, and they know it. Luckily, we’re not letting their poisonous words stand.
Last night, openly gay New York City Councilman Corey Johnson appeared on Don Lemon’s show on CNN to debate Chris Barron, an openly gay conservative. The clip opens with a montage of Donald Trump reciting and implying the argument above. Mr. Barron parrots it back.
— Corey Johnson (@CoreyinNYC) June 22, 2016
Most obviously, it’s simply wrong to assume that Republican anti-terrorism policies will prevent more attacks on gay people. Most anti-gay attacks are from home grown terrorists, whatever their religion, color, or family background. Carpet bombing ISIS is both stupid and won’t achieve anything. Nor will tens of thousands more “boots on the ground.” And a ban on Muslim immigrants is over-inclusive, heinous, and just wrong. Don’t forget, Republicans also want to give these people easy access to military style assault weapons.
Mr. Barron, Mr. Trump, and Mr. Cruz are also ignoring the Republican Party’s dismal record on gay rights in this country. They oppose marriage equality even though it is the law of the land. They want the federal bench populated by reactionary judges molded from the same hateful cloth as the late-Antonin Scalia. They support broad “religious freedom” exceptions so private parties and public officials can just ignore anti-discrimination laws. They support Kim Davis. They can’t even bring themselves to pass an employment non-discrimination law in the House. They call us names. They spread hate.
But if you watch Mr. Trump and Mr. Barron, you will find yourself in another world entirely in which the Republican Party’s actual record on gay rights either never happened or doesn’t matter. It’s classic misdirection: pay no attention to what’s standing right in front of you because there’s something else out there that’s worse.
Of course there is. There always is and always will be. But that does not erase the facts in front of us.
For every Tony Perkins spewing hate and writing anti-gay legislation in this country, there’s an African politician who kills gay people. For every 30 Republicans that vote “no” on a bill simply because it included an LGBT non-discrimination provision, there are ISIS lunatics throwing gays off of buildings simply for being gay. For every Values Voter Summit that can’t go one minute without demonizing transgender individuals or equating gay marriage to slavery or lumping gays and pedophiles together, there are hundreds of Russians beating the life out of gays.
For our community, unfortunately, there will always be something worse out there. But that doesn’t mean Republican politicians, almost all of whom support policies that oppress LGBTQ Americans, are free to call themselves “pro-gay.”