Romney, Bachmann, Santorum Sign on to Pledge to ’Investigate’ Gays
How anti-gay are the hopefuls looking to secure the GOP nomination for next year’s White House campaign? A potentially sinister point, buried among many anti-gay provisions, has emerged from a campaign pledge prepared by The National Organization of Marriage (NOM), a powerful group that opposes marriage equality for gay and lesbian families.
NOM invited GOP contenders to sign on earlier this month. Among the document’s provisions is a call for Republican candidates to promise to "investigate" gay Americans if elected president.
Three contenders signed on to the pledge immediately upon its release: Frontrunners Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann, as well as Rick Santorum. All three have burnished their anti-gay credentials. Though Bachmann has muted her homophobic rhetoric while on the campaign trail, she has previously made an array of bizarre claims about gays, including assertions that most gays have suffered abuse, that gays live "very sad lives" because of their sexual orientation, and that to call homosexuals "gay," with its implication of happiness, is "of Satan."
Romney was governor of Massachusetts when that state became the first in the nation to grant legal same-sex marriages seven years ago. While still governor, Romney sought to dilute and limit the scope of marriage equality, even dredging up a racist law from 1913 in order to prevent gay couples from out of state from traveling to Massachusetts to tie the knot.
Rick Santorum is infamous for having compared devoted life partnerships between couples of the same gender with "man on dog" sex. More recently, Santorum -- who trails far behind Romney and Bachmann -- has said that he will not shift the focus of his campaign off social questions, even though many conservatives serious about retaking the White House (gay conservatives among them) counsel keeping fiscal issues first and foremost in any campaign.
All three contenders also favor an amendment to the United States Constitution that would write anti-gay language into the nation’s bedrock law by denying marriage to non-heterosexual American citizens.
Addicting Info reported on Aug. 16 that the three anti-gay politicians had signed on to the NOM campaign pledge, which requires signatories to vow an "investigation" into gays.
The pledge plays up right-wing claims of harassment by thuggish gays in the deeply divisive and bruising campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. That ballot initiative yanked existing marriage rights away from gay and lesbian families in California. There were reports of boycotts and minor vandalism on both sides, with much of the vandalism targeting yard signs expressing support or opposition to the initiative, but the anti-gay fringe right preferentially seized on claims that proponents of the measure had been harassed and threatened.
In the wake of Prop 8’s passage, hundreds of protests took place around the country. Almost all of those protests were carried out peaceably, but in a scant few instances there were ugly episodes of conflict, usually involving gays whose gatherings or traditional neighborhoods were invaded by anti-gay Christians. In one incident in Palm Springs, an elderly woman carrying a Styrofoam cross pushed her way into a candlelight vigil organized by GLBT equality advocates; though most of the vigil’s attendees sought to stay out of her way, two men, angry at the outcome of a vote in which their civil rights had been rescinded at the ballot box, snatched the cross from her and stomped it to pieces.
In another bout, anti-gay Christian proselytizers went to traditionally gay neighborhood the Castro in San Francisco only days after the vote and began to preach to gays there. The group was surrounded by an angry, shouting crowd. Police escorted the group out of the neighborhood. One individual who was at the scene later framed the fracas as an exercise in his own right to freedom of expression, telling the press, "Their rights were respected. They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood."
The fringe right also acted instantly to pin a church fire in Wasilla, Alaska, on gays, though not a scrap of evidence ever emerged that a gay person or persons were behind the blaze, or that the fire -- which appeared to be the work of an arsonist -- was politically motivated.
Anti-gay fringe groups also seized on angry postings to message boards just after Proposition 8 narrowly passed at the ballot box. Enraged gays vented their fury at online gay blogs and news resources, but anti-gay groups were monitoring message boards at those venues and eagerly seized on those postings, promoting them as evidence that gays were universally lawless and violent, and calling for federal investigators to look into the postings and make arrests. (No such calls have ever been made by the fringe right with respect to the routinely violent anti-gay postings made at sites like Free Republic.)