‘Evolution’ in Connecticut

by Stephen H. Miller on October 8, 2012

In Connecticut’s close U.S. Senate race between Republican former WWE CEO Linda McMahon and Democrat U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, AP reports that:

[Murphy accused McMahon] of not being a strong supporter of women’s rights, such as the right to have an abortion. McMahon reiterated Sunday that she does support abortion rights, but that she believed a proposed amendment to the federal health care reform overhaul that required all employers to cover the cost of contraception was overreaching.

McMahon also stated Sunday that she supports gay marriage, which is legal in Connecticut, and would vote to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union between a man and woman for federal purposes. It marked a change in position for McMahon, the Republicans’ 2010 Senate candidate, whose support for repealing DOMA had been questioned by gay rights activists in the past.

“I have changed my position on DOMA because with now gay marriage approved in the state of Connecticut, I don’t think it’s fair,” McMahon told reporters after the debate, adding how those married gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples for federal benefits. McMahon said her opinion on DOMA has been evolving.

Murphy seized on McMahon’s comments, saying he was only candidate who has consistently supported gay rights.

Either we want the Republicans to “evolve” on gay issues, or we don’t because it’s better for the Democrats if they stay benighted.

{ 13 comments }

Barry Deutsch October 8, 2012 at 2:36 am

I think it’s great she’s evolved, and the more Republicans feel obliged to take pro-gay positions the better. But:

1) I think you’re really unrealistic if you think the person running against her in a current campaign should be expected to praise her, rather than argue that his views are better than hers.

2) If she’s under more pressure to strongly commit to her newly formed pro-gay views during the campaign, then she’ll feel more obligated to keep to those views once she’s elected.

Tom Scharbach October 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

Either we want the Republicans to “evolve” on gay issues, or we don’t because it’s better for the Democrats if they stay benighted.

I don’t understand. Who doesn’t “want the Republicans to ‘evolve’ on gay issues”?

We all want to have have two 100% pro-equality candidates, one Democrat and one Republican, running against each other in every race in every election cycle, so that we can vote on other issues of importance to us.

What is wrong with a longstanding 100% pro-equality Democratic candidate touting his record on “equal means equal”, or contrasting it with the record of the Republican candidate? Political candidates contrast their records all the time on all sorts of issues. Why should equality issues equality issues be treated differently?

Stephen, your complaint is essentially identical to the complaint you made in the previous post (One Month (or So) to Go), in which you suggested that an openly gay, 100% pro-equality Democratic candidate for Congress ran against a 50% pro-equality Republican incumbent to keep the Republican Party anti-equality: “New York Congresswoman Nan Hayworth is one of the best GOP House members on gay issues, so of course LGBT Democrats are going all out to defeat her.

That’s nonsensical.

LGBT Democrats want the Republican Party to come to its senses on equality issues. We are glad when Republican candidates support equality. But we are Democrats. We work to find 100% pro-equality Democratic candidates and then work to get them elected to public office because we stand together on equality issues and other issues of importance to us. We will continue to do that even when the Republican Party runs 100% pro-equality candidates in every race.

LGBT Democrats are not trying to sabotage pro-equality Republicans when we run 100% pro-equality Democrats. We are trying to elect 100% pro-equality Democrats.

Houndentenor October 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

It’s a strawman argument. I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t like the GOP to join the 20th century on civil rights issues. Unfortunately I regularly near the N-word, as well as sexist and homophobic talk from my Republican relatives, coworkers and neighbors. That’s the reality in the red states. McMahon is a Republican running in a blue state and has learned that she cannot sign on to the regressive social agenda of her own party if she hopes to win. That indeed is progress. Not progress that will affect anyone’s life, but progress. I don’t know of any gay person who would say otherwise. Strawman punditry is beneath you, Mr Miller.

Houndentenor October 8, 2012 at 9:59 am

Also, it looks like someone needs to school McMahon on gay rights issues and current law.

http://www.towleroad.com/2012/10/murphymcmahon.html

Jorge October 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm

“Either we want the Republicans to “evolve” on gay issues, or we don’t because it’s better for the Democrats if they stay benighted.”

“I think it’s great she’s evolved”

“We all want to have have two 100% pro-equality candidates, one Democrat and one Republican, running against each other in every race in every election cycle, so that we can vote on other issues of importance to us.”

“I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t like the GOP to join the 20th century on civil rights issues.”

VICTORY!
VIVA LA REVOLUCION!
VENI VIDI VICI!

Evidently Mr. Miller raised a bobo doll instead of a strawman–it gets knocked down in both directions.

Tom Scharbach October 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Evidently Mr. Miller raised a bobo doll instead of a strawman–it gets knocked down in both directions.

I don’t know what Stephen was trying to raise, but the idea that Democrats run and support pro-equality Democratic candidates in order to somehow slow down progress toward “equal means equal” in the Republican Party is ludicrous.

What does he want us to do when the Republicans run someone halfway decent on equality issues? Break out the palm leaves and practice our “Hosanna’s”?

BTW, for anyone interested, this is a more detailed report of the debate contremps than the summary offered by the AP report quoted by Stephen:

The biggest gaffe during the debate came when McMahon answered a question concerning homosexual marriage by responding “I absolutely support America’s law for same-sex marriage.”

The problem, which Murphy pointed out, is that the federal 1996 Defense of Marriage Act specifically recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman.

Six states including Connecticut allow full same-sex marriage.

“America doesn’t have a law protecting same-sex marriage, in fact it has the exact opposite,” Murphy said. “The fact that Linda McMahon only spent 20 seconds answering that question tells you that she’s not going to stand up to her party in Washington when it comes to these issues that right now are being dominated by the social right in Washington.”

McMahon defended herself as an independent thinker who “will absolutely differ from my party.” She added that like Murphy, she too would have voted to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that governed homosexuals in the military.

Speaking after the debate, McMahon indicated that she had meant to say she wouldn’t vote for measures that would end same-sex marriage in Connecticut. “I’m a supporter of gay marriage,” she said.

McMahon also told reporters she has changed her earlier position on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and is now willing to repeal it.

Mike in Houston October 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Thank you for your continued patience with the posters in this forum… I stop by occasionally just to see if there’s anything substantive being discussed beyond the usual polemics (e.g., whining).

This latest post continues the theme of “objectively pro-LGBT Democrats are being mean to semi-pro-LGBT Republicans” simply because we aren’t fawning over micromovements like first-time parents cooing at their child for getting most of their poop in the potty trainer.

What I have yet to see on this site is a point-by-point measurable plan for LGBT GOPers to engage within the GOP to shift the party towards the mainstream of American politics on LGBT issues.

Within the Democratic Party (notice the “ic”), pro-LGBT forces have lined up the money, the candidates, done the hardline pushing & prodding and worked for more than a decade to get LGBT people at all levels of the party apparatus… to the point where it’s no longer a wedge issue within the party and the broader American public.

I have yet to see the same level of action (or even planning) on the other side.

Don October 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Ditto.

North Dallas Thirty October 11, 2012 at 1:29 am

Which is, of course, why you and your fellow Obama Party members and leaders scream that gay and lesbian Republicans are “Uncle Toms”, race traitors, kapos, Nazis, and the like.

It seems odd that you insist you want the Republican Party to change while simultaneously demonizing and trying to destroy the people in the best position to do it.

What Republicans have realized, Mike in Houston, is that gays and lesbians like yourself, paid Obama Party staffer Tom Scharbach, and Don are really nothing more than irrational bigots hiding behind your sexual orientation. Like your racist friends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, you go to the Obama Party because it still believes that skin color and minority status should trump character and performance.

Republicans see no reason to reward people like yourself who are hatemongering bigots. You want handouts because of your sexual orientation. You abuse governmental power and positions to punish people who disagree with you and shut down their businesses. And since you blame your behavior and your hatemongering on your sexual orientation, they are taking you at face value.

Houndentenor October 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Another example of strawman argument. ^^^

Don October 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

yeah. you got me there. i have totally changed my mind.

but next time, be sure to ask “why is it you hate America so much?” and the ever popular “why do you want the troops to die?” otherwise, you’re just a RINO who can’t demagogue with the big dogs.

Tom Scharbach October 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Another example of strawman argument.

I don’t know that Dan’s rants rise to the level of “argument”, but his invective is standard rhetoric among the Republican base. I hear this drek all the time from rural Wisconsin Tea Party types.

TomJeffersonIII October 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

1. Gay Democrats are probably going to support Democrats and gay Republicans are probably going to support Republicans and gay Greens are probably going to support the Green Party and gay libertarians….Do you get the idea?

2. I can be argued that their needs to be a bi or tri-partisan group in America that trying to help the parties ‘evolve’ on gay rights issue. It can be argued that the gay rights groups that do exist do not really fit the bill. It can be argued that helping to elect ‘evolved’ Democrats, Republicans or Independents is a good thing.
But its probably a little silly to expect EVERY single gay person “we” to totally abandon their political beliefs (for better or for the worse) every time that an election cycle roles out and be ready to ‘take on’ for the larger team.

Either we want the Republicans to “evolve” on gay issues, or we don’t because it’s better for the Democrats if they stay benighted.

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