Is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation really a “conservative” value? Not according to Ward Connerly, whom one would be hard-pressed to argue is not conservative enough. He opposes the current effort to deface the California state constitution with anti-gay prejudice; in this interview, mostly about his staunch opposition to affirmative action, Connerly explains his support for GLBT equality:
The government shouldn’t be making distinctions about people on the basis of what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms. And those within my party that try to inject the government into that, they’re not the conservative, I’m the conservative. I’m saying, keep government small, keep government out of people’s personal lives. If you’re going to give benefits to people who happen to be straight, give the same benefits to people who are gay. That to me was a very easy call.
Cut to the curious kerfuffle over at the Too Conservative compound. Blogger Loudoun Insider wrote a nice rah-rah post a few days ago, about recent growth of the Loudoun County Republican Committee and how the new, improved leadership is making everyone feel welcome. If you follow local politics, you’ll know that there has been sharp dissension in the LCRC over the last few years, with a lot of moderate Republicans either resigning or being refused membership. Although much of the displeasure was over development and land use issues, a good deal of it was also due to the dominance of an extreme “social conservative” faction headed by former Delegate Dick Black.
It was this faction, closely associated with Patrick Henry College, that pushed for a resolution demanding that the Supreme Court reverse its decision in Lawrence v Texas, and turned what was advertised as an informational meeting into a noisy circus of gay-bashing that was as embarrassing as it was frightening. Equality Loudoun was founded soon afterwards.
Even at that meeting there were a few courageous individuals who spoke up, but clearly this was not a safe or welcoming committee for openly GLBT Republicans. We would be delighted by evidence that this has changed, and that our Republican members can fully participate in their chosen political party at the local level. I have personally lobbied for such participation with individuals, but given the atrocious behavior of some of the candidates and LCRC officials, some serious wariness is to be expected.
So, here was a nice post about how different things are now, and what happened? The anti-gay trolls showed up and peed all over it. As I said in the comments, it’s not a good sign that an LCRC District chair, a person assigned to do outreach in the community and to be a public face of the party, launches hostile, sneering attacks on Equality Loudoun any time an issue of GLBT equality is raised. Although it’s heartening to see so many other commenters repudiating this garbage, a statement by party leadership that denigrating attacks on a segment of the community does not represent the kind of inclusive committee they are interested in building would go a long way toward changing the image of the LCRC. Their silence gives the impression that the new leadership approves of such conduct just as much as the old leadership did.
If this sort of hostility is still considered to be “conservative” by those steering this ship, they need to think again. Please. The people spouting it are part of a movement that is now so far outside the mainstream of American society that they have to call for a boycott of McDonald’s. I don’t think they have much of a future to offer to any political party.