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Counting on LGBT support is a question of grasstops and grassroots

Marriage equality

By Adam Bink

In the comments, Sagesse notes a piece by Julie and Andrew at The Advocate, asking whether Republican State Senators in New York State can count on progressive and especially LGBT support for sticking their necks out.

It’s always a complicated question, and one that extends to Cuomo. Adam Serwer over at The Washington Post looks at LGBT leaders running to praise Gov. Cuomo as a great progressive leader, even as he gives renters in NYC a raw deal, caps property taxes, tries to lift the moratorium on hydrofracking in the state, makes deep budget cuts in a regressive economic policy, and so forth. As Adam writes, it’s hard to characterize as progressive, and many are shaking their heads at those already cheering for Cuomo for President 2016. As a New Yorker who is never a single-issue individual, I am happy Cuomo took such strong leadership on this, but a week later, very upset that that Cuomo’s new push on fracking may very well lead to dangerous chemicals in the water my young niece in suburban Buffalo is drinking as I type.

Back to the Republicans. We all know there is often a disconnect between advocacy leaders of any movement and the grassroots. I got so many e-mails from friends wondering why Equality Maine asked their members to thank Sen. Susan Collins after she hemmed and hawed and nearly did in repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for months. Same when HRC announced a fundraiser for her. On the one hand, demonstrating grasstops support for Republicans (and Democrats) who need it when they do the right thing is worthwhile. On the other hand, we may find that voters many have short memories, and that supporting the more pro-LGBT candidate (or simply voting Democrat) is second nature. Several of these Republican State Senators aren’t good on many (or any) other LGBT issues.

The election is a long time away, but the interesting question asked by The Advocate boils down to a question of where grasstops and grassroots may be.


  • 1. Ann S.  |  July 1, 2011 at 8:46 am


  • 2. Ronnie  |  July 1, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Subscribing & sharing……

    New York Republican Dismisses NOM’s Threats: ‘Go Ahead And Do What You’ve Got To Do’

    “I’m comfortable with my decision and my vote because I think it was a balance, and whatever NOM wants to do, as I said, that’s what makes this country great. Go ahead and do what you’ve got to do,” Sen. Mark Grisanti (R) told YNN News:

    "It was not going to be a political vote. It was a vote of my conscience and it was a vote basically, definitely of fairness, and a balance that personified what I stated on the floor, that same sex couples should have the same right that I enjoy with my wife that I love. The other side of it is that the religious organizations, the non-profits and the benevolent organizations, they’re all protected."

    (me) Well, well…..This guy is awesomeness………. : ) …Ronnie

  • 3. Alan_Eckert  |  July 1, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Busy morning, then vacation all next week!

  • 4. AnonyGrl  |  July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Have a nice time on vacation!

  • 5. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

    What an excellent article for a lead into this comment…

    As many of you may be aware, Louis J. Marinelli worked for the NOM tour last summer where he was brought into contact with a large and vocal LGBT crowd. Overwhelmed by the normal an very American but otherwise LGBT supporters, Louis had a change of heart that has prompted him to become an advocate for Marriage Equality from a Conservative Republican perspective. Because of our numerous commonalities, not the least of which involves personal connections to Russian Federation Citizens, we have teamed up together to have a cross-country Marriage Equality Tour in order to bring a voice to an otherwise silent minority of those who would otherwise be full supporters of Equality.

    It is important to remember that Conservative Republicans are our neighbors, family members, representatives and fellow human beings. Those who are fearful and unknowledgeable on LGBT Marriage Equality are no less able understand and love a community that it has not well understood. It is time we brought Marriage Equality to a bipartisan forefront and embrace our Conservative Counterparts in order to heal and unite our nation in this most profound and beloved of American Values.

    Please check out the tour and, if you feel inspired, come out and join the rallies!

    With Love and Confidence in the Future of our Nation,

    PS: I am personally funding red t-shirts in order to raise funds for the tour. The design is meant to be more universal so that the shirt can be used at any 'red shirt' ralley, hearing, Disney Day, or Marriage Equality function. We can mail them as well as bring them directly to those who come to the rallies at no extra cost! (Of course, if we have extra available, we will have them at the rallies as well.) For those of you who are able, please consider pre-ordering a shirt now to help us make this happen. Thank you for being part of our community and thank you for everything you do to bring peace to LGBTs and to the world!

  • 6. Straight Ally #3008  |  July 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I don't believe I've seen Louis around lately, but I would like to extend my thanks to him for his part in the push for marriage equality in New York. I'm not sure where the next big battle is going to be – I guess the issue has been forced in Minnesota, and it could potentially come up in North Carolina and New Hampshire (although I have a feeling it's going to fizzle in NH, there's a lot of crazy legislation in the pipeline). Regardless…well done!

  • 7. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

    If you check out the tour I believe we will be in some of these places. Hope you can come!

  • 8. Don in Texas  |  July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

    A word of caution about approaching Republicans comes from the Texas Observer concerning the 2010 Texas Republican Party Platform:

    [Platform items] specifically directed at the LGBT community:

    To get a clear picture of the Platform’s message to the LGBT community, take a look at “Celebrating Traditional Marriage” where the document states, “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases…” families should not be “redefined to include homosexual “couples.”

    Some of the other ‘low lights’ in their Platform call for making it a felony to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and denying homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. To cap this, anyone who “opposes homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values” would do so with impunity.

    Republicans are not our friends or allies.

  • 9. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

    All the more reason to get visible and show the American People who we are already 'married' regardless of the paperwork and that we are already families with as much as a fourth of us already parenting wonderful little humans that will become our future!

    It is time to tour our nation to show that there are real Republicans who are not repuglican'ts!

  • 10. Sagesse  |  July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Don in Texas… progress?

    Austinite Could Become First Openly Gay US Attorney in Texas

  • 11. dsc77  |  July 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Maybe it would be wrong to say that ALL Republicans are our friends. Sure most are not. But we should not paint all conservative and Republican individuals the same way-that they are our enemy.

    Dave in Maine

  • 12. Chrys  |  July 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    There is a difference between reaching out to those who have not been supportive and supporting those who have been. The four Republicans who voted for marriage equality in NY are, IMO, deserving of our support in return.

  • 13. AnonyGrl  |  July 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    To clarify, Don, THOSE Republicans are not our allies.

    Just like all Christians are not against us, not all Republicans are either. Don't lose sight of the ones that ARE against us, but don't discount the ones that are not.

  • 14. Sheryl, Mormon Mom  |  July 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Wow, I must have missed something! I see that both you and Kevyn will be part of the tour. That obviously means that he is (or will be) in the US instead of Russia. That is so wonderful for both of you.

    If my employment situation remains the same, I will be at the SF stop and would love to meet you.

    Wish I'd known about your t-shirt venture as I am helping a friend who does promotional products. Let me know if other promotional items are needed and I'll see if we can get you the best price.

  • 15. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 2, 2011 at 2:22 am

    That sounds wonderful Sheryl! This will be my first trip past the Mississipp' and I do so look forward to meeting other member of the P8TT community!

    I am not sure where you found that Kevyn would be part of the tour, but it so happens that there is somewhat of a chance that he will be with us for a few days in California if all goes as we have planned and hoped. We had not announced anything yet as conditions are not yet met.

    As for promotional products, feel free to contact us with any suggestions.

  • 16. Sheryl, Mormon Mom  |  July 2, 2011 at 7:48 am

    When I went to the tour site and checked out the SF info, his name is listed as a team member, perhaps I misinterpreted what that meant.

    And I will contact you. I will be ordering a shirt, or 2, later this month (have to wait until I actually have some money).

  • 17. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Ahh… yes Kevyn is indeed a team member. As of now he is assisting with internet based activities that can be done without regard to geography. If he is granted a visa, he may indeed be joining us on the tour.

    As for the Red T-shirts, times being what they are, do everyone please be mindful of personal finances so as to take care of oneself first and foremost! For those who are able to offer this support, I do hope the shirt is adequate for use in settings beyond this rally and remember, if you want a shirt and are coming to the rally, considering waiting until we get there in order to save on shipping and handling! Love and hugs to all, Felyx.

  • 18. Sheryl, Mormon Mom  |  July 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Other than being red (red is not a good color on me), I think the t-shirts are great and looking forward to wearing mine at the next Prop 8 court date (believe the end of Aug. to hear why the tapes of the trial should or should not be made public).

    I will be contacting you with some ideas.

    I sure hope Kevyn gets that visa.

  • 19. Chrys  |  July 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Question on the shirts: do you have any idea how fast they get shipped out? I just ordered two of the I love NY ones and would really like to have them before our trip to a family reunion near Woodstock in a couple of weeks (just a week too soon to get married at the reunion – which is actually good because now we have time to plan instead of rushing). But oh, how I'd love to wear them to the reunion!

    I'd have asked on the order site, but didn't see a place where I could do that.

  • 20. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 2, 2011 at 2:15 am

    Hey, I am not sure about the NY shirts, I can only speak on the red ones that go to benefit this tour. You will have to contact Louis to see if those are available yet and how fast he can ship. For what it is worth, the red ones are not yet ordered but will be ready to ship out as soon as they arrive, most likely before August 1. Enjoy your NY shirts! Felyx

  • 21. Chrys  |  July 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks. I'll take another look around and try to get in touch with him. We *might* be able to make the Harrisburg stop, by the way. 🙂

  • 22. AnonyGrl  |  July 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I've tried to not be a one issue voter. Sometimes there is one issue that is so important it may sway my opinion strongly, but a legislator spends much LESS time on each issue than I do, and I am strongly concerned about far FEWER issues than my legislator is, of necessity. Keeping that in mind, I try to vote for someone who has similar sensibilities across the boards.

    I will certainly look at the other issues and not just vote on party lines if a Republican holds some things that I am concerned about to be important. And yes, those who have voted for equality have garnered more of my interest…

  • 23. Ronnie  |  July 1, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Cory Monteith (Finn from Glee) joins the "Straight But Not Narrow" campaign….. <3..Ronnie:

    "So, maybe you like to play football, maybe you like to sing and dance, maybe you like both. Maybe you don't like either. Doesn't matter. Just be yourself. Just be you, because that's good enough for me. We're guys talking to guys about guys who like guys." ~ Cory Monteith

    [youtube vL7hLzDDbak youtube]

  • 24. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

    So hey… do you think you can make it to one of the stops? (I am really hoping to meet many of our fellow P8TTers!!!)

  • 25. David Henderson  |  July 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I live in the Denver area, and I've been planning to come to the stop in Denver (August 21, IIRC). I know Ryan Kendall (one of the witnesses in the Prop 8 trial) is planning to attend that one as well.

  • 26. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 2, 2011 at 2:28 am

    This is wonderful! Don't be shy and make sure to get a hold of me when we are there. No point in coming all the way only to end up not meeting you guys! Looking forward to meeting everyone out there. Felyx

  • 27. dsc77  |  July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Lemme supersrcipt!

  • 28. Sagesse  |  July 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    RNC names Log Cabin director to finance committee

    The Republicans are going to need meds for their schizophrenia soon. This is a fine development, but you'd think their slate of candidates for President would look somewhat different if they were reaching out to the LGBT community.

  • 29. veritasfiles  |  July 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    We constantly speak about how there are LGBT people in all facets of life, and the growth of acceptance in every corner — not just our own — is what will secure our total equality. Yet, here we are jumping onto a bandwagon that says there is no place in the LGBT community for Republicans, even though we have suffered through years of the Republicans saying there is no place in their party for LGBT people.

    We cannot simply dig our heels in and create a bubble. We cannot just convert people into this bubble, we have to ensure that people of all faiths and all political parties welcome LGBT people into THEIR circles as well.

    The post about the Texas Republican party platform is evidence that we have to support moderate Republicans and LGBT conservatives in taking back their party which has been hijacked by the religious right. When the mainstream of the Republican party is taken back, that is when the religious right will be truly marginalized.

    So, those four Republicans that voted for us earned our support and deserve whatever fight we can muster for them. We have to understand that we will never convert every district or every state to be Democratic, so we have to encourage growth and acceptance of LGBT people from the inside. These four Republicans are the beginning of something great — hopefully, a Renaissance within the Republican party, in which LGBT people can disagree on political issues like taxes, the size of government, defense, or other TRULY traditional Republican party platform pieces, and still be welcomed for who they are inside.

    This is a truly frustrating part of our own community. We say that the LGBT cause should not be political; it is not about votes, it is not an "issue," it is about humanity and justice. We need to work hard to make that a reality. Only then will we have true equality — a nation where you don't assume things about LGBT people any more than you assume things about liberals or conservatives.

    We cannot just banish the bigots to their house; we will not have won until we take the bigots' house away from them.


  • 30. Sagesse  |  July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    U.S. Rep. Polis, partner to become parents this fall

  • 31. dsc77  |  July 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    VERY good point!!!

  • 32. Michael in SF  |  July 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I don't think people need to change their political affiliations to support the Republican state senators who voted for equality. Chances are, in an upcoming election, most people here would prefer the Democrat alternative for one reason or another.

    However, I think it would only be appropriate for those of us who are equality-minded to support them in primaries against anti-marriage Republican challengers. We may not want them to necessarily win the general election, but how great would it be to have both sides of the ticket support marriage? I think that's what Governor Cuomo means when he says he'll have their backs. Make sure all the candidates on the ballot are for marriage equality.

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