Wednesday, August 31, 2005

John McCain: Fickle Friend of Gays

Crossposted from The Moderate Republican

If one has followed this blog, then you know that I've been a follower and admirerer of John McCain. He seems like a modern incarnation of Teddy Roosevelt. He has come out against the how corrupt the GOP has become and has stood for pragmatism at a time when the Republican Party has become more ideological. He stood against the far right when he ran for President in 2000 and I was pleased to see a Republican do that. I knew that his views were more conservative than I am, but I still liked him.

And now, McCain has just stabbed me in the back.

McCain has come out in favor of a change in the Arizona constitution that would ban same sex marriages.

To say that I'm shocked, is an understatment. McCain has been a hero to gay Republicans like myself and he has a place on Log Cabin's Hall of Fame. It might be time to take him off that list.

To me, this smacks of pure politics. He's running again in 2008 and is probably fearful that the far right might attack as they did in 2000. If he thinks sacrificing gays is going to sway them, he has another thing coming. They can't stand him, and trying to shore up his far right bona fides ain't going to change things.

I have no idea why he is doing this, especially at a time when a growing number of Republicans, like Christie Todd Whitman and John Danforth, are calling for a more tolerant GOP.

This is a slap in the face to all gay Republicans who have supported McCain. I was all ready to support him in 2008, but I'm now going to have to rethink that. I would counsel all fair-minded Republicans to do the same and let McCain know that.


At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMO, being gay in the Republican Party is like being Jewish in the Nazi party.

The concept of working for change from within may be an illusion.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

I think there is plenty of room in the Republican Party for gays and lesbians, but not for the Liberal gay agenda of the Left (1. Achieving a shift in public morality to the extent that homosexual behavior becomes morally acceptable behavior, 2. Transforming the traditional concepts of marriage and family to the extent that father and mother roles are eliminated and infidelity acceptable, 3. etc.) I think Middle Republicans will say, "If you want to live a gay lifestyle without discrimination in the workforce and public benefits and such, we will support you. But if you want to bring about change in society and want our help to do that, try another political party." Thus, it should be no surprise that McCain continues to support traditional concepts of marriage and family, which are so highly regarded as essential to existing society's moral foundation.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...


Where is it written that if you are gay, then all your politics must be focused around that one issue? What about someone who supports the interests of big business, is very hawkish on national defense, avers from broad-reaching social issues, favors limited government, and is big on tax cuts, yet happens to be gay. A Democrat? I think not.

As to your two points of "the Liberal gay agenda," point 1 is completely outside the scope of elected office. Members of no branch of government have the legal heft to officially declare anything "moral" or otherwise. That's the job of society at large, not elected officials.

Regarding point 2: as someone with somewhat of a libertarian streak coursing through my New Hampshire raised blood, I've always felt that it was none of government's business deciding which two consenting adults could and could not get married in a legal sense. Why shouldn't a lifetime committed gay couple enjoy the same rights of property, default power of attorney, and privacy that heterosexual couples have? Those aspects have nothing to do with "family values." As far as the "traditional" meaning of marriage is concerned, again, that is outside the scope of government. There are no legally defined statutes regarding the proper roles of the father and mother figure in a family.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

Jonathon, if the Liberal Gay community was only interested in equal rights under the law (and I mean seeking absolutely the same rights as married hetrosexual couples), then they would not be trying to get legislators to pass gay marriage laws. They would simply try to get domestic partner laws that were equivalent. but that is not what is going on, is it. Instead, the legal right to get married -- yes, indeed, the ancient religious-based practice of societal recognition of the joining of men and women in an instution that forms the basis of society: family, where husband and wife pledge fidelity and children are deemed best able to be raised under the role model of a father and a mother -- is attacked. Why? The Gay Liberal agenda.

I agree with you that committed gay couples should enjoy the same rights of property, default power of attorney, and privacy that heterosexual couples have under the law. Domestic parntership laws should go that far and further. Your error is in concluding that marriage "is [or should be] outside the scope of government." Historically and currently, society (including the various religious institutions therein) has an interest in seeing that there is legal protection in the form of property, inheritance and other rights for women (primarily) and their children who make committments to live with and take care of men in a (sexual) union. Government sanctioned marriage is the chosen vehicle.

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Sam: What is the Liberal Gay Agenda? What ends does it hope to achieve?

I hear that phrase tossed around a lot and never know exactly what it means. I suspect it's just a clever phrase meant to make what is essentially a civil rights movement sound like a nefarious conspiracy. I can imagine "The Liberal Negro Agenda" having been used in the same ominous tones 50 years ago.

Here's the thing I don't get. You support fully equal rights for gay couples but can't stomach calling it marriage. If two men are living together and enjoying all the legal rights that my wife and I enjoy, exactly what changes if we call them "married" or in a "civil union?"

And don't tell me it's about the children. Maybe some scientists will tell you that children are better off in a home with a mother and a father, but I tend to think any loving environment is a pretty good one for children. If you believe gay marriage should be denied on the basis that it's not 100% optimal for children, then what do you propose to do about single parents? And do you think we should remove all the children that are currently being raised in gay households?

I do tend to feel that the government bestows rights and that religious communities (or even secular communities) bestow marriage. And for that reason (which I admit is purely political), I think moving towards civil unions is the best course. But from a completely personal level, I have absolutely no problem with gay marriage.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

Alan, as I referenced in a previous post in this thread, the Liberal Gay Agenda includes:(1. Achieving a shift in public morality to the extent that homosexual behavior becomes morally acceptable behavior, 2. Transforming the traditional concepts of marriage and family to the extent that father and mother roles are eliminated and infidelity acceptable, 3. etc.). I explored these concepts and discussed the Gay Liberal Agenda at length with a very good fairly Conservative Republican friend who is Gay (he has been out for more than 10 years now) and, while I have not had any direct conversations with any Gay Liberals, I think I get what is happening. The purpose is to change social norms (i.e. societal moral values).
While the historical example of changing the societal norm of treating blacks and women as inferior to accepting blacks and women as equals in society was achieved through civil war and a strong civil rights movement, it is equally interesting to look at an unsuccessful civil rights effort, especially because it is an historical example more on point. Consider the rejection of polygamy by USA society in the mid 1800's, despite a significant minority movement, that could have changed the thought of "traditional family," but instead resulted in a Supreme Court decision making polygamy illegal and the polygamists being run out of the States of Illinois and Missouri.
Why should anyone have cared what one group did? Simple: if polygamy had been given legal acknowledgment, it was thought that it would have changed the social norm, become accepted, spread, and influenced society.

I guess the question is whether our society wants to accept gay marriage, or deem it so outside the social norm that we don't want it to become accepted, spread, and influence our society. So far, the majority, including the Middle, have said that. We have not been willing to give gay marriage legal acknowlegment, just as we do not give legal acknowledgment to the men who live with (sexual relationship) more than one women today.

The issue does not end with gay marriage. Going forward beyond gay marriage, we can look to whether the govenment should give legal "couple" status to humans and robots, or other similar inanimate objects or even virtual beings created by computers. Equally interesting is the minority group that prefer relationships with animals to humans. Is there a reason two loving beings, one human and one non-human animal should be denied the same rights? (I know these are not new arguments, but they do illustrate the point fairly well.)
We have to seriously think about the extent to which we change social norms: you are right that history is a good teacher about the effects of changing social norms -- some say that the downfall of several ancient civilizations was because of the abandonment of social norms that supported traditional family relationships.

All that said, I do believe this is an issue that is worthy of continued discussion and thought.

Sam Nicolas

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

First, the "gay marriage will lead to beastiality," is a false argument. Same as the comparrison to polygamy. Gay relationships are not exploitative, all the others you mentioned are because they all involve one person asserting their will over another. Yes, that includes polygamy. It's a provactive argument to talk about a slippery slope, but it's not a real argument because it relies on a false comparrison.

And I fail to see how infidelity is the goal of liberal gays. Isn't supporting marriage a rejection of infidelity? As for changing social norms--yeah, that's the point. Ending segregation also changed social norms. Women in the workforce changed social norms. We are constantly changing social norms and doing so can be right or wrong. Sometimes social norms need to be changed.

Now, I am very aware that a lot of people are made very uncomfortable by changing the definition of marriage that has been in effect for as long as civilization. I do not suggest we go there lightly and I sure as hell don't support going their via the courts.

What it comes down to for me is: are homosexual relationships immoral and would accepting them harm our society. My answer on both is no. Cities, churches and neighborhoods that have welcomed homosexuals have not collapsed in a fit of hedonism. Infidelity has not skyrocketed. Children are still being raised well. Society has flourished.

There is no nefarious Liberal Gay Agenda. Or, if there is, it certainly does not represent mainstream liberal opinion--not amongst the many liberals whom I've spoken with.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

I suppose it is not unusual or unexpected for supporters of gay marriage to criticize concerns about polygamy or worse as “slippery-slope nonsense.” (Nevertheless, public opinion does evolve, and each change has impact.) However, I didn’t mean to argue that gay marriage is bad because it will lead to worse things. Rather, I argue that the analysis of whether we should permit gay marriage or not can apply equally to other situations, such as whether we should permit marriage with inanimate objects or not. (By your rational, “no one gets hurt,” so why can’t I get married to my holographic lover?) By engaging in the analysis, I belive we can understand why (or why not) we should oppose (or not) gay marriage.

Well, it’s getting so close to Friday, that I have to at least add some humor to this, so:

Regarding the similarities of the arguments for polygamy, read what gay leftist Richard Goldstein wrote in the “When Mormon fundamentalist Tom Green got busted for bigamy, he must have winced to discover that the Utah American Civil Liberties Union was on his side. … we know too little about plural marriage to say that it inevitably results in pain… Green's case has a direct bearing on gay rights, if only because the same freedom is involved. That's why Justice Sandra O'Connor remarked during arguments over the Georgia sodomy statute (which the court upheld) that if we protect homosexual behavior, polygamy might be next. She wasn't just being homophobic; there really is a connection…”


Regarding the slippery slope to Bestiality, you have to check out the article by the same Richard Goldstein in the Village Voice entitled “Petaphilia: The Great American Man-Dog Marriage Panic” at,goldstein,52050,1.html. It’s really funny!

And if you think polygamy is not right around the corner, that’s probably because you didn’t get your recent issue of Loving More magazine, the flagship magazine of the polyamory movement -- “the only magazine in the world dedicated to the topic of responsible multi-partner relationships.” Check it out at

You gotta love this stuff.
In the Middle,
Sam Nicolas

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


Holographic lover? Man, if you've invented that, you're going to be a rich man.

But seriously, comparing gay marriage to marriage with an inanimate object (and any computer program would apply) is not really accurate. I mean, an inanimate object can't love back. An inanimate object doesn't need survivor rights or property rights or hospital visitorship rights.

And beastility is cruelty to animals. The only argument that actually should give us pause is the polygamy argument. But, from everything I've read, that practice is almost always exploitative--making it unworthy of societal acceptance.

I dunno. I obviously have strong feelings on this issue. It's one I think will be hanging around for awhile. Good debating you. Always important to have a back-and-forth.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

Alan... there is always room for discussion in the Middle. That's why I remain there. There is also not 100% concensus on every issue there, even after discussion, which is understandable. And yet we continue to learn from each other and can respect each other's viewpoints. Thanks for your thoughts.
-Sam Nicolas

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...

Man, I can't believe I checked out of this discussion! Sorry, I'm in a bit of blog burnout. Should be back up soon.

In any case, I choose not to dive into the whole slippery slope area. I would like to pose a question: if the rights of homosexual couple would be equivalent to marriage under a Civil Unions bill, then why is the middle even concerned?

To me, the question of whether our legislatures call it "marriage" or a "union" is merely bragging rights for the true die hards of the wings. I agree that the whole refusal to call it actual marriage, but still approve civil unions (as has been done in CT, and is being debated in MA) has a bit of a Plessy v. Fergusen feel to it, but beyond that is there really any substance to the issue?

At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

The thing to remember that love is defined by the ability of the loved one to love you back. Inanimate objects cannot. Animals are thought to have "cupboard love", meaning it's more of a dependence upon the caretaker for survival. So, by that, then shouldn't we allow legal marriage (or whatever you may call it) for all CONSENTING adults who love each other?


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