Here’s something not many folks expected to see: Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn will speak in September at a national fundraiser for Log Cabin Republicans, an organization for gay GOP members.
John Cornyn? The same guy who opposes same-sex marriage and the repeal of the ban on gay and lesbian members in the military? Yeah, same guy. Also the same guy who said this a few years ago in support of a federal constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriage:
“It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. . . . Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife.”
So has hell frozen over? Nah, says Sen. Cornyn:
“Some things we won’t agree on,” Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said. “But I think it’s always better to talk and then try find those things we can agree on rather than just assume there’s no common ground whatsoever.”
Cornyn said same-sex marriage is “absolutely” one of those things he and LCR members don’t agree on, but he’s happy to talk to them.
“I don’t want people to misunderstand and think that I don’t respect the dignity of every human being regardless of sexual orientation,” Cornyn said.
Respect the dignity of every human being? Is that before or after you equate their relationships to bestiality?
We suspect religious-righters will soon be foaming at the mouth and condemning Cornyn’s supposed apostasy. But Log Cabin officials, like executive director R. Clarke Cooper, are pleased:
“(O)ur role within the party is to help educate current elected leaders … and also educate candidates as to how they can be still true to themselves as far as issues, as far as core conservative, back-to-basics issues without using the gay and lesbian community as a target.”
Golly. Such high expectations, yes?
But surely Cooper knows that the Republican Party base today believes targeting the gay and lesbian community IS a “core conservative, back-to-basics issue.” Take a look at the Texas Republican Party platform, for example. Dominated by religious-righters, the party passed a 2010 platform that opposes not just same-sex marriage and even health insurance or retirement benefits for the same-sex partners of employees. It also condemns gay people as threats to family, public health and society. The platform also supports criminalizing consensual, intimate relationships of same-sex couples. And it opposes the right of gay and lesbian parents to adopt a child or even have custody of their own children.
Is it a good thing that a Republican like Sen. Cornyn has agreed to speak at a gay event? Of course. Change can begin with small moves. But he has some explaining to do. If Log Cabin Republicans respect their own dignity as human beings, they have a responsibility to insist that Sen. Cornyn do just that. And they should insist that the senator publicly reject the criticism he and Log Cabin will get from the religious right.