So what are Michigan LGBT voters going to do on Republican Primary election day? The choices are dismal, dangerous and represent a giant leap backwards for LGBT rights, women’s reproductive freedom, labor and workplace protections and a host of other issues that matter to progressive voters.
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, the two leading candidates whose anti-LGBT words we feature in this issue of BTL, are vying with each other for conservative crowing rights. As real campaign issues like the slumping economy and foreign wars fade away because both are seemingly going in positive directions, the scummy vitriol associated with the “social issues,” led by gays and abortion, is rising to the top of the pond.
There are some gay Republican voters that want to find something to support in the Romney campaign. We at BTL cannot understand what attraction his fiscal policies could have for anyone except the very wealthy. His simplistic economic outlook harkens back to a time when the middle class was just a dream imagined by the huddled masses of working poor people, not something that actually exists and is worth fighting for. He has retracted what little support he did give to LGBT issues when he was governor of a progressive state, proving that he is very willing to throw us under the bus for political gain. If there are LGBT Republicans who can find some way to support Romney, the logic is lost on us.
Rick Santorum offers no hope. His vision of America simply does not include LGBT people. He is clear that LGBT people should not adopt, have employment protections, serve in the military, marry or otherwise participate in civic life. We believe that a LGBT vote for Santorum can only be the result of deeply held internalized homophobia.
Voting for Newt Gingrich could be a nightmare as well. He is the “bad boy” of the Republican field and the candidate that is least attractive to the Republican establishment. He does not listen well to authority, is mercurial and would wreck havoc as a national candidate. He is terrible on LGBT issues, and is living proof that simply knowing a LGBT person (he has a lesbian half-sister) is no guarantee that one will gain any compassion or understanding of our issues.
Ron Paul believes that we should have no government, no taxes, no regulations, no social services – that we should rely on ourselves for everything. Apparently he believes that people will be kind, principled, generous and take care of the less fortunate even though all evidence points to the fact that rights for the dispossessed and minorities have always come at great expense and sacrifice. Paul despises collective action of any kind, so for Ron Paul supporters, get your axes and shovels out if you want to see any improvements out there on I-94.
We know that some gay Republicans want to believe that their party has something to offer them. Perhaps voting for Fred Krager, the openly gay Republican candidate who will appear on Michigan’s primary ballot can serve as a protest vote against the virulently anti-LGBT rhetoric coming from the rest of the candidates.
There is one election in Oakland County that is important for LGBT voters. The fate of the 29th State House District is in voter’s hands as a special election will fill the shoes of former State House Rep. Tim Melton who left to take a job doing education reform.
Democrat Tim Greimel, who is currently on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, seems a likely fit for the traditionally Democratic seat. As an attorney and former school board president, he has experience in many facets of political engagement and a well-known name in the community. However, supporters fear that because Feb. 28 is also the Republican presidential primary there is a possibility that high Republican turnout could mean the loss of this seat.
We always encourage our readers to vote, so please do so on Tuesday in the primary election. The field is not much to pick from, and we can give little advice, except hope that whoever wins the nomination gets no closer than that to the White House.