Rep. Barney Frank
From the standpoint of legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, the upcoming elections will be the most important in our history. In decades, there has not been a sharper distinction between the two parties on any issue than there is today on LGBT legal equality. President Obama, the Democratic platform and the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress support abolishing the restriction on federal recognition of same-sex marriages in states that recognize them and support an employment nondiscrimination act that is fully transgender-inclusive. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the Republican platform and more than 90 percent of congressional Republicans strongly oppose them.
I have been asked by many people why I inject partisanship into the effort to advance our rights. The answer is statistically very clear: It is not those of us who support LGBT equality who have made this a partisan issue; it is the modern Republican Party in its current extremely conservative mode that has done so. If you take Mitt Romney, Speaker John Boehner and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell at their word, no legislation advancing our rights has any chance of passage if these men control any of the three branches of the federal government. And if Mitt Romney is president, and especially if he has a compliant Republican majority in the Senate, we can expect Supreme Court vacancies to be filled with more Antonin Scalias. Romney’s decision to make Robert Bork one of his primary advisors on judicial issues guarantees this; Bork is the only person I can think of who has held federal judicial office who outdoes Scalia in his venom against us.
Given that, if you care strongly about LGBT issues, the case for voting Democratic is very clear. I recognize that there are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who put LGBT rights behind other issues in deciding how to vote. Some wealthy gay men and women who live in states where there are many protections apparently feel that their lives are already well-protected against prejudice and that it is more important to pass new tax cuts for the rich, block action on climate change or oppose reductions in military spending. But the facts are clear: There is simply no logical basis whatsoever for arguing that voting for Republicans this year is a good way to advance LGBT legal equality.
Yet the Log Cabin Republicans argue exactly that. Given the stakes for our rights in this election, it is important to examine their rationale.