This morning, 21 Michigan Republican activists called on Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema to resign, apparently drawing the line at his Facebook posts claiming gay people are nearly all pedophiles and responsible for over half the murders in New York City. The activists were shocked – shocked! – that Dave Agema, who has a long history of outlandish claims and ridiculous behavior, would do such a thing.
Yesterday the Michigan Republican Party attempted to head off the controversy by putting out a statement (not yet posted on their website) claiming they believe “all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity” and their support for so-called “traditional marriage…should never be allowed nor confused with any form of hate or discrimination toward anyone.”
Got that, LGBT Michiganders? Michigan Republicans don’t endorse discrimination, they just endorse Michigan laws that allow you to be fired because you’re gay, and endorse an unconstitutional federal law banning marriage equality, and support upholding the Michigan constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.
I shouldn’t have to say that this is disgusting hypocrisy of the highest order.
Republicans love to look for compromise on issues like this, as if sugarcoating their messaging will somehow make up for the bigots they (apparently accidentally) elevate to positions of leadership. But there can be no compromise on civil rights. There is nothing acceptable about telling gay Americans their government and employer is going to discriminate against them because of who they love. And no condemnation of hate speech, no matter how passionate, goes as far as realizing that any reference to “traditional marriage” is placing yourself firmly on the wrong side of history.
Soon after assuming control of the Michigan House, Republicans put out a series of insulting press releases calling domestic partners of state employees “roommates.” Despite their total control of the levers of power in Lansing, they repeatedly assailed Democrats for being “out of touch” and “irresponsible and reckless” for taking the position that state employees’ domestic partners should have access to any benefits. Remember, the only reason these people have a “roommate” is because they’re banned by the state constitution from marrying whom they want to.
If Republicans want to make headlines on marriage equality, all they need to do is put out a strongly-worded statement “condemning” other Republicans who call the LGBT agenda “filthy.” But if they want to no longer be viewed as hateful and backwards – in the words of Jeb Bush, “anti-everything…anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker,” they should actually change. Young Republicans can and should take the bold position that discrimination should no longer be carved into the state constitution.
I would invite the 21 Republican activists who signed that letter, as well as anyone at the Michigan Republican Party, to join me over here on the right side of history. It feels awfully good over here.