Saturday, July 11, 2009
Closeting the gay factor in the GOP gubernatorial race
According to Hayes Hickman in the Knoxville News Sentinel, all the Republican candidates running for governor are vying for the conservative label.
But most of the quotes and analysis focus on the issues of guns and abortion. If that sounds familiar, it mirrors the focus of conservatives in the Legislature this year. There is also an interesting section on the controversial nature of accepting stimulus funds.
One might think that in such a long piece on what it means to be a conservative running for governor in Tennessee, some anti-equality rhetoric might make an appearance. The closest the article comes is this blurb about Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:
Ramsey, whose platform includes "traditional values" that recognize that "the family is the core unit of society," said he gives no less importance to Tennessee's economic challenges.
Family Action's David Fowler, who is quoted extensively, hints at but does not name GLBT issues, thus compounding their absence:
"So far, in the literature I've read from all the candidates, the issues of greatest concern to their conservative base have not been addressed."
If guns, abortion, and the stimulus are openly discussed, what else could Fowler mean but GLBT issues? But then again, what's a conservative in Tennessee to do--run against gay marriage? It's already banned by statute and constitutional amendment. Would running against adoption by gays and lesbians get a GOP candidate very far in a statewide race? How about running against the hate crimes bill? Not likely.
These candidates certainly aren't at the point of turning pro-gay, but they may have realized that running against the GLBT community is a non-starter...if it even crossed their minds to begin with. Let's hope that's the case.