Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why it should be stupid for the TN GOP to push the adoption issue


It's a good thing at a number of levels that I'm not running for governor because when issues like adoption get brought up I'd be tempted to go for overkill in fighting back. I'd make points that the electorate would only be able to follow if they had been paying attention all along. And I'd probably come across as a smart ass and lose for winning.

But I'm not running for governor. So here's my full response on why it's stupid for the TN GOP (the state party and not necessarily any particular candidate) to bring up the adoption ban issue.

Oh, you didn't know they had? Well, they did today in this press release attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter. Here's what they said:

“Mike is unabashedly pro-choice, has made it clear that he does in fact support gay adoption, and is on record supporting ObamaCare and the unbearable unfunded mandates his party leader seeks to impose on states."

Oh, I'm sure someone gave them the bright idea that's a smart tactic, but not really if anyone listens for 30 seconds. Here's how I'd argue it.

*Not fiscally conservative. Does the TN GOP really want to change the policy? If so, they must want the state to come up with over $2.8 million and over $2.1 million in the federal budget. See the fiscal note if you don't believe me.

*Reminds us of the failings of GOP officer holders like, um, the sponsor of the adoption ban bill. That alone should provide a zinger of a response.

*Doesn't bringing up the adoption ban bill indict all the Senate and House Republicans who didn't move the bill? Did the Lt. Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, or the Senate Caucus Chair try to advance the bill? No, I didn't think so. If stopping "gay adoption" is so important, then it seems as if there's plenty of blame to go around with the GOP. Maybe they realized it's not a good idea for children or for the budget or good to be associated with the bill sponsor.

*Will anyone really believe Mike McWherter is a big proponent of adoption equality? I don't think anyone believes that.

*Doesn't raising the issue run the risk of making Bill Haslam nastier than he wants to be? I don't think that anyone whose idea of naughty but charming is sneaking pies wants to be associated with trash talk about "gay adoption." It runs counter to the light narrative Haslam is trying to weave.

So clearly not only should that issue not get the state Republican Party traction, it ought to set them back. But I doubt anybody will take the opportunity to call them on it or several other obvious targets. Oh, well, that's how it goes. An activist can imagine, though.

-Chris Sanders

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