Friday, September 01, 2006

Unmasking "Pro-Gay McCain"

As he prepares to ramp up his almost-certain campaign to seek the Republican nomination, John McCain's political PR reps have been scrambling to portray him as a kinder, gentler, more tolerant -- even gay-positive -- conservative.

However, a quick glance at McCain's record in the upcoming Arizona ballot initiative on gay marriage provides another view.
more . . .

Arizona Together and five straight couples, most of them elderly, had sued to keep the measure off the ballot. A key talking point of the gay-friendly group is that the amendment aims to forbid any domestic partnership or granting of marriage-like rights. Several localities, including Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe, and Pima County, grant domestic-partner benefits; some offer domestic partnerships popular among older people seeking to keep health benefits that would be jeopardized by remarriage.

Meanwhile, a poll of Arizona registered voters released Tuesday by KAET/Channel 8 in Tempe indicated that the ban would fail. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they opposed the constitutional marriage ban, while 38% supported it.

This is a typical over-the-top anti-gay ballot measure from the far right, which seeks to so thoroughly disenfranchise gay folks from the legal system that it doesn't care if other groups are caught in the crossfire. No wonder most Arizonans are opposed to it.

I mean, who could be in favor of such a bill?

Unsurprisingly, Catholic bishops. Oh, and John McCain.

The measure has been endorsed by all three of the state's Catholic bishops as well as U.S. senator John McCain of Arizona, who defended his stance in August 2005 by saying that the measure "would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage."

So much for his moderate "positioning exercise." This law is recognized, even by many who favor a gay marriage ban, as an exercise in extremism.

If this trend continues through to 2008, we could very well be looking at an anti-gay Republican candidate running against a Democratic candidate like Hillary Clinton (who supports the federal DOMA which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions alike).

If or when that happens, gay people and our allies would be well-advised to consider backing the Libertarian candidate for president, who almost certainly can be counted on to stand up for the Constitutional rights of all gay people.