One of the surprises of the 2010 midterm elections was the uptick in the self-identified gay vote for Republicans. They made up 3 percent of those casting ballots in House races with 31 percent of them voting for the GOP candidate. That’s four percentage points more than the share that voted for Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election against now-President Barack Obama. I bring you down this memory lane because in questions on same-sex marriage and gays in the military, the Republican candidates at the New Hampshire debate last night pretty much told the gays they’re not welcome.
Okay, they didn’t come right out and say, “No gays allowed!” But they might as well have. The questions start at 6:50 in the video clip.
All of them are against marriage equality in one form or another. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) says government should get out of the marriage business and leave it to religious institutions. Herman Cain says the question of marriage should be left to the states. But with only five states and the District legalizing same-sex marriage and 41 states with either statutes or constitutional amendments banning it, Cain saved himself from showing leadership. The rest all said they favored etching discrimination into the U.S. Constitution through an amendment.
Cain and Paul were a little better on whether they would repeal the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Cain said the military has bigger issues to deal with and Paul said the rules should focus on behavior in the ranks, not characteristics. But the rest of them said they would prevent able-bodied gay men and lesbians from the honorable service of defending their nation.