We’ve long known that nothing throws conservatives into a tizzy more than the Gays. They’re either signing marriage pledges or bemoaning the demise of “don’t ask don’t tell,” the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, which was tossed in the ash can of history by Congress a year ago yesterday. Now, as we hurtle to the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, the GOP candidates or their spouses are openly discussing how they would block gays from sharing fully in the American Dream and avail themselves of the rights, responsibilities and protections it provides their families.

Discussing the highly unlikely event he would be become the first gentleman of the United States, Marcus Bachmann told an Iowa gathering on Friday, “I’ve decided my cause is not going to be happy meals. I’ve decided my cause is going to be what Michele and I have been a part of all of our lives, and that is pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-life.” He went on to add, “We’re going to get the message across that marriage is between one man and one woman....We’re not going to minimize what a family is — we’re going to promote families.”At least in this instance, Bachmann isn’t peddling the snake oil of reparative therapy.

Trying to exclude loving gay and lesbian families, especially those with children, is a wasted effort. “The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families,” a November 2010 report by the Pew Research Center found that “63% say a gay or lesbian couple raising a child is a family.” That’s certainly less than full acceptance. But it’s still a majority of Americans.

In his unsuccessful run to unseat the late-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Mitt Romney said in an Aug. 25, 1994 interview with gay newspaper Bay Windows, “I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party and I would be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts.” Today, in his second run for the GOP nomination, not so much. On Dec. 13, Romney told the Boston Herald that he would support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The paper characterized it as a “complex three-tier system of marriage — maintaining marriage rights for straight couples, allowing gays who have already married to remain married, but barring future same-sex marriages.”

“I think it would keep intact those marriages which had occurred under the law but maintain future plans based on marriage being between a man and a woman,” Romney told the Herald. Such marital apartheid is unacceptable, un-American and increasingly behind-the-times.  

A June 2010 Gallup survey put support for marriage equality at 52 percent. Among men it was 53 percent. And among Catholics, a stunning 62 percent. Those numbers were reconfirmed by a March 2011 Washington Post-ABC News poll that showed support for same-sex marriage at 53 percent of Americans, 53 percent of men and 63 percent of Catholics. That last percentage was a jump of 8 points since the question had been asked in February 2010.

And then there’s Gov. Rick Perry (Tx.). He of the “strong” ad that falsely accuses President Obama of waging war on religion, in part, by letting gay men and lesbians serve openly in the military. Last night in Iowa, a 14- year-old girl asked him why he opposed the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” and, as the National Journal pointed out, “why you want to deny them their freedom when they’re fighting for your rights.” Perry’s answer was as direct as it was unsatisfying.

“This is about my faith, and I happen to think that there are a whole host of sins, homosexuality being one of them,” Perry said, adding that he himself was “a sinner” so he wouldn’t “be the first one to throw a stone.” Reflecting on another question he had received this week about how he would feel if his own child were gay, Perry said, “I’d feel the same way. I hate the sin but I love the sinner.”

Perry hates the sin so much that he would use his power as president to harm “the sinner” because it is about his faith? We’re electing a president next year, not a Pope. Still, how what Perry proposes is Christ-like escapes me. In reaction to Perry’s war-on-religion ad, Brent Childers of Faith in America pointed out two scriptures that I wish Perry and others who claim to have God as their co-pilot would remember.

Romans 14:13 — Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another….
Ephesians 4:2 — Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

There’s nothing humble, gentle or patient about the intolerance and out-right bigotry coming from some of the presidential candidates of the GOP, the Gay-Obsessed Party.