Michigan Republican Leaves Party Over Equality

Lorence Wenke is a very well known Republican legislator in the state of Michigan, having served three terms in the House. He’s now running for a seat in the state Senate, but he’s running as a Libertarian because he’s appalled by the GOP’s anti-gay politics.

Wenke cited two reasons for leaving the party – the first being its treatment of gays and lesbians.

‘The Republican Party leads the movement in Kalamazoo County, our state, and in our nation to discriminate against our gay family members, friends and neighbors,’ Wenke said in a statement outlining his reasons for leaving the party made public five days ago.

‘I support the constitutional right of our gay family members to enjoy the same rights as our heterosexual family members. In 2004, I was one of two Republican legislators out of 63 to vote against the addition of the Marriage Protection Amendment to Michigan’s Constitution.

‘I was the only legislator to call it what it is – discrimination against our gay brothers and sisters. At that time, three local Republican legislators with gay brothers never said a word in support of gay rights. I challenge them with this question: “If you will not stand up for your own family members, who will you stand up for?”’

Wenke called Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his lieutenant governor out on the issue, accusing them of political cowardice.

‘Governor Snyder and Lt. Gov. Calley are not willing to publicly take a position for or against gay rights. I can only assume it is because they fear the political consequences,’ Wenke said.

‘Republicans have encouraged many of our churches to support political efforts to discriminate against gays by condemning them for what they perceive as a sinful lifestyle choice. These same people often ignore the clear teachings of Jesus and Paul stating that remarriage after divorce is committing adultery. If the church required divorced members to live a celibate, single life, there would be fewer divorces and presumably marriage would be protected and valued.’

Good for him.

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  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    So he leaves the GOP because of their bigotry, only to join a party that consistently opposes every meaningful government measure to actually stop the bigotry? How is this anything more than a ridiculous joke?

  • colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #1

    Ole Bee just can’t resist the opportunity to take a shot at libertarians.

  • rabbitscribe

    http://www.lp.org/platform

    1.3 Personal Relationships

    Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships

  • D. C. Sessions

    RB, it’s at least a step away from actually pushing for de jure bigotry.

    Yeah, it would be better for people to actually help, but neutrality is better than enmity.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ D. C. Sessions : Its also sending the Republicans a message – homophobia is costing you members and votes. Which is a a good if overdue message to send.

  • Sastra

    ‘Republicans have encouraged many of our churches to support political efforts to discriminate against gays by condemning them for what they perceive as a sinful lifestyle choice.

    Now that’s what I call “framing.”

  • smrnda

    At first, when I saw the headline, I was expecting the story to be about a hard core bigot bothered by the GOP going soft on its anti-gay stance.

  • Chiroptera

    I still can’t understand why we aren’t seeing many, many more people leaving the GOP because of their stand for undiluted hatred and against reality.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    DC Sessions: libertarians are not “neutral,” they’re sockpuppets of the same reactionary interest-groups that make up the Republican Party: “states’ rights” segregationists, opponents of Federal anti-discrimination laws and other regulations, opponents of Roe vs. Wade and other acts of liberal “judicial activism,” etc. etc.

    And besides, as other FtBers have rather eloquently pointed out, taking a “neutral” stand is, in effect, de-facto support for the status-quo.

    Wenke called Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his lieutenant governor out on the issue, accusing them of political cowardice.

    And I’m calling Wenke out: what, specifically, has he done that’s any braver and has a reasonable chance of improving things if given effective support?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Also, DC, when you call libertarians “neutral,” you effectively admit that: a) libertarians don’t really oppose the bigotry that some of them pretend they oppose; and b) Wenke’s defection to that faction is nowhere near as brave or meaningful as Ed is trying to pretend it is.

  • dshetty

    @rabbitscribe

    The key part is whether the libertarian party believes there must be laws preventing discrimination against LGBT (or other minorities) by private businesses. If the answer is NO then the manifesto is worthless.

  • A Masked Avenger

    The key part is whether the libertarian party believes there must be laws preventing discrimination against LGBT (or other minorities) by private businesses. If the answer is NO then the manifesto is worthless.

    Sounds like a false dichotomy to me: either you support government action to prevent discrimination through threat of fine or imprisonment, or else you support discrimination. It’s a given that libertarians consistently oppose the use of government to solve problems. It’s more than arguable that they’re mistaken in this. But your comment presupposes that no other meaningful solution is possible, which is more or less precisely the point of dispute between you and them.

  • A Masked Avenger

    Once again, without the typo:

    The key part is whether the libertarian party believes there must be laws preventing discrimination against LGBT (or other minorities) by private businesses. If the answer is NO then the manifesto is worthless.

    Sounds like a false dichotomy to me: either you support government action to prevent discrimination through threat of fine or imprisonment, or else you support discrimination. It’s a given that libertarians consistently oppose the use of government to solve problems. It’s more than arguable that they’re mistaken in this. But your comment presupposes that no other meaningful solution is possible, which is more or less precisely the point of dispute between you and them.

  • caseloweraz

    Wenke’s other issue is what he describes as overgenerous government pensions. Apparently Michigan government employees receive a pension equating to 3/4 of their final year’s salary.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    But your comment presupposes that no other meaningful solution is possible…

    Okay, what other meaningful solution is there? If you can’t come up with one, then dshetty’s dichotomy is not false.

    It’s a given that libertarians consistently oppose the use of government to solve problems.

    The entire fucking purpose of government — all forms of government — is to solve problems that can’t be solved by individual action! This is why people create, support and accept government in the first place; and it’s why no human population, large or small, has ever been without some form of government. Libertarians’ rejection of this basic common sense (something I’ve understood since fifth grade) is what makes their whole movement such a worthless stupid fraud.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Wenke’s other issue is what he describes as overgenerous government pensions.

    In other words, he wants to shaft government workers just as much as both Republicans and libertarians. This is Ed’s idea of a brave hero? Fuck him and all his pretentious apologists.

  • vmanis1

    Yes, it’s like Rand Paul’s flipflops on the Civil Rights Act. If you oppose discrimination in public accommodations, but oppose government action, then what is supposed to happen when a group of blacks goes into a whites-only diner and demand service? If the police come when they are called by the owner, that is not neutral; so too is it not neutral if the police refuse to evict the blacks. The very existence of a police force means that government will be taking sides in such disputes, just as they do in disputes between banks and robbers.

    Anarchism (the belief that there should be no governments at all, and that people will just live and interact with each other in humane ways) is a respectable, if utopian, ideology. Libertarianism always seems to me to be a form of conservatism in which existing privilege is protected by the fact that there is no government to level things out. As such, life for the unprivileged in a libertarian regime strikes me as very similar to Thomas Hobbes’s famous statement about living the absence of any form of government: `And the life of man: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.

    That said, I do respect Mr Wernke’s decision to leave the GOP for the Libertarians. I don’t have to support his politics to respect the fact that he finds bigotry unacceptable.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I don’t have to support his politics to respect the fact that he finds bigotry unacceptable.

    Then why did he “defect” to a party that’s been accepting bigotry for decades, if not longer?

  • Michael Heath

    Chiroptera writes:

    I still can’t understand why we aren’t seeing many, many more people leaving the GOP because of their stand for undiluted hatred and against reality.

    As an ex-Republican I couldn’t figure this out either. Then I started reading up on how science has discovered that our right wing is predominately authoritarians. That this group lacks empathy towards those outside their in-group, and are very susceptible to following their leaders like blind, slavish, childish sheep. Where their religion promotes such thinking and submission making it very easy for political demagogues to control these sheep for their own purposes.

  • rabbitscribe

    Libertarians believe there should be a government that solves problems. The Canadian hordes are pouring across the border? The government is all over that. You give me the good swift kick in the ass I so richly deserve, unprovoked and just on general principles? It’s government time. We make a contract, you perform, and I tell you to go piss up a rope? Who ya gonna call? The government.

    I’m in my home doing whatever I want with a plant I own? No role for the government. The Serbs are threatening to re-occupy Kosovo? No role for the government. And, far less sympathetically, you don’t want to associate with old straight white Christian males on your property? No role for the government. You don’t have to like it, but equating Libertarianism with anarchism is not helpful.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Chiroptera @8:

    I still can’t understand why we aren’t seeing many, many more people leaving the GOP because of their stand for undiluted hatred and against reality.

    I suspect the reasons are similar to why more people aren’t leaving the RCC.

    Tribalism and laziness, mostly.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …equating Libertarianism with anarchism is not helpful.

    Neither libertarianism nor anarchism are helpful, so it doesn’t really matter whether we equate them or not.

  • rabbitscribe

    Neither libertarianism nor anarchism are helpful, so it doesn’t really matter whether we equate them or not.

    Oh- I get it! It’s like how everybody to the left of Genghis Khan is a Socialist, but backwards! Wheee!!!

  • jameshanley

    Raging Bee

    The entire fucking purpose of government — all forms of government — is to solve problems that can’t be solved by individual action! This is why people create, support and accept government in the first place; and it’s why no human population, large or small, has ever been without some form of government.

    Historical ignorance serves you well. 😉

  • vmanis1

    Excuse me, but I was contrasting libertarianism with anarchism. They are very different. Anarchism (at least of the idealistic variety) presupposes that human nature can change so that we are all saints. Libertarianism presupposes that if we just reduce or eliminate government, our present inequities and hindrances will disappear, and thus entrenches privilege.

    That said, perhaps libertarian ideology is a bit less bigoted than U.S. social-conservative ideology, so I still applaud Mr Wenke for his change in affiliation. He’s evolved somewhat, perhaps from the Silurian period of the Paleozoic era to the Devonian period of the same era. Lots more room for evolution, but at least he’s started. :)

  • dshetty

    @A Masked Avenger

    or else you support discrimination.

    Nah I said the manifesto is worthless . And it depends on how you define support I suppose. Is Ron Paul stating that women who are harassed should just seek another job anything less than tacit support for harrasment?

    But your comment presupposes that no other meaningful solution is possible,

    Welcome to the real world. It isnt that other solutions aren’t possible – its that you need those protections in place , today. In the future, who knows?

    @rabbitscribe

    Libertarians believe there should be a government that solves problems…….but equating Libertarianism with anarchism is not helpful.

    Ah – but which problems ? – Discrimination is not a problem that famous libertarians want the Government to tackle . So again what is the stance of the libertarian party who you have quoted? Clearly we are aware that people like the Pauls want to be President so they aren’t for abolition of government – you arent telling us something we dont know.

  • rabbitscribe

    dshetty: I’m not entirely sure I understand your question. If you mean, “What is the Libertarian Party’s stance, generally,” their platform is here:

    http://www.lp.org/platform

    If you mean, “What’s their stance on discrimination,” they think that the right to freedom of association trumps it and would allow private businesses to discriminate against protected classes, which is unacceptable to me. If you mean, “Which Libertarian solutions would a liberal view positively,” they’d end the War on Drugs, bring the troops home and slash military spending, curb law enforcement abuses, and return transparency to government (or at least they say they would).

    As far as me not telling you anything you don’t know, my response was to RagingBee # 15, and that post does not admit a difference between Libertarianism and anarchy.

  • dshetty

    they think that the right to freedom of association trumps it and would allow private businesses to discriminate against protected classes,

    Ok so since you posted the platform as a response to Bee @1 I’d say that the part of the platform where they talk about government not discriminating is useless. Ultimately the government doesnt interfere much in our day to day lives but businesses do

    which is unacceptable to me.

    Good. I assume you aren’t libertarian then?

    ” they’d end the War on Drugs, bring the troops home and slash military spending, curb law enforcement abuses, and return transparency to government

    Yeah – Obama was going to do that too,

    my response was to RagingBee # 15

    Sorry wires crossed.

  • rabbitscribe

    Non-discrimination on the part of government is far from useless- see “women in the military” and “faith-based initiatives” for starters. I am not a Libertarian. They (typically) believe property is the most fundamental right, from which all others emerge. That strikes me as farcical. Having said that, I often vote for them, and I voted for Gary Johnson for POTUS in 2012 (I not only voted for, but volunteered for, Obama in 2008). Here are some thoughts from a blog with which you may be familiar:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2012/01/06/obama-liar-fraud-disaster/

    The only people who consistently raise the issue of transparency (as opposed to Team Red bitching only about Team Blue and vice-versa) are the Libertarians. The only people raising the issue of law enforcement abuse are the Libertarians. Have you heard about the Chicago cop acquitted of vehicular homicide because his buddies all swore the shots he was filmed downing were water? How about the judge sending people to jail on drug charges while under the influence of illegal drugs (and how, just this one time, we need to look at the context of her life, have some compassion, and treat it as a private medical issue)? Perhaps you read about the Du Pont heir who got probation for raping a three-year-old? If so, it’s probably from Libertarian journalists. In my view, the ideology is fundamentally misguided, and some of their policy ideas would be catastrophic if implemented (yeah, let’s keep the EPA, thanks). But get them off the issues of property rights, taxes, etc. and they definitely deserve a hearing. When a Democrat says, “You better build a few more auto-pens, because when elected I’m pardoning every non-violent drug offender in the country,” I’ll stop reading Reason.com.

  • Michael Heath

    rabbitscribe wrote:

    I voted for Gary Johnson for POTUS in 2012. . .

    Please explain how Gary Johnson would have reduced the budget deficit to zero in his first submitted budget to Congress if he’d won? Exactly how would that have impacted GDP and unemployment rates?

    Mr. Johnson’s primary campaign plank makes Sarah Palin look like a math whiz, or if Mr. Johnson isn’t as stupid as his budget plan, reveals he holds more cynical contempt for voters than all Republican candidates combined.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Historical ignorance serves you well.

    So, “professor” Hanley, why haven’t you offered any information to counter my “ignorance?” Because you know I’m right and you know you’re wrong. Bluff: called.

    The only people who consistently raise the issue of transparency (as opposed to Team Red bitching only about Team Blue and vice-versa) are the Libertarians.

    The libertarians are a bunch of fucking liars whose entire ideology is crafted to divide and deceive the population to serve the interests of the rich. Their support for “transparency” is “consistently” bogus. And why do we have such a problem with “transparency” in the first place? Because of policies enacted by Team Red, whom the libertards consistently supported.

    The only people raising the issue of law enforcement abuse are the Libertarians…

    Ferfucksake, you lying piece of shit, have you forgotten the people living in communities affected by such abuse?! They’re also consistently raising the issue — and the libertarians ignore them and have nothing to offer them because they’re not rich enough, or white enough, and too collectivist, to deserve actual support from libertarians.

    And what is the best answer to such abuse? How about greater Federal oversight of state and local police actions? That worked before, but libertarians OPPOSED that solution, and spent decades demonizing the big-gummint liberals who supported it. So what alternative did they have to offer? Nothing.

    And how much effect did the libertards’ “raising the issue” really have? None at all, because they’ve always been hand-in-glove with the Republicans who support police abuse; and no one expects them to actually leave the fold, so no one has any reason to take them seriously.

    They (typically) believe property is the most fundamental right, from which all others emerge. That strikes me as farcical. Having said that, I often vote for them, and I voted for Gary Johnson for POTUS in 2012…

    Obama isn’t good enough for you, so you vote for a complete fucking moron with an ideology you know is crap? What the fuck do you think that accomplished? Or did you really give a shit about accomplishing anything? You might as well vote for the Nazis.

    That said, perhaps libertarian ideology is a bit less bigoted than U.S. social-conservative ideology…

    Yeah, a soft racist is less bigoted than a hard racist. Or at least less immediately embarrassing…

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …they’d end the War on Drugs, bring the troops home and slash military spending, curb law enforcement abuses, and return transparency to government…

    The War on Drugs is starting to wind down; and Obama has withdrawn our troops from one useless war, and is in the process of doing the same from another; no libertarian BS necessary.

    And slashing military spending? That’s already being done too, thanks to mindless Republican fiscal policy, with utterly disastrous results, both for our economy and for our standing abroad.

    And how the fuck do you expect a bunch of shameless one-percenter propagandists to bring “transparency” to anything? Your support for libertarianism is based on nothing but wishful thinking and total ignorance of recent events.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    That said, perhaps libertarian ideology is a bit less bigoted than U.S. social-conservative ideology…

    Wow, if “damning with faint praise” was an Olympic sport, that quote would have won you the gold. No way the Russian team could have “topped” that!

  • rabbitscribe

    “Please explain how Gary Johnson would have reduced the budget deficit to zero in his first submitted budget to Congress if he’d won?”

    I can’t explain that, or anything else that happens in a world in which Gary Johnson wins, because envisioning such a world is quite beyond the power of my imagination.

    “You might as well vote for the Nazis.

    I’ll just leave that there.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    Obama isn’t good enough for you, so you vote for a complete fucking moron with an ideology you know is crap? What the fuck do you think that accomplished? Or did you really give a shit about accomplishing anything? You might as well vote for the Nazis.

    You might as well vote for the Nazis.

    lolwut?

    Godwin in the house.

  • Michael Heath

    rabbitscribe writes:

    I voted for Gary Johnson for POTUS in 2012. . .

    I responded:

    Please explain how Gary Johnson would have reduced the budget deficit to zero in his first submitted budget to Congress if he’d won? Exactly how would that have impacted GDP and unemployment rates?

    Mr. Johnson’s primary campaign plank makes Sarah Palin look like a math whiz, or if Mr. Johnson isn’t as stupid as his budget plan, reveals he holds more cynical contempt for voters than all Republican candidates combined.

    rabbiscribe:

    I can’t explain that, or anything else that happens in a world in which Gary Johnson wins, because envisioning such a world is quite beyond the power of my imagination.

    But you voted for him anyway? In spite of the fact that such a policy would crash the economy to an unprecedented catastrophic degree. I’m not sure what your priorities are, but optimal results are demonstrably not on that list.