Op-ed: Log Cabin Republicans have a queer view of equality

Op-ed: Log Cabin Republicans have a queer view of equality April 1, 2019

Log Cabin Republicans are a deluded group who work to persuade their fellow Republicans not to be homophobic, as one might try to persuade bank robbers not to rob banks. As Falstaff put it, ‘Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal. ‘Tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation.’ It’s Republicans’ vocation to pick the side of pointless hostility in any controversy, and it’s a mug’s game to try to talk them out of it.

Image via YouTube

A former President of the Log Cabinners, Gregory Angelo, above, wrote an editorial in the Washington Examiner earlier this month explaining why a proposed new Equality Act would be a bad thing.

Don’t be fooled by the name: The Equality Act is legislation that would compromise American civil rights and religious liberty as we know it. All reasonable Americans, especially gay Americans who support pluralism and tolerance, should oppose it.

The promise of the so-called “Equality Act” is to enshrine comprehensive protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into federal law. If passed, it would ensure that Americans could no longer be fired from their jobs, denied housing, or discriminated against without consequence. It’s a noble goal, and one that 69 percent of Americans support, according to a recent poll.

But! But! Don’t be fooled.

But dig deeper into the details of the “Equality Act,” and sensible people will find that this is bad legislation that will set back the cause of true equality, perhaps by decades.

Most astonishingly, the “Equality Act” includes next to no exemptions for religious liberty.

Shock-horror – how could anyone even write such a piece of legislation in God’s own country? If someone wants to fire a lesbian or evict a gay man because God says heterosexuality is mandatory, who are mere legislators to say no? God has a veto on all legislation, and don’t you forget it!

While no Catholic priest could be compelled by the “Equality Act” to perform a same-sex marriage, for example, Catholic Charities would see any claim to federal funds eliminated as long as they enforced moral policies in line with Church doctrine.

That’s sloppy wording; he must mean “moral policies on mandatory heterosexuality,” not moral policies in general. An Equality Bill wouldn’t eliminate funding for Catholic Charities because they preached charity, for instance. So he means the homophobic moral policies, but he fails to explain why Catholic Charities should receive federal funding while discriminating against people for theocratic reasons.

In the run-up to the United States Supreme Court marriage equality decisions of 2013 and 2015, gay advocates such as myself promised those we disagreed with that allowing same-sex couples to marry would have no effect on them, their families, or their faith.

Passage of the “Equality Act” would make liars out of the lot of us. It would put the nonprofit status of religious charities at risk; it would force mom-and-pop businesses to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies; and it would flout bedrock principles that have served as the foundation of the American experience for centuries.

Which bedrock principles? Ones that say churches and priests should be able to exclude and punish people for no good reason other than “Jesus said”? I don’t think that can be called a bedrock principle.

John Riley at Metro Weekly brings in lawyers to explain what Angelo got wrong:

But several legal experts working for various civil rights groups have blasted Angelo’s rhetoric and what they say is a misrepresentation of what the act actually does.

“The Equality Act incorporates protections for LGBT people using the existing civil rights framework that has been in place for 50 years with respect to race discrimination, national origin discrimination, sex discrimination and discrimination based on religion,” says Jenny Pizer, the law and policy director of Lambda Legal.

I wonder if 50 years is long enough for bedrock principles to form.

Sunu Chandy, the legal director of the National Women’s Law Center, which is backing the Equality Act, echoes Pizer’s comments.

“The Equality Act does not change the longstanding exemptions that are already contained in federal civil rights laws. For example, there are exemptions for religious entities, like churches and mosques and synagogues, that allow varying kinds of protections. There’s also religious protections for individuals in the workplace to have religious accommodations. Those don’t change. There’s also some protections under Federal Housing law for religious entities. … Whatever religious exemptions or religious entities that are available under Federal civil rights laws would remain, and whatever religious protections workers have in the workplace would remain.”

But are we sure no small bakery will ever be forced to make a wedding cake for … Those People?

Rose Saxe, the deputy project director of the LGBT and HIV Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, notes that the alleged harms that Angelo claims will befall adoption agencies, religious organizations, or business owners with conservative religious beliefs have not occurred in the 20 states with robust, LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.

While Catholic Charities has claimed it has been “forced” to close in some states because of its refusal to place children with prospective adoptive or foster parents who are same-sex couples, they have done so of their own accord.

Ah yes, that refusing to follow the law translated to being forced to close down trick. Let us be mean to people or we’ll quit!

I think the lesson here is never try to persuade a political party that has contempt for human rights that it should be fair to just this one set of people and you’ll ignore all the others. Just work with the parties that do give a damn about human rights.

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  • Broga

    Log cabin? Deep into their comforting fantasies. They have no access to wider aspects of life or they might find that the most satisfied and successful countries are the most egalitarian. Instead they are deceived and deluded by the narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopath whom they revere. I owe the previous two descriptions to the Dutch writer Ronald Giphart from his fascinating book “Mismatch: how our Stone Age brains deceive us.”

    One of the Log Cabiners’ difficulties is that I assume they believe the world was created six thousand years ago. ,

  • barriejohn

    The Americans love that sort of thing. There is a well-known Country Gospel group called The Chuck Wagon Gang, founded in 1935, and I’d bet my life that none of them has ever been anywhere near a chuck wagon! Here are the original members (all departed now, I believe):

    http://www.sgnscoops.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/CHUCK-WAGON-GANG-50S.jpg

  • Tawreos

    The LCR cares only for themselves and doesn’t give one damn that other gay people , that don’t have as much money, suffer every day. It really is too bad that they don’t realize that they are only tolerated by the GOP so that the GOP can claim to have gay friends when they do and say hateful shit to the gay community.

  • Broga

    Bit harsh, there, b.j. They look exactly like the kind of people who would be found around a chuck wagon and who live in a log cabin. They are dressed like cowpokes (technical term) who brand steers and break horses.

  • barriejohn

    Do you have a branch of Specsavers?

  • Broga

    I have but I never use it on the basis of their mantra “get one set free”. I tend to the view that there are no free lunches. Specsavers seem to have been in business in 1939 and, from the leaflets they send to me, and the chuckwagon woman’s specs, seem not to have updated their specs from 1939.

    What about the teeth shining white and the jewellery? As they are a Gospel Group I suppose they get to keep their gnashers after they moved to heaven. It’s tough being an atheist. All the sacrifices we make.

  • rubaxter

    ‘Pubicans are, by definition, lickspittles to the corrupt and powerful‘Pubican hierarchy.

    They’re all hoping some of that $$$$ magic will rub off the Rich and the Hereditary Rich onto them.

    Is it any surprise that a Log Cabin group is just as lickspittle and craven to that same Ruling Kleptocracy?

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    These folks have some serious self-loathing going on, don’t they?

  • Brian Davis

    Some of them must have been very young when they founded the group in 1935. Their fashion looks more like 1965 than 1935.

  • Robert Conner

    Looks like Greg’s put on weight. Guess he’s trying to become a “true” Republican. And it looks like his tie’s been sprayed with Der Gropenführer’s spray tan.

  • barriejohn

    I think the two women may have been original members – or at least the one with glasses. You can find out more about them on good old Wikipedia!

  • barriejohn

    I always boycott restaurants offering “two-for-the-price-of-one” meals!

  • Raging Bee

    Was Andrew Sullivan ever an LCR? If so, is he still one now?

  • HematitePersuasion

    I just assumed that LCR are power bottoms who fetishize humiliation & degradation in a political context.

    I’ll stick with that hypothesis until I find evidence to the contrary.

  • Chris Hogue
  • Erp

    Had to do a bit of tracking beyond Wikipedia. The original members were the father and three of his children (youngest of whom would have been 17/18 when the group started). The father died in 1963. They seem to have depression era poor which in Lubbock, Texas, might have included working as cattle farm laborers (though the age of cattle drives with chuck wagons was over); their bio said they were doing sharecropping and cotton picking. In any case it was the Bewley Flour Mills which was sponsoring radio programs and live performances to advertise their products that decided on the name when they chose to sponsor the quartet. Bewley already had a group called the Chuck Wagon Gang which they were using for live performances and decided the Carter Quartet which they would sponsor on the air should have a similar name “Chuck Wagon Gang on the Air”.

    The fashion on the photo might be more early 1950s than 1960s.

  • Jim Jones

    When you vote for the Face Eating Leopard Party, you get . . .

  • barriejohn

    Thanks for that. I’d agree that the photo I posted was probably from the 1950s, and that’s the group that I remember from my days as a young Christian. They were very popular and very easy to listen to. I also loved the Stamps (membership of which group also changed over the years), and especially J.D. Sumner of course, though I’d call it all pure entertainment, and many of the Plymouth Brethren considered it quite sinful! Videos are available on YouTube now, and here’s one that supposedly features the original Chuck Wagon Gang (not the women in the above photo after all, but maybe the mother of at least one of them):

    https://youtu.be/MTXH08hrB3o

  • ginger_katz

    It’s very simple. LCR care more about their money than about their civil rights.