Wisconsin is moving forward when it comes to equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, becoming the latest state to start offering marriage licenses to same-sex partners. Sadly, even as more states continue to recognize that homosexuality is not a choice, a disease or a deviation, we still see people fighting against the changing tide. The recent drafting of the Republican party platform in Texas, which demanded a return to the “option” of discredited reparative therapy as a means of converting someone away from their sexual attraction to members of the same sex, shows a GOP determined to hold onto every last shred of homophobia it can grasp. To do so, they are demanding that the politicians in their party do the same.
Every time they talk about it, frankly, it just gets worse. Just this week Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is expected to toss his hat into the ring for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, once more reminded us how deeply engrained his party’s homophobia is. At a political event in California, Gov. Perry was asked whether he believed that homosexuality is a “disorder,” and his answer was that in fact it was more like a disease.
“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said, according to SF Gate. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
Gov. Perry is by no means the first conservative to compared being gay to being an alcoholic. Ken Buck did the same in his Colorado senate run in 2010, and lost to Democrat Michael Bennett in what was otherwise a Republican sweep year. What’s really interesting in the “alcoholic” language is that it takes the small step of acknowledging biological factors, but then alludes to it as not only a sickness, but something that although it cannot be removed, can be ignored through will and some sort of strength of character, like being an alcoholic is addressed by simply being strong enough to not ever take that drink.
If Gov. Perry’s assertions on homosexuality sound antiquated, though, it’s not nearly as old-fashioned as those of an Oklahoma candidate for the state legislature, whose opinions are downright biblical. According to Death and Taxes’s Robyn Pennacchia, Republican candidate Scott Esk said he wouldn’t be opposed to bringing back stoning to death of homosexuals, at least, not if it were someone else’s idea.
“I think we would be totally right to do it,” Esk told a local publication. ”That goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.” When asked if he really, really meant it was a good idea to kill those who were gay, he asserted, “I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.”
Given yet another chance to clarify his views, Esk still didn’t change his tune. “What I will tell you right now is that was done in the old testament under a law that came directly from God. And in that time, it was totally just, it came directly from God. I have no plans to, you know, reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.”
Despite being given ample opportunities to prove otherwise, the more they are asked about equal rights for the LGBT community, the more Republican politicians continue to assert that homosexuality is at best a sickness that should be fought and at worst a grave sin that one should be executed over.
If this week has shown us nothing else, it has shown us that maybe, just maybe, when it comes to public policy surrounding gays, the Republican party should just stop talking.
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