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McCain the appeaser
McCain the appeaser
by Marc Paige - Special to the SGN

Remember the 1999 John McCain who said he would be "comfortable" with a Gay president? He is long gone. John McCain today is uncomfortable with even a Gay-friendly vice-president. The 2008 John McCain states that those who support the rights of Gay people are not welcome on his presidential team.

In an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard magazine on August 13, McCain made it clear that in choosing a running mate, he would be more comfortable picking pro-choice former Governor Tom Ridge, with whom he disagrees on abortion rights (which the Republican Party likens to murder), over picking a "pro-Gay rights" Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "I think it's a fundamental tenet of our party to be pro-life but that does not mean we exclude people from our party that are pro-choice. We just have a strong disagreement. And I think Ridge is a great example of that. Far more so than Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is pro-Gay rights, pro, you know, a number of issues."

It is important to note that the dealbreaker for McCain was Bloomberg's support for the expansive concept of "Gay rights," which could include employment non-discrimination, hate-crimes protections, eliminating discrimination in the military, Gay parental and adoption rights, helping at-risk Gay youth, and other policies that recognize and protect the humanity and dignity of Gay Americans. The issue of same-sex marriage was never mentioned in McCain's dismissal of Bloomberg's politics.

Some have argued that on same-sex marriage, Barack Obama and McCain are identical, as both believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. However, the truth is that Obama supports giving federal marriage rights to Gay couples in the form of civil unions, and McCain supports nothing for Gay couples. As the 2008 election nears, McCain has been touting his anti-Gay bona fides more, exciting the far right, and frustrating and confusing the few Gay supporters he has left.

Since the campaign began, McCain has deemed Gay couples unfit to be adoptive parents, and declared that openly Gay people in the military would put our national security "at grave risk." Recently, McCain switched from supporting a federalist approach to define marriage, to actively endorsing an anti-Gay amendment to California's state Constitution, and he described a scenario where he might flip from his past opposition to a national Constitutional amendment prohibiting Gay unions. Gay former Congressman Jim Kolbe's praise of McCain for being "straightforward and consistent" has become laughable.

The most lasting and devastating damage McCain could bring to Gay Americans would come via his imprint on the United States Supreme Court. At a recent forum, McCain said he would never have nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter, or John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court. These four jurists happen to be ones who found it unconstitutional for any state to criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults. For his part, Obama cited Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas as Justices he would not have nominated. They are the Court's two jurists most disdainful of any legal recognition for Gay Americans, and support the rights of states to criminalize Gay men and women for having sex. Justices Stevens and Ginsburg will likely retire within the next four years, and either a President Obama or a President McCain will be naming their replacements.

The myth of McCain the "maverick" has given way to the reality of McCain the appeaser, quite willing to use the crass Gay-baiting of his peers to gain favor with the anti-Gay wing of the Republican Party. Despite past meetings with Gay Republicans and a recent meeting with the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, McCain's anti-Gay rhetoric has only increased. It would be unconscionable for any Gay individual or organization to support John McCain's bid to lead our nation.

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