How the ’Family Values’ Political Scandals May Benefit Gay Marriage
One by one, the so-called "family values" Republicans--including those considered potential 2012 presidential candidates--are falling like dominoes.
They preach about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of a man and a woman raising children, then get caught with their pants down (literally). Like TV evangelists tearily confessing to marital infidelities, they parade before the cameras to admit breaking their vows.
Here’s the good (better?) news: These political promoters of fundamentalist Christian principles who apparently don’t bother to practice what they preach could prove to be a windfall for advocates of marriage equality and same-sex family adoptions.
GOP South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is only the latest. Deserting his spouse and statehouse responsibilities on Father’s Day no less, he secretly flew off to Argentina to see his "soul-mate." Pundits believe that every time Sanford opens his mouth he digs himself into a deeper hole.
Just this week he told AP the relationship existed longer than he initially acknowledged and included some allegedly non-sexual trysts in New York. And, despite his amorous feelings for his Argentine amore, he said in the interview that he wants to make up with his wife. He also reported he had had lust in his heart for other women, but never bedded them.
Before Sanford’s startling admissions, U.S. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) confessed to an affair and resigned as chair of the Senate’s Republican Policy Committee, but plans to hold onto his seat.
Then there’s married Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), who a while back was caught in the D.C. Madam sting. According to some news blogs, he asked hookers in New Orleans to make him wear diapers. Former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), famous for his "wide stance" in the men’s room at the Minneapolis airport.
Ater admitting there’s something about him "I find really creepy," Gail Collins wrote, in a New York Times op-ed, that Mitt Romney "secretly believes the tide of sex scandals is going to continue to roll through the ranks of the Republican presidential hopefuls until by 2011 he’s the only one left bobbing."
Maybe. Attorney Evan Wolfson, founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, said of "family values" politicians like Sanford, "These people run around the country denying encouragement and support for gay people. That’s the hypocrisy of their position."
Part of the purpose of marriage is to bring the support of friends, family and community to people, added the head of the partnership of gays and straight allies working to win marriage equality nationwide, Gays and lesbians who are married or want to do so "need that support and it turns out so does Mark Sanford," he added in an interview with EDGE.
Wolfson--a pioneer in the marriage equality movement going back to his time at Lambda Legal, the nation’s preeminent LGBT advocacy legal group--pointed out that there should be a boundary between what’s done in the name of government and society and people’s personal lives.
Conservative politicians with marital infidelities, he said, "don’t respect that boundary when it comes to gay people but it turns out they want that boundary honored when they let down the people and show themselves to be hypocrites. But they really shouldn’t be able to have it both ways."