GOP: No Gays Allowed

Andrew Sullivan —  May 1 2012 @ 4:28pm

Here's a statement from Romney's foreign policy spokesman, Ric Grenell, who has been prevented from, er, being a spokesman these past two weeks because of a Christianist campaign:

I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.

But it decidedly was not a non-issue for the base:

The ongoing pressure from social conservatives over his appointment and the reluctance of the Romney campaign to send Grenell out as a spokesman while controversy swirled left Grenell essentially with no job.

Why? Grenell – like almost every homosexual in America – favors equal marriage rights for gays. He has indeed blasted Obama for his reticence on this question. He is also quite clearly a movement neo-conservative on a whole variety of issues, especially the area he was selected to be a spokesman for: national security. He was John Bolton's spokesman for Pete's sake. If a Boltonite cannot be allowed to speak about foreign policy because he is gay, is there any place for any gays in the GOP? National Review's Matthew Franck pounced last week:

When the Obama State Department is already moving to elevate the gay-rights agenda to a higher plane than religious freedom in the foreign policy of the United States, it is reasonable to wonder whether Grenell, after taking such a prominent place in the Romney campaign’s foreign-policy shop, would be in line for an influential State posting where he could pursue his passion for that same agenda.

In a subsequent post, Franck went further and abandoned any pretense:

Williamson is quite sure that it is harmless to hire an ardent advocate of same-sex marriage for a prominent place in a campaign pledged to defeat same-sex marriage, because the hireling’s brief runs to matters not directly related to the issue. If he thinks that the gay-rights agenda doesn’t have any bearing on American foreign policy, he’s not paying attention. If he thinks that influence doesn’t run up as well as it does down in the hierarchy of a campaign, that voters are not inclined, with some justice, to regard hiring decisions such as this as an indication of the seriousness of the candidate about such a subject, and that it doesn’t matter whether the campaign is seen to be unequivocal on an issue that moves many millions of voters, then he is not the keen observer of politics I took him for.

(To be fair to NRO, Kevin Williamson was a voice for toleration.)

If opposition to marriage equality is a litmus test for gay inclusion in the Romney campaign and administration, then there will be scarcely a single openly gay person willing to sign up to play any part in it. It has come to this. The GOP will have no gays within it unless they are prepared openly to oppose their own core rights and dignity. Romney has gone from promising to be more pro-gay in the Senate than Ted Kennedy than hanging a lone gay spokesman out to dry and pledging to write into the very constitution that gays are second class citizens.

If you're gay, or your friend, son, daughter, brother, sister, aunt or uncle is gay, you just learned something about what the GOP now is. Do not forget it.