Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Laura Bush on Gay Marriage

Laura Bush has a book of memoirs out now and Politico has some excerpts. This passage jumped out at me:

“In 2004 the social question that animated the campaign was gay marriage,” Mrs. Bush writes in her 456-page book. “Before the election season had unfolded, I had talked to George about not making gay marriage a significant issue. We have, I reminded him, a number of close friends who are gay or whose children are gay. But at that moment I could never have imagined what path this issue would take and where it would lead.”

I’ve said many times that I don’t think George W. Bush gave a damn about gay marriage. And Dick Cheney not only doesn’t care about stopping it, he’s actually for it. His daughter is, after all, in a gay marriage, with an adopted child that, by all accounts, the Cheneys treat no differently than any other grandchild.

In fact, I don’t think the vast majority of Republican leaders care a whit about stopping gay marriage. The number of gays in the Republican establishment is large — larger than the Democrats, I’m told by many who should know — and that fact is hidden only from the public, not from one another. I was given a list of gay Republicans in prominent positions in Washington well over a decade ago by a well connected gay Republican and most of them have since been outed, officially or unofficially (yes, the list included Larry Craig and many others who have subsequently been revealed).

The unspoken rule among gay Republicans is to keep it in the closet. They don’t care who’s gay and who’s not, but one of their major constituent groups — the religious right — does. So keep it under wraps and keep pretending to be anti-gay when you’re in public and you get to keep your job and the party gets to appease its most powerful bloc of voters.

In fact, I think this makes the anti-gay positions of the Republican party even more vile than the position taken by their religious right backers. The religious right backers are at least sincere in their belief that homosexuality is ungodly and wrong. People like Bush and Cheney have many gay friends that they love and respect, yet they sold those friends out in the name of political expediency. That’s even worse than a genuinely held bigotry in my book.