In Praise of the “Gay Issue Voter”

ImageToday a commentator named Nolan Finley wrote an Op Ed piece in the Detroit News in which he stated, “I’ve got no problem with single issue voters. If you feel so passionately about one thing, be it gay marriage or abortion or taxes, that it overwhelms all other considerations, that’s your business.”  Then, he went on to criticize one “single issue voter” in particular.

He specifically addressed a Huffington Post piece by Kergan Edwards-Stout in which Mr. Edwards-Stout cordially invited people on his Facebook “Friends” list to de-friend him if they did not honor his civil rights and planned to vote for Romney.

Mr. Edwards-Stout was not alone. An actor, Max von Essen, also wrote a piece essentially doing the same thing.  And I agree with both of them.

Mr. Finley obviously did not, and brought out his descrpitions to attach to Mr. Edwards-Stout: “insanity”, “close-minded” ,“intolerant” ,”nuttier”, “extreme narcissism” , “unbelievable smugness”, and “hating someone”.  All of Mr. Finley’s comments were made for the altruistic purpose of not “drawing ourselves into impenetrable circles” preventing “more civil national dialogue”.  Because Mr. Finley’s insults were, of course, civil.  In that Ann Coulter kind of way.

That seems to be the outer limits to Mr. Finley’s understanding of the concept of “civil”, however.  He does not grasp the concept in the bigger sense of Civil Rights, or the passions and sacrifices around it.

I realize that Mr. Finley comes from a place of abject entitlement.  I fully understand that he does not relate to the offense the Republican party has dished out for the last year:  from the heinous bully pulpits of Rick Santorum, to the ex-gay therapy practices of Michelle Bachmann, to cocky anti-gay ads of Rick Perry, to the complete unforgivable silence by the whole dais of candidates when gay soldier Steve Snyder-Hill was booed by an audience of their party members, to the gay civil rights-attacking Republican Party platform document.  No, Mr. Finley does not understand why anyone would rankle under that ongoing abuse.

He also appears clueless to the fact that the Romney/Ryan policies would strip Mr. Edwards-Stout’s family of all legal protection, potentially threaten his spouse’s parental rights over their children, and that in spirit,   Romney/Ryan’s philosophy would deny Mr. Edwards-Stout his children themselves.

Mr. Finley sees feelings about “one issue” as being as passionate as one can get over having to pay, or not pay, more taxes.  I get that he does not care about the effect of Romney/Ryan on the lives of gay people.  That is clear.

What is not clear, and what I do not get… is why he would expect Mr. Edwards-Stout to feel that way.  Or, by extrapolation, for me to feel that way.  It is not “an issue” for us under siege by Romney/Ryan, it is the whole foundation of our lives and equal rights.  It is not “a single issue” it is our Declaration of Independence and Constitution all rolled up into one.

Mr. Finley appears very competent in rolling out insulting adjectives, so here is one for him.  Through the wonder of mind-numbing self-centeredness resulting in an incredible obtuse myopia, Mr. Finley’s piece is incredibly …….Stupid.

Mr. Finley stated that he would rather talk baseball and drink beer than speculate on Facebook de-friending.  So fine.  In baseball terms, Mr. Finley…  you’re OUT.

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About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: and here:
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13 Responses to In Praise of the “Gay Issue Voter”

  1. kzottarelli says:

    Great post Rob!!!

  2. Gina says:

    Tom, while I would truly hope that anyone wishing to be married be allowed to do so, I must ask you, Do you really believe completely, that our current President will/can do anything after this election, should he be voted in again, (and quite possibly be faced with a Rep. house or Senate, or both) which will actually help you and Steve to be married? He had complete control for two years to push through so many things with executive orders, which he has used more than any other President, that would have helped you. There are so many ways to look at this. I feel Obama has failed everyone, not only your right to be married. I am not pushing a candidate, I am wondering though, why every single homosexual and lesbian would not cast their vote for a 3rd party candidate this election, what a powerful message that would be. In two years, there will be senatorial and gubernatorial elections held, don’t you think the democratic candidates would do more for you if they looked back at this election and saw that not one homosexual, lesbian, and families to, did not vote for either the Republican or Democratic candidate. There is also another view I read which explains, you already have the Democrats on your side, it’s the Republicans blocking you. The movements and successes which it took to convince Democrats needs to now take place with the Republicans. Therefore a Romney office would be your next area to attack and you would have the Democrats behind these movements, so they may not be as difficult. And my last thought would be, I hope that you would not lose one single family member over an election, how sad. If your candidate isn’t voted in, take care of all of the paperwork which leaves you and Steve completely protected.

    • robw77 says:

      Hi Gina, Thanks for opening up discussion. There are many areas in your post where I believe you are misguided. Let’s start with your last statement first…. there is NO amount of paperwork in existence that would leave Tom and Steve as protected as an opposite sex married couple. There are 1100 federal protections and 500+ state protections around marriage… even marriages for same sex couples in New York or Massachusetts do not grant the bulk. Your characterization of Obama is misguided… sorry, it just is. He is President, not king. He is, in fact, the MOST LGBT friendly President in the history of the country… so to advise all LGBT people (who do not vote en masse, by the way) to vote for some fictitious LGBT candidate is to advise us not to vote at all. That is kind of disgusting. Lastly, the article you are making reference to that suggests that since LGBT’s have “wrapped up” the Democratic party and now should vote Republican to “get them on our side” has been widely regarded as delusional. Not only have the Republicans been antagonistic to such overtures, they have spit in the face of LGBTs who tried– witness the heinous Republican Platform that was made even more ugly to LGBTs because the Log Cabin Republicans dared to try to question it. If Romney gets elected, he will have an amazing sway over the Supreme Court and that will keep couples like Tom and Steve not only targets for anti-gay bigoty, but without a route to justice as well.
      Thank you for sharing your opinion.

      • Gina says:

        Hi Robw77, Thanks also for your opinion. I really am not here to provoke or promote, rather to understand. My brother is gay, he is happy that the democrats are supporting gay marriage, finally, but he is skeptical that after this election, should Obama win, nothing more will be done for the special interest groups of this country. He lives in California with his partner of 27 years. He has a will which spells out what his partner will receive upon his death. He also has given his partner power of attorney and has made myself, brothers and mother aware of all of his wishes. So I’m not sure what it is he still needs to do to ensure that his partner be in charge of his medical decisions should he not be able to make them and the distribution of his property through his will. I still feel although Obama finally decided politically to support gay marriage, he has not done enough, He hasn’t done enough regarding immigration, which he promised, he seems to only have done enough for votes. Religiously Obama still does not believe in same sex marriage, but then again his religion is not supposed to cross over into his political life, which I believe hasn’t.

      • robw77 says:

        Hi Gina, Thanks for the continued discussion. Obviously none of us have a crystal ball, but I don’t see any real rationale for your brother’s fears from the stand point of the intentions of the Democrats. Where he may have a point is in process as Obama does not make the laws, Congress does, and if the House of Representatives remains under Republican control, it will be difficult to get really progressive things passed. That being said, the Democratic Platform, which is the party’s roadmap has outlined protections for gay people. The Republican platform has outlined taking away things that gay people now have.
        As for your brother’s situation — if he and his partner were married, his partner would pay substantially less taxes on their MUTUAL property than he will under their current set up. Also, if they travel to another state and one of them is hospitalized, they may not be able to visit each other if they don’t carry their paperwork file, and they may not be able to even WITH the paperwork. If Romney gets in, and gets his way, states could get stripped of same sex marriage like protections the way North Carolina has and that would invalidate what your brother has in place today. Also, if your brother and partner were married as any other married couple, if your brother died, his partner would receive social security that your brother had paid. Now, your brother’s partner would get nothing of your brother’s SS money. If he were a woman, he would. These are only the tip of a very detailed ice berg.
        I am very glad, sincerely, that you support your brother and intend to carry out his wishes. Many gay people are not so lucky and their families have done very horrible things to grieving gay partners. (example here: )
        Obama is currently helping on the gay initiatives around the country. If he is re-elected there would be no reason for him to suddenly become unsupportive. The resistance he had to full support at the get-go is no longer an issue, and that would be to have to have anti-gay people still vote for him so he could get elected. Romney has all sorts of motivation to strip gay people of rights if he gets elected– if he doesn’t , his base won’t show up for him in four years. Obama has refused to defend DOMA, and that could have a huge impact on your brother and his partner if they go out of state… and again, it would not be in Obama’s interest to suddenly support it after being elected.
        On other issues, in my opinion, Obama has led us through steady , but slow , recovery. I don’t think any other means was possible as the events that happened during the Bush years to financial institutions were devastating and there are no easy fixes. Romney only wants to go back to systems that created the original mess. I believe we have to let Obama finish the job he started…gay issue and otherwise.
        Thanks again for the discussion.

      • Gina says:

        Dear robw77,
        I’m very familiar with as I actually donated money in order for this to become a full fledged documentary. I’m not here to debate candidates, just hoping Tom won’t lose his family over an election. Everyone is allowed to vote for the candidate of their choice, some will vote on one issue while some will vote on many issues. Thanks for all the advice for my brother, but as you said he is fortunate as all of us will honor his wishes. It’s not a perfect world nor a perfect situation currently, I’m certainly hopeful that someday this country will be on track again for all.
        Take care.

    • kzottarelli says:

      Hi Gina, It would be wonderful if there was a third party candidate we could vote for and actually have a chance of being elected, unfortunately doing that will take votes away from one or the other candidates and they would lose because of all those non votes that would have been theirs if not for voting for the third party that will never have enough votes to win anyway. And although Obama has not been perfect ( and who is?), at least he has tried to do the most for all us regular folks. He IS the first President to ever stand up for the gay community publicly and he believes we all have the right to health care, and in a womens right to her own body and decisions about her body. Those may sound like more then one issue but to me it is all one issue, the issue of human rights, treating all people with respect,for them to conduct their lives the best way they can, without fearing getting sick or bigger still, fearing who they love. And believe me, there are cases upon cases of gay couples leaving all the proper paper work in place and it didn’t matter, after their deaths their families (who very well might have been loving and supportive when they were alive), now are fighting the partner for the estate. And if it is not made law that gay couples have all the same rights and protection under that law they can’t be equal because it leaves the door open to hurtful, hateful, bigots to deny without any recourse. It’s 2012, I would like to think that we will continue to move forward, and evolve enough to understand people are just that, people and not be defined by who they love, the color of their skin and that we all have the same basic human rights, and I don’t see that happening with a republican, who most seem intent on moving backward. So I guess my one issue is, who is moving us forward in all things, not backward.

  3. Because of you I sent this to my family, thanks to the courage I got from you.
    To my family,
    The article linked above is the catalyst for this letter to you.

    A number of family members have been notably silent on the election year, Republican social issues as they affect Steve and I.

    I will be a single issue voter this year more than in any year before. Only the Democrat platform is free of bigotry. More and more people are publicly speaking of the hateful anti-gay rhetoric of the Republicans. It is becoming far more damaging than typical election-year hyperbole.

    In this election, it’s becoming more obvious that the perennial tax issue is a red-herring meant to distract attention from a larger and sinister social agenda of anti-gay hate. If you doubt the truth of that statement, you’re not paying attention.

    This summer we signed a pledge to make our family members aware of the personal consequences to us, of the Republican political intentions. We’ve tried, clumsily and indirectly, to ask that question already. Now it’s time for me to ask you openly and directly, of your voting intentions.

    I can only assume that those who have not responded to us, do indeed feel that their taxes and personal, social-religious convictions outweigh the tangible financial, physical and emotional damage that the Republican- Catholic- conservative religious agenda intends to impose upon us. Romney could not be any more clear than with the document he signed on behalf of the national organization for marriage (N.O.M.) which states that he will work from the beginning to permanently marginalize us from equal integration into civil society.

    This means he intends to limit our spousal inheritance rights, our old-age security, our protections in the courts, and bar us from over 1000 other protections that guarantee the long-term well-being of American citizens. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney has even denied birth certificates to children of same-sex couples. All in deference to the strident voice of religious conservatives who are afraid of the unknown and who are willing to throw their own family members into the social abyss as a sacrifice to a vengeful god.

    We deserve to know in clear terms, whether you feel that our lives, our financial security and our well-being have less value than yours. Please have the courage to be honest with us, because your silence only makes things worse for us as it is also doing for many, many other gay families.

    I did not choose to be gay. It is as much of a god-given characteristic as any other aspect of my being. Yet many churches, denominations and the Republican party are attempting to speak on God’s behalf with absolute, arrogant and unwaivering authority and name me as less than human.

    In particular the Catholic church has invested huge quantities of money and time into severely threatening my wellbeing. And yet within Catholc doctrine, its followers are supposedly allowed the “primacy of informed conscience.”

    Well regardless of your religious attitudes, employ your conscience. You know me. You know Steve. You know how our relationship has withstood many trials over 29 years. Your conscience should not allow you to vote under the influence of a church, or a political party, for an individual who, with no personal knowlege of me whatsoever, would openly speak of making us permanent, second-class citizens with fewer civil rights than you enjoy.

    You have a choice to be as self-serving with your vote as I intend to be. However, my vote will not serve to denegrate your very personhood. My vote will not do direct, personal, individual damage to the future security of your children. By comparison, for example, a Republican vote will grant more future rights to an unborn fetus than to a gay person. Mine will do no such thing.

    Republicans and conservatives have placed themselves into a situation where they must personally own the clearly-stated hatred of their party and they must recognize the real day-to-day consequences of their decision and their vote.

    Republicans have begun a sort of civil war which will most assuredly split families apart. Again, please have the courage and the decency to address the issue directly with your family members who are being so blatantly assaulted.

    I am willing to accept the consequences. You should be too.

    With frank honesty,

  4. Clap ……. clap ……. clap …….

    Best. Post. Ever. I’ll be sharing the h*ll out of this.

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