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The Audacity of Being Gay and Voting Republican - for Fred Karger OP-ED

The Audacity of Being Gay and Voting Republican - for Fred Karger OP-ED

There are more than a few of us who do it, though at times it's tough to admit. As a matter of fact, 31% of us did it during the 2010 House Election. I'm talking about being gay and voting Republican, and I wonder how many more of us would do it if the Republican candidate was gay and/or pro gay.

There are more than a few of us who do it, though at times it's tough to admit.  As a matter of fact, 31% of us did it during the 2010 House Election.  I'm talking about being gay and voting Republican, and I wonder how many more of us would do it if the Republican candidate was gay and/or pro gay.  

A little known fact about the 2012 Republican Presidential candidates is that there is an openly gay Republican among the lot of current gay bashing Republican hopefuls.  Ed Harris look alike Fred Karger is officially the first gay Republican candidate in United States history.  

Soon after his announcement in early 2011, Karger beat Mitt Romney in the Saint Anselm Republican straw poll.  That was the beginning of a very successful path to the presidency for Karger.  No, of course it wasn't.  He's shunned.  He's banned from presidential debates, because, according to Fox News, Karger didn't have enough votes, when in fact his numbers were on par with -- if not more than--Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  

Then it was said his support was only found online and hadn't been verified by actual polling numbers.  You get where this is going.  Karger has worked on several presidential campaigns, worked on initiatives under Reagan and Bush and backed Hillary Clinton during her bid to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, just to name a few of his accomplishments.  Just when we thought an experienced, intelligent, bipartisan politician truly didn't exist, here comes the gay Republican's Obama in that Karger’s focuses on being in inclusive in his politics rather than on alienating particular demographics.

Karger represents the core of Republicanism and the positives (yes, there are many), without the ignorance of someone like Rick Santorum who has vowed to annul all gay marriages and considers gay rights, "privileges", or Rick Perry whose commercial (you know, the one where he's in his Brokeback Mountain-esque jacket) claiming it's wrong that gays can serve openly in the military, and kids can't openly celebrate Christmas.  

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Wow.  Gay aside, as a human being, those agendas and beliefs are sickening, but the Republican in me tells me to stay the course and not abandon ship.  I truly believe there will be a time when Republicans will be inclusive of the LGBT community, but it won't come if we don't take an active part in promoting who we support.  Too many of us wait to be presented with candidates (of all parties) who are primarily brought to the forefront because of their wealth or political ties, without having investigated all of our options.  The small wave of recent gay victories can be overturned very quickly if we're caught sleeping at the wheel.  Case in point -- the New Hampshire legislature is expected to vote this month on whether to repeal the state's same sex marriage law, enacted as recently as 2009.  One has to wonder which states will follow.  

It's no longer a "sure thing" to vote Democrat and expect a blank check for gay and/or human rights.  President Obama, although successful in allowing gay military members to serve openly, has clearly been a disappointment because of his hesitation to support gay marriage, claiming he's "working on" his feelings about it.  That answer is completely unacceptable at this stage of the game.  When I heard Hillary Clinton's remarkably inspiring December human rights speech given in Geneva, I couldn't help but think Obama missed the mark on this one.  Had he been the one giving a speech like this, he would have hit a grand slam -- and not just with Democrats.  To hear the words, "And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights", reminds me that some people do actually get it.  Hillary Clinton gets it, Fred Karger gets it, and I think it's our job to get it where it needs to be, no matter which party it comes from.    




   

 

 

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Tammy Austin