Thursday, November 10, 2005

Politics Of Hate Backfires On GOP In Virginia

Tuesday’s election results in Virginia should serve as a sobering reminder to the Republican Party that the politics of hate doesn’t always work, even in a conservative, reliably red state like Virginia. The GOP gubernatorial candidate and two incumbent, conservative House of Delegate candidates, all relied on gay-wedge issues, and each of them lost races the party was expected to win.

At the top of the ballot, former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore faced off against Lt. Governor Tommy Kaine. Kaine was decisively more liberal than Kilgore and the man he hoped to exceed, retiring Governor Mark Warner, a former Indianapolis resident. Kilgore attempted to use Kaine’s support of gay adoptions as a wedge issue. Kaine’s position was that the “best interests of the child” should determine approval of an adoption, not the adopting parent’s sexual orientation. Kilgore, by contrast, opposed all gay parent adoptions. Kaine had a less than stellar record on gay civil rights, having supported a ban on gay marriages. Nonetheless, Kilgore sought to cast Kaine as a pro-gay politician. Kilgore’s use of this wedge issue fell flat in the bourgeoning D.C. suburbs in northern Virginia where Kaine routed Kilgore and put him out of his reach.

Richard Black, one of the most outspoken foes of gays in the Virginia House, lost his bid for re-election. Robert Marshall, the author of the Marriage Affirmation Act, won an unexpectedly close race against his opponent. House Delegate Bradley Marrs was upset in his bid for re-election. After his opponent received a large campaign contribution from a gay man, Marrs sent out a fundraising letter attacking his opponent for accepting money from a “wealthy homosexual businessman.” Democrats and even the anti-gay Kilgore criticized Marrs for the letter. Also, Chris Craddock, a preacher and another anti-gay crusader, lost his race. Craddock showed his true colors when he told a group of high school students that “Africans will have sex with anything that has a pulse.”  

While Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a gay marriage ban, Maine voters resoundingly rejected a proposal to repeal the state’s non-discrimination law for gays. For many years, many white candidates found it advantageous to play the race card in close elections. Eventually, that practice fell out of favor and no longer works. Just as race-baiting has lost its effectiveness in campaigns, so too will gay-baiting. The sooner the Republican Party figures that out, the sooner it can start looking to the future through the front windshield rather than the rear view mirror.

1 comment:


It's incredibly important to raise awareness regarding GLBT issues. Politicians and lay people alike would benefit greatly from examining their hatred.

Somewhat related, check out today's entry, if you'd like: