Some Republicans are having a change of heart about same-sex marriage — not tons, and not even a remarkable amount, but a few are. Last week, GOP Senator Rob Portman, citing influence from his gay son, said "I now believe that [gay] people ought to have the right to get married." He joined GOP members of the House Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Richard Hanna, and it warmed our little gay marriage-loving hearts. Because it's a wonderful thing; they are on the right side of history, and they're not going to be humiliated in the AP American Government textbooks of the future.
Now, we just need them to get the rest of their damn party to hop on board the decency express, first stop: Not Being a Terrible Human Being.
And it's not just GOP politicians who are getting in on it — Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist who's known for speaking her mind — she famously tweeted at Mitt Romney after the 2012 election was called, "Mitt Romney self-deported himself from the White House," and according to the Tampa Bay Times, she's a fiscal conservative, foreign policy hawk, pro-immigration reform, Republican who believes in climate change — is, perhaps unsurprisingly, pro same-sex marriage.
Navarro appears, in many ways, to be the very best sort of representative her party has to offer — a fiscal hardliner who is sensible about basic truths and rights.
However, there is a problem with Navarro and many in her party, and it's demonstrated perfectly by her recent showing on Meet the Press. Starting at 4:42, she says about the issue of same-sex marriage:
As the youngest person on this panel, I think it is generational.
People like Will Portman are a lot more comfortable living her truth today than people were 20, 30, 40 years ago. But I also think it's a personal chose... and Republicans we are the party of personal freedom, of family values... I think it's a personal choice for everybody and an issue of tolerance.
I want people who are pro traditional marriage to tolerate my views and don't think that makes me less moral or less of a Republican. And I need to tolerate the views of those who think marriage is just between a man and a woman and know that that does not make them a bigot — it's a personal choice.
So, what she's saying here is that being a bigoted idiot who's actively trying to restrict another person's rights doesn't make you a bigot with a terrible opinion? Because, no; that's not how things work. You can't say "I'm pro-female infanticide so please be tolerant of my OPINION GOD," and not expect people to be like, "Go home, you're drunk, Michele Bachmann." It's where Navarro — and many of her contemporaries — get it wrong; being anti same-sex marriage does, in fact, make you a bigot. And while being grossed out by two men fucking is personal choice (a shitty one, but still), fighting against equality isn't — that's a public condemnation. It's actively taking equal rights off the table.
Even if a few members of the GOP are more progressive on this topic, they owe it to themselves, to their communities, and to their party to stand up for equality. Saying "your clearly fucked opinion that encroaches on other people's rights is FINE BY ME," is not good enough. The truth is, it's not okay to interfere with a person's right to marry the one they love, and it shouldn't be radical to say as much.
The GOP needs a hard dose of reality, and they need to look forward into the future. In 2011-2012, sixty-two percent of people 18-29 supported gay marriage, compared with just thirty-two percent of those 65 or older supported gay marriage. Young people are down with same-sex marriage — the tides are turning, and Republicans need to hop on the tolerance surfboard.
Navarro has a powerful, uncompromising voice — as do many of the same-sex marriage supporters in her party. She needs to use it — and so do all the Republicans who don't want to see their party go the way of the dodo bird.
The Republicans who are sane on the issue need to stand the fuck up and be vocal. They need to state respectfully, firmly, and repeatedly that marriage equality isn't an issue that's up for debate; it is a given right. They need to recognize that gay people are people — people who must be afforded the exact same fucking rights as every other American. Anyone who thinks differently needs to be marched to the ER by one of their same-sex marriage backing peers to have their head immediately extracted from their butthole, and they need to return from that trip wearing a rainbow flag toga and married to someone with matching genitals.*
These Republicans have an exciting opportunity — they can be the ones who get their party back on course. It calls to mind the ridiculously over-referenced but nevertheless powerful quote that's often attributed to Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
That's you, Ana Novarro. And Rob Portman. And Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Richard Hanna. You must be vocal about this injustice, and you must get your peers to listen. Because if not, we run the risk of permanently losing one of our political parties — and that's a damn shame. Or, you know, you'll just have to become a Democrat — don't forget to bring Megan McCain!
*JK, unless that's you're thing. Which it might be, because it sounds like an awesome thing.