Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Republicans' gay purge continues

Lifted right from The Carpetbagger Report:

Over the weekend, the NYT's Frank Rich practically taunted the religious right about an inconsequential event at the State Department. Dr. Mark Dybul, who is gay, was sworn in as the Bush administration's new global AIDS coordinator. As Rich noted, Dybul was flanked by Laura Bush and Condi Rice.

While taking the oath, however, Dybul's partner held the Bible used in the ceremony. Shortly thereafter, the secretary of state referred to the mother of Dybul's partner as his "mother-in-law." Noting the event, Rich a) dared the religious right to raise a fuss; and b) used this as an example to highlight the fact that "trusted and accomplished gay leaders" serve in "virtually every other power center in America."

As Aravosis noted, the GOP base is paying particular attention to Rich's first point. Here's a report from the American Family Association's website:

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, says the secretary's comments were "profoundly offensive" and fly in the face of the Bush administration's endorsement of a federal marriage protection amendment, though that backing be less than enthusiastic.

"We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," says Sprigg. "But even beyond that, the deferential treatment that was given not only to him but his partner and his partner's family by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is very distressing."

Sprigg says in light of the Foley scandal, "it's inexplicable that a conservative administration would do such things." He also notes that Rice's comments defy an existing law on the books protecting traditional marriage. "So, for her to treat his partner like a spouse and treat the partner's mother as a mother-in-law, which implies a marriage between the two partners, is a violation of the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act," the FRC spokesman states.

Yes, right. Someone call the FBI — the theocons believe Condi Rice may have violated a federal law.

Indeed, in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal, the GOP's far-right base has been even more hysterical than usual about finding every gay person in the party, and driving them out as quickly as humanly possible.

Immediately after the Mark Foley scandal broke, some anti-Republican gay-rights activists composed a memo containing the names of closeted gay Republican Congressional staffers and sent it to leading Christian-right advocacy groups. The founder and chairman of one of those groups, the Rev. Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, told me he has received that memo, which he referred to simply as "The List." Based on The List's contents, Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay "clique" boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley's sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the "subversive" gay staffers.

"They oughtta fire every one of 'em," Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl.

Accuracy in Media, another far-right group, followed up with this unhinged gem:

"If you are getting the idea that gay Republicans may be closeted Democrats, then you are beginning to understand how the Mark Foley scandal could have been a Democratic Party dirty trick. […]

So if the gay Republicans are not really Republicans, what are they? One veteran observer of this network told AIM that the Foley scandal should make it crystal clear that the gay Republicans are in reality "liberal activists" who want to use the party to advance the same homosexual agenda embraced by the Democrats.

Frank Rich responded, "[G]ay people did not "infiltrate" the party apparatus — they are the party apparatus. Rare is the conservative Republican Congressional leader who does not have a gay staffer wielding clout in a major position."

Andrew Sullivan was on The Colbert Report recently, discussing this very issue. "They're going to have to purge all the gays from the Republican Party," Sullivan said, "or they're going to have to start behaving like grown-ups and treat [gay people] like human beings."

Read that report from the AFA again. I have a hunch the party's base has already decided which of the two choices they like better.


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