Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Small Government. Unless You're Gay.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Republicans and Democrats both believe in limited government. Republicans want to limit the government’s interference in your financial life, and Democrats want to limit the government’s interference in your sex life.

    Rep. Joe Walsh’s campaign biography calls him “a lifelong advocate for limited government” who ran for Congress “troubled by the recent rapid growth of government spending and involvement in our lives.”

    Tea Party Republicans such as Walsh objected to Washington bailing out the Wall Street banks and the auto companies, because government shouldn’t choose winners or losers in the marketplace. They objected to Obama’s attempt to institute national health care. They believe that should be the responsibility of individuals -- or of states, if they so choose, a philosophy they call federalism.

    There is, however, one group that Republicans want to exempt from their policy of federalism: homosexuals. In 1996, the Republican Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which held that Red States wouldn’t have to recognize gay marriages conducted in Blue States, even though the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution requires states to honor each other’s civil proceedings. It also prohibited the federal government from extending benefits to gay spouses. President Bill Clinton, about to face an electorate much less gay-friendly than today’s, signed the bill.

    This year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the federal government would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act from a lawsuit filed by gay opponents. So the House of Representatives decided to step in.

    According to a Washington Post editorial:

    Here, in plain language, is what the House had to say in urging a federal court to throw out the lawsuit: Gay men and lesbians have not been discriminated against long enough to warrant special protection; being gay is not an “immutable characteristic,” unlike race or gender; and, in any case, gays and lesbians are not politically powerless and have made great strides, among them securing the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

    Walsh previously co-sponsored a resolution directing the speaker to take “any and all actions necessary” to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. He has also quoted studies claiming that opposite-sex parents do a better job of raising children than same-sex parents.

    This year, nearly every Republican candidate has pledged to support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would take the decision out of the states’ hands all together.

    So why doesn’t the Tea Party just adopt an honest slogan: “Small Government. Unless You’re Gay.” 

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!