There are two ways of looking at the Republican attempt to “cement inequality”into the immigration bill, as one advocate for LGBTers put it. It is either what I described in yesterday’s blog — the GOP’s attempt to divide and conquer or separate the many colors of the rainbow coalition in an attempt to crush it — or else the social conservatives are “that insecure” about the nuclear family.
As I write in Out of Many, One, “Republican rule did not stop free-market television from creating and producing Murphy Browns, Simpsons, Wills, or Graces. . . . [But] out of government, parts of the Moral Majority — largely white, upper-middle-class and working-class heterosexual Christian men — triggered the ferment that today underlies the Tea Party movement, expressing their dismay, discontent, and disgruntlement with hegemonic cultural change” about the nuclear family.
They are up against a president who supports the New Normal family. Obama supports equal adoption rights for LGBTers. He has urged states to treat members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) community and same-sex couples with “full equalityin their family and [under] adoption laws.” The Obama State Department started issuingpassports to transgendered people. And Obama supports the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). This little-known and little-publicized legislation offers same-sex binationalcouples the same “rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.”
How can President Obama ask the world to accept the LGBT community — particularly the transgendered, who can obtain a passport during the transition stage — and then not expect our own nation to respect the full rights of all LGBTers?
The Washington Post today covers Senator Schumer’s hard decision. But this decision is not hard. Stand behind the LGBTer community and fight for immigration rights to secure 11 million new Latino voters. Don’t let the GOP parse any colors out of that rainbow.
Half a century ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 almost went down when Rep. Howard W. Smith of Virginia, a powerful and vehement opponent of civil rights for African-Americans, included an amendment prohibiting sex discrimination in the legislation. While no one knows if he did this in a cynical move to defeat the Civil Rights Act, one thing we do know is it backfired, because the amendment passed and remains in the law to this day.
So let this discriminatory provision in the immigration bill backfire, please. If the United States breaks out into a full-fledged cultural cleavage, then the Democrats will finally have found a foothold in the culture wars. If the Democrats take Obama’s side in featuring this coalition, they can win. The United States is less homophobic and more accepting of all peoples and all rights, including the rights of the transgendered. The former “moral majority” is now a minority. And Democrats like Schumer must stand tall next to Obama. They can’t afford to back down.