HRC and NBJC: RNC Chairman Michael Steele is a Stumbling Block for Equality
February 27, 2009
HRC Associate Director of Diversity Donna Payne and National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director H. Alexander Robinson offer up a due smackdown of the new hippity-hip-hop, "are you crazy?" talkin' Republican National Committee Playa Chairman Michael Steele in a new must-read editorial at Huffington Post. Steele may think the LGBT community hasn't noticed how he's already reneged on his early talk of making the GOP more inclusive after he became chairman--but Payne and Robinson assure him that his recent anti-LGBT words have been duly noted:
Like many others who watch political leadership closely, we were initially optimistic about the election of Michael Steele as the chair of the Republican National Committee. Not only did he offer a different face to the party, his profile had been one more of inclusion than exclusion. We hoped we might see the party led beyond strict conservative orthodoxy, particularly when it came to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.Those hopes were quickly and emphatically dashed. This week Steele told conservative radio host Michael Gallagher that even having a conversation about protecting same-sex couples through a second-class status of civil unions would be to "backslide on a core, founding value of this country." For the first African American chairman of the Republican Party, Steele should rethink using "founding values" as a weapon against those different than himself.
So while Mr. Steele is busy dishing out soundbites left and right, trying to sell himself as the new, homeboy handlin' thangs in his GOP posse, the reality is that Mr. Steele just represents more of the same messaging we're used to hearing from the Grand Old Party - albeit in a slightly different packaging.... You tell 'em, Mr. Robinson and Ms. Payne:
While we will continue to advocate marriage as the only true and equal protection for families, Steele would have us shut down that conversation entirely. Summarily denying basic legal protections on the basis of tradition and "foundational institutions" has a familiar - and frightening - ring to it.The ideal of equality was the real wisdom of the founders. Yet some - including the new chair of the Republican Party - want to bend the arc of the moral universe back toward injustice by denying LGBT people the same rights as everyone else.
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