December 29, 2011
Ron Paul and Tolerance

I’m a big believer that actions speak louder than words.  Here’s an article that relates to Ron Paul’s actions (through his legislative voting) on issues of civil liberties.

Imagine a candidate who, more than 15 years ago, fundraised and attempted to garner financial and political support from a group of people based on a letter taking a political position offensive to many U.S. voters. That letter was sent from “Friends of” the candidate, contained the candidate’s name and signature, and misstated a position that offends many U.S. voters today, 15 years later.

Over a decade later, that formerly obscure candidate starts to matter in politics. And in an attempt to deflect attention from that letter, the candidate’s communications director suggests that the document from the 1990s was a fake, “filled out by someone else,” not the candidate.

Ron Paul?

Hardly.

The candidate from 15 years ago is now President Barack Obama.

Specifically, the letter, dated Feb. 15, 1996, addressed by “Friends of Barack Obama,” signed by “Barack Obama, Candidate for State Senate, 13th District,” supported equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples.

But as recently as June 17, 2011, President Obama’s communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, stated, “If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the president.”

Regarding Rep. Paul, a number of people are implying that Ron Paul may be racist for what was written years ago under Paul’s name.

Yet history shows that in 1979, Rep. Paul was the only Texas House Republican to vote in favor of making Rev. Martin Luther King Day a national holiday — hardly a racist use of political power.

Compared Rep. Paul’s vote with that of the most recent GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. Despite no racist newsletters appearing under his name, John McCain voted against recognizing a national holiday for Rev. King.

Which matters more: newsletters or votes that carry the force of law for millions of people?

And what’s written under Ron Paul’s name relative to queer people should disgust any reasonable person. But as President Obama demonstrated, what’s written under a candidate’s name simply doesn’t equate to that candidate’s ultimate use of power: how the candidate votes.

Examining Votes Ron Paul Has Cast on Political Issues Important to Many Queer Advocates

Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA)

Ron Paul voted against the George-W.-Bush-pushed FMA in both 2004 and 2006. If unfamiliar, think of the FMA as a nationwide Prop 8, nullifying all marriages between persons of the same sex in the U.S, regardless of where a couple lived or married.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

While Ron Paul stated that he supports DOMA, DOMA is a complex law. Evidencing DOMA’s complexity is the pro-queer legal community’s general strategy of attacking DOMA Section 3, not DOMA’s entirety.

Because I could find nothing in which Paul specifically addressed DOMA Section 3 rather than DOMA in its entirety (including legislative history, as Paul wasn’t a member of Congress during the DOMA vote), I requested comment from the Paul campaign on short notice. I did not receive a response prior to submitting this piece. (I’ll include an update should I receive a response.)

My guess is that if specifically asked regarding support for DOMA Section 3, Paul would answer no. My further suspicion is that since he supports most of DOMA, Paul can justify saying that he supports DOMA, enabling him to pander to the party primary base.

Even if Paul supports DOMA entirely, President Clinton signed all of DOMA into law, despite being hailed as possibly having "courted the gay vote" more than any other prior candidate. President Clinton’s campaign messages didn’t equate with his “voting” as president.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT)

Of 167 Republican House members voting on the repeal DADT in May 2010, Ron Paul was one of only five GOP members to break with his party and vote for DADT’s repeal. Thus, independent of 97 percent of his party’s House delegation, Ron Paul supported DADT’s repeal, even before the Pentagon survey that many GOP members demanded prior to permitting a vote on DADT. Following release of the report, which allowed DADT to receive a vote in the full Congress, of 179 Republican House members at that time, Ron Paul was one of only 15 who voted to repeal DADT last December.

Unlike 91 percent of his party’s House delegation, unlike Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s “moderate" presidential candidate in 2008 (and unlike President Clinton, who signed DADT into law), Ron Paul’s vote helped queer advocates achieve a landmark victory for many (albeit not enough) people wishing to serve this country openly and honestly.

Conclusion

What gets written under a candidate’s name or signature doesn’t necessarily reflect that candidate’s views or how that candidate will govern.

Paul’s voting record shows where he stands on issues relating to tolerance.  So why are most media outlets paying more attention a newsletter he didn’t read and publicly disavowed?

12:42am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZlVyHyDxjX_X
  
Filed under: Ron Paul politics lgbt