The gay avenger

I’m not the one who started talking about the gays. The Republican candidates for Governor of Georgia did.  I just asked them whether they really knew what they were talking about.

It started with Nathan Deal playing “gotcha” with Karen Handel by highlighting her willingness to play footsie with the Log Cabin Republicans in 2003.  The LRC represents gay Republicans.  Handel was running for office at the time in Fulton County, home to Atlanta, America’s Gayest City.

I asked Handel about it as her campaign bus rode from Duluth to Monroe last week.  Before the camera rolled, I told her we’d be covering this topic.  She seemed unconcerned.  Yet within two and a half minutes, she tried to steer the conversation elsewhere.

Rather than espouse any openmindedness on gay issues, Handel backpedaled into Christian Coalition territory.  Still, some voters continued to give her credit for at least acknowledging gay issues.  She was able to have it both ways.

It’s easy to demonize gays when you aren’t around them.  In the 50s, many white people weren’t around blacks.  “It’s not an issue for me,” I hear Republicans say about the gays. Out of sight, out of mind.

Many private companies offer spousal benefits to gay employees.  Some governments do, some don’t.  Aside from that, the only real issues that uniquely affect gay Americans are their inability to enter into legally binding spousal relationships, and the hurdles they frequently face when they adopt children.

I asked Karen Handel about the latter two issues.  She took the anti-equality position, and was unwilling or unable to give a rational explanation for it.   Her words echoed those of Robert Byrd and others who invoked Scripture to justify segregation, only to renounce it years later.  Handel seems like an enlightened woman, but appears stuck pandering (along with her GOP opponents) to voters unwilling to grant equality to people who scare them because they mostly don’t know them.

Bill Richards, 11alive.com/bullpen

We put the unedited interview on 11alive.com/bullpen (transcribed here).  Jim Galloway at the AJC picked it up.   Luckovich drew a cartoon. Laura Douglas-Brown at the Georgia Voice wrote a complimentary yet angry piece about it.  It was rather stirring to see the reach of an unedited interview that never actually aired on TV.

(About that Luckovich cartoon:  It’s a first for me, something I never dreamed would happen, and it’s certain to make me even more of an insufferable egomaniac than I already am.  I’m just grateful I didn’t get the Justin Farmer treatment.)

I also questioned John Oxendine about gay adoption.  Because another TV crew was lined up behind me, and because I wanted to question Oxendine about other issues, I was unable to press him as I would have liked.

Oxendine also told me he was against gay adoption.  When I told him that some studies had shown gay parents raised children just as effectively as straight parents, he said he had no expertise on gay adoption.

Oxendine and Deal are now running laughably disingenuous commercials meant to frighten GOP homophobes about Handel, who clearly stated her disinterest in giving gays equal spousal and adoption access.

It’s reasonable to ask:  Why question right wing candidates about an issue mostly important to the left?  The answer is:  They raised it.

If Democrats used gun rights / gun control as an issue for internecine party warfare (“Augustus Ankle has a carry permit!  You can’t trust Augustus Ankle!”), it would be reasonable to question Democrats on second amendment issues.

If they’re going to clobber the other guy with an issue — or play footsie with a group espousing it –  it seems like they ought to know what they’re talking about.

I’m not “the gay avenger,” but the person with whom I enjoy a legal, spousal relationship called me that on the Facebooks.  Here’s a hat-tip to the Georgia Voice, which began publication last year after the Southern Voice abruptly folded.  America’s Gayest City needs a solid gay newspaper, and they’re making it happen.

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Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form, zero, zilch, nada. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

11 thoughts on “The gay avenger

  1. AMB

    What a sad, sad woman. She is clearly incompetent to lead the state so I have to wonder-who is controlling her? Whose puppet is she?

    Reply
  2. Matt

    I wished politicians (Dem and Rep) would just stand up for what they personally believe. If she just said, “I personally do not believe in gay marriage because I believe it to be morally wrong.” Let the chips fall where they may….you’ll get far more respect (maybe not from the media) but from everyday voters than you will if you waffle and avoid the question. Now, Doug…thanks for pointing out the Republican who cannot answer a straight (no pun intended) question……make sure you point out Dems too, please. Love your blog…..please show more live trucks and photogs.

    Reply
  3. chamblee54

    “the only real issues that uniquely affect gay Americans are their inability to enter into legally binding spousal relationships, and the hurdles they frequently face when they adopt children.”
    While this is not a state issue, the ability to serve in the armed forces without fear of abrupt dismissal is a real issue.
    When the government gets in a war, and needs to draft men to die, being gay is not a good excuse. Thousands of gay and bisexual men have died so that we can have the luxury of this debate.
    As far as the leading repub contenders…Oxendine, Deal, Johnson and Handel…aka three crooks and the bimbo…there simply is not a good choice there. I was leaning towards Handel before Sarah Palin decided that we need her help in this election.
    In view of this conversation, it is rather ironic to have the ability to vote for humbert humbert Ray Mcberry.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Blogroll Revue « Chamblee54

  5. smith

    Regardless of how one may feel about gay adoption or gay marriage or gay anything else, Handel’s problem is not one of support or non-support. Handel’s problem is one of denial, even when faced with the truth of her own history.

    Trust is a big issue with me, and, I suspect, many others. Change is ok if there’s a good reason such as learning new information about an issue. Sadly, there’s nothing new here. Only political pandering.

    Reply
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  8. Pingback: Karen Handel Is An Idiot « Chamblee54

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