Op-ed: Equality Will Come From the Right



EQUALITY WILL COME FROM THE RIGHT X560 | ADVOCATE.COM To advance LGBT equality and prevent such a devastating loss, there are four groups of conservatives that the LGBT left needs to understand better. The first two are friendly to LGBT equality: those who are fiscal conservatives and social liberals, and those who are libertarians. Fiscally conservative social liberals and libertarians generally support LGBT equality. These groups believe individuals should not be subject to the coercive powers of government, either economically (through taxes and regulations) or socially (through an established state religion or laws regulating sexual behavior).

While fiscal conservatism is usually defined as being about small government and lower taxes, those are merely policies that grow out of the fundamental axiom of fiscal conservatism. Fiscal conservatism is founded on the belief that wealth originates from the ideas of an individual who can compete in a free market and has the incentive of getting to keep most of the wealth generated by his or her creativity. Well, I ask you, who is more creative than LGBT people?

The LGBT population actually provides a model of how fiscally conservative social liberals and libertarians think government and society should work. That’s because the LGBT community is chock-full of entrepreneurs and also meets its needs through volunteer organizations and private charities because LGBTs can’t depend on the government, religions, or even their families for assistance. So LGBT folks are forced to be self-reliant, resourceful, and generous. Our charities and nonprofit organizations live or die on the basis of LGBTs having enough of their own money left over after taxes, living expenses, and savings to donate. While LGBTs create their own safety net and donate out of necessity, their approach still matches the model of fiscally conservative social liberals and libertarians that the social safety net should have as little government involvement as possible and be provided primarily through grassroots private charities.

In fact, it is hard to imagine a group of people more suited to an economic philosophy founded on individual liberty than LGBTs. That’s because employment discrimination forces us, in large numbers, into entrepreneurial careers, which is what makes us natural supporters of both fiscal conservatism and libertarianism. There’s nothing like paying your entire 15.3% FICA tax, making quarterly income tax payments, and coping with burdensome regulations—as self-employed people and small business owners do—to bring home the cost of big government to individual liberty. When the government takes most of your money through taxes, it takes your liberty to pursue your dreams and support the causes you choose. Those are the reasons 29% of gays voted for Republicans in U.S. House races in 2010, up from 19% in 2008, according to CNN exit polls.

What is tragic about the way leftist LGBTs have been pursuing equality is that their arguments could hardly do a better job of turning prospective friends on the right into enemies. The deadliest mistake has been to unite LGBT rights with the economic and social policies of progressivism in the minds of conservatives by supporting only Democrats, no matter how much they abuse and betray the LGBT community. Right-wingers who are willing to grant that LGBT equality is a matter of individual liberty and an inalienable right will fight it to the death when it is chained to the stagnation of a planned economy and the tyranny of a nanny state. Stop uniting our rights with bad Democratic economic policies and you’ll be amazed at how many more voices on the right will speak out for LGBT equality. A good place for us to start is to stop denouncing LaSalvia and Barron of GOProud and start trying to understand what they have to say.