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Op-ed: The GOP Clown Car Is Packed Full

Op-ed: The GOP Clown Car Is Packed Full


Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, two of the plaintiffs in the case that brought down California's Prop. 8, can't believe the Republicans can't produce one LGBT-friendly candidate.

A Republican friend recently texted us. "WTF, can't any Republican candidate support marriage equality? Makes it really hard to vote for one of them." Then he said, "But I can't vote for Hillary. Thoughts?"

He should know better than to ask us for our thoughts. We took the bait -- it was an opportunity. Before responding, though, we started running through the list of those who have announced an intention to seek the GOP nomination and challenge likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the White House.

Initially, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush seemed to us to be the most levelheaded. And by "levelheaded" we mean "not crazy." However, Bush, who still hasn't formally announced his candidacy, has kept reiterating his opposition to marriage equality, and last weekend he gave the commencement address at Liberty University, which was founded by the notoriously antigay minister Jerry Falwell.

What about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio? Well, now that he has finally admitted that being gay is not a choice, we thought maybe he was coming around. Nope. Recently he told an interviewer for the Christian Broadcasting Network, "You'd have to really have a ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. Constitution to believe that people have the right to marry someone of the same sex. There is no such constitutional right." Fail.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul? He's quite the libertarian, like Ted Olson, our lawyer who helped bring down Proposition 8. Maybe his views on equality could evolve? Nope. He finds it offensive to refer to same-sex unions as "marriage" and proposes letting same-sex couples enter into "contracts" instead. Well, many LGBT people, like straight people, revere the term "marriage."

Do we even mention Texas's Ted Cruz? Does it get more antigay than him? He is the definition of "fringe"; we can't believe how safe his job in the U.S. Senate actually is right now. What about retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson? Are you kidding? He's one of the options for our Republican friend? This is someone who said that homosexuality is a choice because people "go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay." The backlash was so big that he ultimately apologized, halfheartedly, days later. Carson has also stated that the federal government can simply ignore a pro-marriage equality ruling from the Supreme Court (no, it cannot).

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who announced last week that he's running for the GOP nomination, agrees with Carson on ignoring the court and has consistently spoken out against LGBT rights. He has even said lawsuits against antigay discrimination "won't stop until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel." Right.

Finally, there is former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. She supported Prop. 8 and was outspokenly opposed to marriage equality when she ran for U.S. senator from California; she now says she would not support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Sorry, Carly -- too little, too late.

What hope is there for our equality-supporting friend? Not only do his candidates not support LGBT equality, most of them have hateful views about us. We actually felt for him in that moment. He is an avid supporter of his party but clearly feels disconnected from it, a disconnection that many of our Republican friends have felt over the last few years.

Whether it's regarding gay rights, a woman's right to choose, or immigration reform, the Republican platform has remained on the wrong side of history. The strange thing is that polling shows a significant number of younger Republicans want the party to be more welcoming to minorities, especially LGBT people. A recent poll found that 61 percent of Republicans under age 30 support marriage equality. Clearly, our friend wants his party to move forward -- and quickly. The last thing the GOP wants is to have us convincing our friend and others like him to vote for Hillary.

Paul-katami-and-jeff-zarrillox125_0PAUL KATAMI and JEFF ZARRILLO were two of the plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which overturned California's ban on same-sex marriage. The couple lives in the Los Angeles area.

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