Memo To:Republican Leaders
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Gay Republicans
See what happens? Now we have a headline in the July 18 NYTimes: “Republicans Introduce 2 Bills in Fight Against Homosexuality,” and a lead paragraph that begins: “Continuing their assault on homosexuality, House Republicans are considering a proposal to deny Federal housing money to cities that require organizations doing business with them to provide health-care benefits for the unmarried domestic partners of the organization’s employes.” It goes on: “The proposal, offered by Representative Frank Riggs, Republican of California, is aimed at San Francisco and could cost the city an estimated $266 million in Federal housing money this year.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Once you introduce the idea that you can connect federal housing money to local treatment of civil rights, you are in up to your ears in an expansion of federal power that will never end. I’m not sure the Federal government should be providing housing to anyone, given the fact that it generally costs twice as much as local housing subsidies and three times as much as private housing. But if you are going to throw money around for housing, you can’t be telling a city or a county government that it aint gonna get it unless they stop doing what their constituents want them to do, unless it is unconstitutional. As long as the San Francisco city government has the approval of the people of San Francisco on matters involving health-care benefits, and the state and federal courts say it’s okay, why would you want to involve the feds?
Now, if the gay-rights folks show up on Capitol Hill demanding that a law be passed that extends the San Francisco city ordinace to the 50 states, then you will have my support when you show them the door. Know what I mean? If Republicans who are gay can’t live with this kind of position, then they should be in the Democratic Party. But if the GOP is to provide a tent big enough to hold anyone who believes in its basic principles, it has to give gay Republicans a clear, bright line on where they can expect the party’s support and where they cannot. You should not use federal money to punish local governments that have the support of a great majority of their residents on these kinds of issues. Sure the Christian Coalition and Focus on Family “church” groups that want Uncle Sam to do what they can’t will continue agititating for “an assault on homosexuality,” and maybe deism, agnosticism, and atheism, but you should simply tell them to take a hike. It’s not complicated. Not at all.