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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Republican Senator Paul Koering is gay

I've been busy lately, which is why I haven't posted on as many issues as I'd like to, but this one is pretty significant: First-term Republican Senator Paul Koering told the Star Tribune today that he is gay. This is a very difficult thing for any public official to do, and it is all the more difficult for a Republican from a conservative district to do so. I'm glad that he did, though, and I hope that he feels relieved at not having to live a fake life anymore.

Of course, this revelation is going to affect the debate on the anti-gay marriage amendment. Senator Koering still supports it.....and I don't know what to say about that. First, I don't think that there is any reason why a gay person can be a conservative. Taxes, national defense, social spending, regulations, all of those things are pretty much orthogonal to sexuality (as well as race). But today's Republican party is by no means conservative. It is a party of gaining power for its own sake, of pandering, and increasingly (on a national level) of corruption. Lots of people make analogies like "Jews for Hitler" or "African-Americans in the KKK", but even though this is hyperbole, there is no doubt that the Republican party today simply doesn't have an ideology that is compatible with gay members. If gay Republicans like Koering work on their fellow party members and try to get the party back to its real conservative roots, I think we will all be better off. I wish him good luck.


At 1:53 AM, April 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Crow Wing County. It wasn't that big a secret that he was gay, but he never went around advertising it either. But he's in for a rough time of it. Check out what the Crow Wing County Republican chair has to say about him:

Brian Lehman, Crow Wing County Republican Party chair, said many residents in his county are "very unhappy" that Koering voted against sending the gay marriage ban to a floor vote.

"If his personal preference for the homosexual lifestyle sways his vote incorrectly and against the Republican Party platform, then I would take issue with that," Lehman said.


Sound kinda Stalinist to me. The irony is that plenty of DFL representatives in Greater Minnesota are pro gun and anti-abortion. If he jumped parties he would be greeted with open arms...


At 9:56 AM, April 14, 2005, Blogger CrispyShot said...

Sound kinda Stalinist to me.

...interesting... down in Texas, Kuff writes about a GOP rep of the Montrose district in Houston, which has a large gay population. The rep, Martha Wong, voted for passage of Texas' latest anti-gay initiative, and Kuff takes her to task for voting against her constituents' wishes.

This is a discussion I've had before: As an elected official in a representative democracy, do you vote according to your best judgment, or according to the expressed wishes of your constituents? On the one hand, what if you know things they don't? On the other, why are you there in the first place?

I don't have any answers, of course ;)

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