Kerry Eleveld talked to advocates on both ends of the political spectrum about what the LGBT community can expect from the GOP-led House. The Log Cabin Republicans don’t seem concerned:
One pro-LGBT source who spoke on the condition of anonymity anticipated there could be areas for both advancement and regression.
The source said inroads might be possible through larger legislative vehicles in areas such as safe schools protections for LGBT kids in education reauthorization and tax equity provisions for domestic partners in a tax overhaul.
But the source was also concerned that the GOP might try to cut funding for HIV/AIDS programs or hate crimes enforcement through the appropriations process.
“Don’t expect a lot of really anti-gay stuff at first,” said the source. “They’ll probably hold their fire until closer to the 2012 reelect.”
But LCR’s [Deputy Executive Director Christian] Berle expected nothing so pernicious.
“Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate have underscored numerous times that their number one priority is addressing job creation, tax reform and reducing the deficit. Log Cabin Republicans has long been committed to working with Republican leaders on numerous issues including increased funding for HIV/AIDS, notably allied with conservative Senators Richard Burr, Tom Coburn, and Mike Enzi,” he said.
Berle added that interfering with the District of Columbia’s marriage equality law would violate core conservative principles.
“As conservatives firmly committed to the federalist principals of our Constitution, we strongly believe that Congress will not engage in any activities that would infringe upon the self-governance of the District of Columbia or any state, as our Founding Fathers articulated that issues such as marriage should be handled by state and local governments,” he said.
I’d like to think that’s accurate. But, history tells another story. For years, the GOP-led House blocked use of any funds to implement DC’s domestic partnership registry. In 2007, President Bush vowed to veto the DC Appropriations bill because it didn’t include the ban on that funding.
My sense is that the GOPers will focus initially on economic issues, at least the ones that try to undermine legislation passed in the previous Congress. But, as the AP reports, the House GOP leaders have already started breaking their promises. When they don’t make progress on their economic agenda and the infighting starts, they’ll turn to the social issues to assuage their base. That’s when the LGBT issues come into play. It won’t be pretty. The House Judiciary Committee is stacked with some of the most conservative GOPers, like Steve King (R-IA). And, if Michele Bachmann does enter the presidential race, she’ll be trying to burnish her gay-bashing cred, too.