Gay GOP House candidate Carl DeMaio won’t support gay rights, upset gays don’t like him

San Diego’s gay Republican city council member, Carl DeMaio, can’t figure out why the religious right, who he tacitly sides with on the culture wars, is more supportive of him than gays, whose civil rights he refuses to promote in office.

DeMaio is now running for Congress.

“I’ve found more tolerance, acceptance and inclusion from social conservative groups who have to reconcile that I’m a Republican who happens to be gay… versus the intolerance the LGBT leaders see me as a gay man who happens to be a Republican,” DeMaio said.

Oh Mary, it’s so hard to be you.

The problem isn’t that Carl DeMaio is a Republican. The problem is that he’s acting and sounding a lot like a self-loathing Republican, someone who doesn’t actually believe in the validity of his own civil rights.

Even the Victory Fund, which supports gay GOP candidates, won’t touch DeMaio beacuse, you know, they kind of have this requirement that you actually do something to support your own civil rights.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s DeMaio’s own campaign site reprinting an article about him that they wanted everybody to see:

Roll Call reported that the poll specifically mentioned that DeMaio is gay, but would prefer to concentrate on fixing the federal government’s finances instead of on social causes.

Yeah, why would a prospective gay member of Congress, who is upset that the gay community and gay organizations aren’t supporting him, want to focus on those pesky “social causes,” otherwise known as his and his partner’s civil rights?

Then there was the time DeMaio gay-baited Nathan Fletcher, a rival GOP candidate for Mayor of San Diego in 2012:

Before the endorsement battle, the DeMaio campaign circulated a 14-page document to members of the Republican central committee questioning Fletcher’s “conservatism.” DeMaio’s campaign manager, Ryan Clumpner also directly took issue with Fletcher’s failing grade by the California Republican Assembly and the Capitol Research Family Institute. Both conservative groups gave Fletcher failing grades for supporting LGBT-related legislation, including his vote in favor of a resolution by the California State Legislature in support of the repeal of the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and his support of Senate Bill 48, the FAIR education act, which mandates that the contributions of the LGBT community be taught in public schools.

Fletcher was ticked, and eviscerated DeMaio about his gay-baiting. About 2:10 into the video you can hear DeMaio explain that gay rights is a “social issue” and he doesn’t think mayors should get involved in that kind of stuff:

DeMaio is part of a growing list of gay-unfriendly people who can’t seem to fathom why gays refuse to tolerate their intolerance.  Of course, in DeMaio’s case, the ennui, and almost-aversion, he expresses about his own partner’s civil rights is particularly telling, and disturbing.

How does one explain a gay politician in the year 2014 who promises to ignore the civil rights of his own community while in office? Because that’s exactly what DeMaio did to help guarantee support among the religious right – he promised to abandon his own community, his own humanity, the civil rights of his own gay spouse, in order to curry favor with voters who hate him.

Carl DeMaio

Carl DeMaio

DeMaio campaign ad — which, to his credit, showed him with his gay partner — proudly proclaimed that DeMaio “believes in equality and diversity and is a defender of our personal freedoms.” The catch is that DeMaio only “believes” in equality — he doesn’t actually believe in doing anything to help make equality a reality. That’s a big no-no in the DeMaio playbook.  Call him the Leona Helmsley of civil rights: Publicly supporting and advocating for equality is for the little people. (But he’d still really like the little people’s support!)

DeMaio’s “beliefs” are about as useful to gay voters as believing in the Easter Bunny.

People don’t vote for politicians who support their beliefs but refuse to actually do anything to promote those beliefs when in office.  That’s the whole point of voting for someone.  So why exactly does DeMaio think gay people should support him, because he enjoys sex with men?

Vintage woman in closet

“Does this closet look small on me?”
via Shutterstock

Mind you, DeMaio’s logic is something closeted and/or self-loathing gay Republicans have used for years to justify their support of a political party that loathes them.  Gay Republicans famously proclaimed during the George W. Bush years, for example, that while Bush wanted to amend the United States Constitution to erase gays from every civil rights law in the country, in his heart Bush was secretly on our side.


But the fun doesn’t stop there. DeMaio also thinks gay rights is a “social issue,” rather than a “civil rights” issue. Yes, he uses the religious right messaging framework. Again, is it any surprise the religious right likes this guy? For example:

[DeMaio] was booed at one mayoral debate after refusing to answer a question from Nathan Fletcher on whether he supported a statewide measure that compels schools to include the contributions of gay and disabled citizens in textbooks and curricula.

“I do not believe the role of the mayor is to advance a social-issue agenda,” DeMaio said at the time.

Did I mention this particular debate was hosted by the LGBT Community Center? That’s like attending a Chamber of Commerce debate and refusing to discuss the economy.

DeMaio thinks cities don’t have civil rights ordinances, don’t face civil rights issues?  That’s flat-out wrong. And I suspect he knows it.

He looks to me like someone who simply doesn’t want to tick off the gay-hating overlords who run his party.

Of course, it’s even worse than that.  Not only has DeMaio promised to not advocate for the civil rights of gays and lesbians while in office, DeMaio refused to even speak out against Proposition 8, which took place in his own state. 

And DeMaio can’t figure out why gay people don’t like him, and why gay-haters do.

Ironically, DeMaio is making the same mistake that conservatives accuse gays of making — supporting a political party simply based on our genes, rather than our best interests.  DeMaio simply can’t understand why gays wouldn’t support him simply because he’s gay.  Perhaps because we’re a little more complicated, and intelligent, than that.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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