02 November, 2008

Incredible Press Conference



"I have close family members and friends who are a member of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa, as well as members of my personal staff.

"I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones—for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back; someone with whom they can grow old together and share life's experiences.

"And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationship—their very lives—were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife Rana.

If the GOP hopes to survive into the future, they'll need more of this. That's certainly the case in California, but that will also be the case nationwide in the midterm. A party that has built its power by demonizing government should understand that advocating for government meddling in people's personal lives is a long-term political loser.

I have not been so touched by an admission of heartfelt, honest humanity from a party that has become known to be antithetical to my ideas of fairness and equality since family friend and stand-up guy Senator George Voinovich broke rank with his party to stand up against the nomination of John Bolton for United States Ambassador to the United Nations many years ago.

Recent history has vindicated Senator Voinovich, and Bolton's tenure was a disaster from the start to the finish.

The question of gay rights in this country is as important an issue as any other we can grapple with at this most important pivot point in American politics -- we can either damage our reputation forever more as being the world's moral leader (whether or not this was ever in fact true), or we can tick over the domino and create a wave of tolerance.

Dick Cheney was not brave enough to publicly defend his own daughter when his own party began to ramp up the most hateful rhetoric we've seen in American politics in decades; against gays, against civil rights, against the enduring concepts of the rights and privileges of citizenship and of merely being alive, against of the downtrodden, poor, ill, weakest and neediest of society.

To my own mind it is easy to forget the human face of my ideological opponents in the face of such craven politicians like Cheney.

But the courage and leadership Jerry Sander's showed today is truly something that gives me great comfort as we come to the end of a vicously fought election cycle.

And if he ever runs for Governor, I might yet vote for him.


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