Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Former "Perry for President" Campaign Chair Comes Out in Support of Gay Marriage

Kathy Potts of Cedar Rapids, IA, is the former chair of the Linn County Republican Party and serviced recently as the Republican committee chair for the Rick Perry for President campaign. More recently, she became a member of the Iowa Republicans for Freedom. She's an evangelical Christian. And she just came out publicly in support of marriage equality:
2011 was a big year for Republicans. We saw leaders emerge and saw candidates drop out. We saw job creation and education being seriously debated, and I felt that the concerns of the American people were heard — for the most part.

What I didn’t hear much of this year was support for marriage equality from the Republican front-runners. I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples and have been vocal about my support, even when it hasn’t always been the popular thing to do in my party.

I heard a lot of rhetoric about gay and lesbian Americans that didn’t fit with what I know to be true and what many Republicans believe. As an evangelical Christian Republican, I know many people who hold conservative values like equality and freedom, but those voices were lost this year. However, I believe in my heart that things are changing. If it weren’t for the loud voices of a few in our party, I do believe more Republicans would stand up in support of marriage equality.

I didn’t always feel that way and my journey toward full support has been a long and intensive one. One of the things that changed my mind on this issue was my children. I used to watch my kids and wonder why equality is a non-issue with them. They love and support their friends, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, gender or religion.

Then I realized that I was tired of watching adults judge each other while my children could embrace the differences in their friends. After all, that is what being a Christian is all about.

What I learned from the 2012 Republican Caucus was this: If we don’t stand together this year, we will lose. What is our party if not the party of freedom? This is a matter of freedom, and I want people to be free. It’s the American thing to do.
Good for her. More Republicans need to stand up in support of all families -- not just heterosexual families.

Of course, she just got serving as the committee chair for a Republican presidential candidate who actively opposes marriage rights & responsibilities for gay and lesbian couples. He also opposes adoption by gay parents. I'm glad that groups like Iowa Republicans for Freedom exist. But groups like IRF are pointless as long as its members actively support candidates and a political party who actively campaign for the dissolution of gay and lesbian families.

Gay and lesbian families will never retain our legal marriage rights if we don't nurture allies like Potts and the IRF and support them. But we need to remember that the only reason our marital status isn't being voted on this fall is because the Iowa Democratic Party controls the Senate. I fear that people will read Pott's editorial and others like it and begin thinking that the Iowa Republican Party is softening on its approach towards gay and lesbian families. It isn't. Our marital rights will be voted on within the first couple weeks if the Democratic Party ever loses power in the Senate and fails to gain more power in the House. The GOP will fast-track the legal status of our families to Iowa's voters if given the opportunity. That's just a fact.

Hopefully, groups like IRF will gain more power within the GOP given time and exposure to Iowa's gay and lesbian families. But the time isn't now.

Once again, I'm glad that people like Kathy Potts exists in the Iowa Republican Party. But I'm leery of their commitment to equal marriage rights when they actively promote and support clearly anti-gay campaigns and candidates.

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