The Gaytheist Agenda: One Issue Voters?

More than once when a L, G, B and/or T individual has stated that they are or are not voting for a particular politician because of his/her stance on some LGBT policy the cry goes out, “How can you be such a One-Issue Voter?” Of course, it’s usually the case that the individual is not voting solely because of the politician’s stance on the LGBT policy, but also because of other issues as well and is mentioning only the LGBT issue at the time. But, that aside, it’s important for everybody to realize that LGBT concerns are in no way “one issue”, so voting based on them can in no way make a person a “One Issue Voter”. Allow me to break it down for you.

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Marriage in and of itself is not one issue as it provides couples so many rights and carries so many responsibilities. It also affects any children the couples may have, thereby having broader scope than just the couple themselves. However it is largely unavailable to same-sex couples.

Same-sex couples are currently allowed to legally marry in only one state, Massachusetts. Although they are granted the same rights and benefits as other married couples under state law, they are not granted any of the more than 1100 rights and responsibilities granted to married couples by the federal government. Furthermore, their marriages are not recognized as legal outside of MA, so if they travel to another state or move their rights are in jeopardy.

Five states, California, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont, offer Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships for same-sex couples. These unions offer ostensibly identical benefits and obligations to those of civil marriage in their states, but again none of the federal benefits of marriage. However it has been discovered repeatedly that the DPs/CUs fall short of their promises as they don’t actually provide the benefits they are supposed to. Employers, agencies, families and others have worked to avoid providing benefits to same-sex couples under DPs/CUs claiming that they’re not obligated to do so as the unions are not marriages. Hence the need for same-sex couples to have federally recognized legal marriage rather than the Colored Only drinking fountain of the 21st century known as DPs/CUs.

Four states — Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and Washington — and the District of Columbia offer DPs/CUs that offer portions of the rights enjoyed by married couples in their regions. Again, these unions are fraught with the same limitations as the others, in that they’re dependent upon others to comply with their stipulations and many try to get around them since they are not marriages.

Twenty-six states have constitutional amendments that ban same-sex marriage outright, marking the first time in history that amendments have been used to write discrimination into constitutions. Forty three states have statutes restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman including a number of the states that have DPs/CUs. (Some states have both a statute and a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage).

For same-sex couples who cannot marry or enter into a DP/CU, they can engage the services of a lawyer and draw up a number of documents to try to ensure that they have particular rights and privileges that opposite-sex couples would normally have. However this is often a very costly and difficult process , and may be contested by any number of people in various situations. For example it is not uncommon for one partner to be denied the right to see the other or make decisions for the other in a hospital even with Power of Attorney. When a partner dies their relatives may contest their will, making it impossible for the surviving partner to collect benefits left to them. These are just a few of the many examples of the indignities same-sex couples deal with by virtue of the fact that they are treated as second-class citizens and refused the right to marry.


Adoption is another way that LGBT individuals are often denied the rights their straight peers are afforded. Ten states and DC allow “second parent adoption,” the process by which a partner in a same-sex couple can adopt his/her partner’s biological child without terminating the parental rights of the biological parent.

Single-parent adoption by individuals who are gay is outlawed in Florida, though they are allowed to be foster parents. Utah law forbids cohabiting, non-married couples to adopt, and likewise prohibits same-sex marriage thereby effectively outlawing adoption by any unmarried couples regardless of sexual orientation. That’s just one of many state and local laws that harm straight people in the process of engaging in bias against LGBT individuals.

However even if the child is the biological child of an LGBT parent, there are potential difficulties. While there is substantial, legitimate, peer-studied research to indicate LGBT parents are every bit as effective and fit as other parents, they must face constant criticism and bigotry. However opponents have used faulty, distorted and outright fabricated research to make the claim that children raised by LGBT parents are at risk in various ways. Furthermore the biases of judges, social-service workers and others who make decisions about child custody can result in children being taken away from their LGBT parents based not on the actual fitness of the parent, but on their sexual orientation/gender identity.


GLBT individuals can legally be denied housing based on their sexual orientation/gender identity in most states. To date there are thirteen states and numerous cities that ban housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and some include gender identity. However there is currently no federal law that does so. Therefore GLBT individuals do not have the same protections under the law in this area that other Americans currently do.


Thanks to President Bill Clinton, federal civilian LGBT employees enjoy protection from discrimination. But private-sector LGBTs are not so lucky. While twenty states, D.C. and 140 cities have banned discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation (some including gender identity) others still allow employers to fire, or refuse to hire, people for being LGBT. And, of course, even where anti-discrimination laws exist religious organizations and employers run by religious organizations are exempt from them.

ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would ban discrimination against LGBT people on a nationwide basis. After numerous attempts it went through both the House and the Senate last Autumn, albeit without protections for transgender individuals. It seems that the bigots couldn’t be convinced that they were worthy of such protections so they were dropped from the bill. It sits now in limbo, waiting for President Bush to sign or, more likely, to veto it.

Hate-Crimes Protection

Thirty-two states and D.C. have statutes that provide stronger penalties for those who engage in bias motivated crimes against people based on sexual orientation. Eleven have protections for people based on gender identity. Only 16 are required, however, to collect statistics on these crimes, allowing for much valuable data to be lost.

Currently no federal legislation exists for prosecution or data collection of bias motivated crimes against LGBT people. In 2007 the Matthew Shepard Act, named for the young gay man brutally murdered in 1998, was introduced to Congress. The bill made it through the Senate, but not the House. LGBT people remain without federal hate-crimes protection and will do so indefinitely.

Military Service

On a personal level I have no interest in serving in the military. I detest the idea of killing anybody except as a last resort in self-defense. I abhor war and am a conscientious objector. Furthermore I can’t fathom why any LGBT person would put his or her life on the line to serve a country that can’t be bothered to give him/her the same rights and protections as all other citizens. Nonetheless I accept that there are indeed many LGBT individuals who wish to proudly serve in the military and are prevented from doing so by discriminatory legislation.

Previously the military simply banned gay/bisexual people from serving. When Bill Clinton took office in 1993 he had promised to allow gay people to serve openly. The resultant backlash from military leaders and the right-wing forced him to implement a compromise, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, more commonly known as DADT. Gays could ostensibly serve in the military as long as they didn’t disclose their orientation, and the military couldn’t ask. While meant as a compromise, the policy has since led to more problems than it solved as it became very much a witch-hunt.

Between 1994 and 2005 there were 11,082 service-members discharged under DADT at a cost of approximately $200 million to the United States. Myriad polls have shown that the public favors allowing gay people to serve openly. Nonetheless military leaders remain staunchly in favor of DADT and it has been upheld in federal court five times.

In Conclusion

Marriage, employment, housing, partner benefits, health care decisions, inheritance rights, our families, hate-crimes protection, military service and so much more. Far from being “one issue”, these far reaching issues affect every aspect of our lives, and some can even put our lives in the balance.

So please realize that we are never “one issue voters”, even if it appears that we are. Things are much more complex and substantial than they seem on the surface.

© S Drescher, All Rights Reserved

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