All this is happening at a much faster pace than even the supporters would have predicted (though probably not as fast as they would have liked).
The argument that this legislation wasn’t needed, that it somehow infringed on free speech, that it shouldn’t have been attached to a defense bill … please. From 1997 to 2007 there were a reported 77,000 hate crimes, with a dramatic rise in those based on sexual orientation. The bill, as passed, explicitly bars prosecutions based on an individual’s political positions or beliefs. If the Republicans didn’t like the fact that it was part of a defense bill, they could have introduced it on its own.
Rep. Todd Akin (R) from Missouri called it a “poison pill.” I debated Todd up at Harvard, and though I disagree with many of his issue positions, we found much to agree on and I like and respect him. But the poison in all this is the vilification of gays and lesbians. The poison is perpetuating a series of beliefs that the gay lifestyle is chosen, un-Christian, immoral. The sooner we stand as a nation and accept people the way they are, embrace them as fellow travelers struggling with the mysteries of life, work together to celebrate our diversity and our differences, the stronger we will become as a community.
I do hope that the speed with which Republicans support gay and lesbian rights will increase at a rapid pace — it would be good for the country.