Saturday, January 17, 2009

Right Wing Huffery Puffery and the Fate of Pro-Equality Lawmakers

I'm sure you all remember the threats of retaliation against lawmakers who vote for equality. The religious right and wingnut anti-gay organizations have all made very loud noises that these votes would signal the end of politicians' careers.

But as we now know, the threats were just more blasts of hot air from angry hateful people.

But ... do your legislators know this?

If not, we now have an important tool to educate them thanks to one of my all-time heroes, Evan Wolfson of Freedom To Marry. As most of you have probably read, earlier this week Evan Wolfson released the results of a study of re-election rates of pro-equality legislators. I have to admit that the results were a surprise even for me. Perhaps I have overestimated the effectiveness of the hot air blasts, and perhaps I have underestimated the basic fairness of voters in today's America. In any event, the study shows that virtually 100% of lawmakers who vote for equality go on to win re-election in all regions of the US (and yes, this includes Texas, see page 4 of the full document).

With this information we can help defuse the fears of well-meaning but timid lawmakers. Perhaps even more importantly, we can help stop lawmakers from using the threats of retaliation as an alibi for their own bigotry. They really don't like it when their cover is blown. They don't even have the excuse that their states "are not like Massachusetts or California," as the figures from Bible Belt states including Texas show us.

I don't think I can overestimate how important this study is as tool for educating lawmakers. Please save a copy of the study and send it to each of your representatives before any vote for equality issues. This will help you make a difference.

Thank you, Evan Wolfson, for giving us this very important information.