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Little Love For Gays Or Women From West Virginia’s GOP

Its been a long time since I’ve written for MyFDL, since December 24th, 2010 actually.  Its been too long!  I thought I would make my return an amusing one and introduce the FDL world to the “wild and wonderful” GOP field of candidates for the West Virginia Gubernatorial election (We’ll see how many get that pun).

The GOP field for West Virginia’s special election gubernatorial race is full of people just itching to win over the conservative electorate in the Mountain State.  It should come as no surprise to the MyFDL readership that there is a supreme lack of sympathy or compassion for pro-choice rights and LGBT rights from any GOP contenders, and West Virginia is unfortunately no exception. A recent voters guide, published by the Charleston Gazette, profiled the Republican candidates for governor in the 2011 election.

One of the primary questions asked by the Gazette was “Would you sign bills restricting abortion if passed by the Legislature?”  I challenge you to guess what their answers might have been.  Well if you couldn’t muster a guess, we’ll take Clark Barnes for example.  He is a small business owner that currently serves in the West Virginia State Senate.

“Absolutely. I believe in the sanctity of human life and that life begins at conception.”

No shock.  Boasting pro-life status is the equivalent to rapping about street cred in West Virginia Republican politics.  Larry Faircloth, another fine example of GOP brawn in West Virginia, touted his endorsement by West Virginia for Life (which totaled 24 years).  Every single GOP candidate for West Virginia’s gubernatorial election is pro-life, no big surprise here.  However, looking at gay rights is another story.

Candidates were also asked the question “Do you support adding sexual orientation to the state’s existing civil rights laws? Why or why not?”  The answers were a mixed bag of awful, stupendous, marginally accepting, and awkwardly political.  Take Bill Maloney’s answer to the question (Maloney is a Drilling Consultant running on the GOP ticket).

No, I’m 100 percent pro-traditional marriage, between one man and one woman.

Maloney must have been confused.  The question didn’t state “Do you support gay marriage?”  No.  The question simply stated whether or not civil rights laws should protect someone based on sexual orientation in order to protect their rights where laws explicitly do not cover them.  Maloney is trying to play his cards correctly among the potential voters of West Virginia.  The Mountain State has gone red in the past few national elections, and is known to be socially conservative.  One glance at Maloney’s website and you know what audience he is addressing.  Under the “Why I Am Running” page of his campaign site, one facet particularly sticks out. I’m 100% pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. I’ll fight to protect our Second Amendment rights.

And this is the story of many Republican candidates in the great state of West Virginia. They cater to guns, fetus rights, and gettin’ rid of the gays.

However, lets not rule out all of these people and categorize them under one generalization.  Ralph Clark is an exception on the GOP ticket.  The Chair of the Philosophy Department at West Virginia University expressed a slightly different view on the question of sexual orientation and civil rights laws.

I support this addition. Government must provide provisions for the same type of fair treatment for everyone.

There is hope for the fractured GOP.  A little glimmer of hope for tolerance, but a glimmer nonetheless.  The rest, however, essentially give the same answers.  Unfortunately, this answer likely sealed Clark’s fate in his run for governor.  In the dog-eat-dog world of politics, West Virginia Republican die-hards will shoot him down in an instance no doubt. Some still, however, cannot seem to nail the question with a resolute answer.

Laws are in place to sanction discrimination for any reason.

Though this sort of answers the question, it gingerly shys away from any wavering support for or against the hypothetical legislation. Larry Faircloth, the person who provided the previous answer, doesn’t seem to want to give his support completely against the idea, but clearly not for it.

Its not clear how the primaries will turn out for any of the candidates just yet (Betty Ireland was leading in the last poll I saw) but with positions like these, I am a bit frightened.  I, however, expected nothing less of the GOP from my great state and I don’t take pride in saying that either.

Next Up, I’ll examine the Democratic Candidates, and the Republicans as a whole.  We’ll see just how crazy the talk is getting (and believe me, its getting interesting).

(Photo Courtesy: ferret111 via flickr)

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Chuckie Corra

Chuckie Corra

I am a young, moderately liberal/progressive Democrat currently residing in the state of West Virginia. I attend Shepherd University, work closely with YDA, and have been active on FDL for about 6 months. I worked with the Elewana Education Project in Kenya to promote technology growth in secondary school students. My focus, then, tends to be on issues effecting WV, environmental issues (specifically coal issues), and growing African democracies specifically Kenya. I'm pretty open-minded