Digby has the kernel of it all:
My question is this. Is there any combination of issues upon which we Democrats could accomodate these people that doesn’t include backing anti-gay measures like that? In other words, as long as the Democratic party believes in equal rights for gay people is there a snowball’s chance in hell that we will be able to tear the religious vote away from the party that doesn’t with outreach to “heartland values?”
I doubt it. In fact, I think that we are talking about a wedge issue that is insurmountable. Civil rights are a fundamental matter of principle, not a position on specific programs or tax cut legislation. And I don’t see any possibility that we will be able to make inroads with people who believe that homosexuality is a sin as a matter of bedrock religious belief. We can field a candidate who runs a campaign like a tent revival, but this is one of those issues that can’t be finessed. As long as we believe in the separation of church and state and back civil rights for gays we are not going to get the conservative Christian vote. We just aren’t.
Welcome to the neo-sixties. They’ve found a replacement for race as a wedge. White bigotry has been less effective as a sure-fire winner for them (though still much more significant than is believed by a lot of people who should know better). Gay hatred will give them a good ride, probably not as durable a ride as white racism, but certainly as intense. And as a cute side-benefit it even attracts some of the people they supposedly just got over hating (blacks, hispanics) to their path.
There has never been any choice for us. We could not abandon civil rights, even as the original Southern Strategy proved LBJ’s prediction of a generation of Democratic losses. And we can’t abandon civil rights now. Before we’re tempted by the prospect of repugnant and utterly useless sexual Sister Souljah moments, ask yourself how proud you are today of that kind of shameful pandering a decade ago. There’s only one message to bigots: Fuck you. If you ever become a decent human being, give me a call.
If that means we lose for another decade or more, so be it. If they take us all the way to the corporate manorialism they clearly want, so be it. Maybe that’s what a country this stupid, this bloody-minded, this religiously insane, and this hate-obsessed deserves. Too damned bad.