When Miami-Dade was culture-war central (by Julio Capo

January 15, 2012

The culture-wars caravan is rolling into town. Assuming the Republican field isn’t whittled to one in South Carolina, the campaign will arrive in full force in advance of

The Huffington Post recently reproduced a handbill from Romney’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign in which the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community is wished a “great pride weekend.”

“All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference,” the handbill affirms. The flyers state that Romney’s campaign picked up the tab. His current campaign director, however, claims “I don’t know who distributed them…I never saw them and I was the communications director.”

Rick Santorum, arguably the most socially conservative candidate, is unconvinced. At last weekend’s debate in New Hampshire, he attacked Romney’s stance on gay rights. He contends that Romney, in his capacity as Massachusetts governor, “ordered people to issue gay marriage licenses.” In turn, Romney accused Santorum of making up facts.

This debate is not inconsequential. Romney, for example, maintains that he is an opponent of discriminating based on sexual orientation, but that he is also an opponent of same-sex marriage. This stance makes him the “moderate” choice, at least in the eyes of social conservatives. But in reality, all the major GOP candidates have come out against same-sex marriage, although Jon Huntsman has stated his support for civil unions. Meanwhile, just last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a bold statement before the United Nations: “…Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” President Barack Obama agreed.

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