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07/13/2010

TEA not necessarily sweetened with bans and bias and boy/boycotts

by Jeremy Hooper

Growing up, as I did, in rural Tennessee, I have more than a few high school and college friends who are about a thousand Mason-Dixon lines more conservative than I Screen Shot 2010-07-13 At 9.08.21 Am-1am. More than a few of these pals consider themselves part of the TEA Party movement.

From time to time, I get cute, surprisingly sweet, genuinely touching Facebook emails wherein the voice from my past will take a second out of their right-leaning day to make sure that I know they are not speaking out against me and my LGBT fellows. These messages range from simple reassurance to staunch outrage against anti-gay politics. Or sometimes the LGBT support is less apparent, coming in the form of comments or "likes" on pro-equality things that I post. But the general tone among many is one of both "I love Glenn Beck" and "I love your wedding photos."

So honestly, this doesn't surprise me so much:

While many conservative organizations immediately decried a federal judge's decision last week to invalidate the federal ban on recognizing gay marriages, tea party groups have been conspicuously silent on the issue.

The silence is by design, activists with the loosely affiliated movement said, because it is held together by an exclusive focus on fiscal matters and its avoidance of divisive social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Privately, though, many said they back the decision because it emphasizes the legal philosophy of states' rights.
Tea party groups choose to stand mute on same-sex marriage ruling [WaPo]
(H/t: Towle)

Sure, much of the focus here is on states rights vs. federal rights. But I think it's more than that. As so many of my friends have stated to me: LGBT rights is increasingly unseen as a "conservative issue." Or more likely: They are seeing conservatism as truly hands off other's lives and loves.

I may not personally drink the TEA. But it does comfort me to know that so many of my Palin-fanning, "socialism"-claiming, elephant-riding friends and acquaintances have refused to drink the Kool-Aid.

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