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Then you're being bad allies, Walker boys

by Jeremy Hooper

The media has found a story in the fact that Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker, who staunchly opposes marriage equality and supports measures to overturn the Supreme Court's decision, has two young and photogenic sons (ages nineteen and twenty-one) who both support marriage equality. Some have reported it positively, as a sign of the stark and inevitable rate of change even among Republicans. Others have questioned if perhaps it's an attempt for Walker to have it both ways, courting social conservative with his far-right stance while also having disagreement within his own home. Both views have merit, in my opinion.

But what doesn't hold merit and certainly doesn't deserve praise? These quips, which the Walker boys floated out to CNN over the weekend:

“We talked to him, like any family we have disagreements,” said Matt [Walker]. “He just explained his position and that was it.”

“Matt and I aren’t necessarily changing his stances on any issues,” added Alex [Walker]. “We respect his opinion on things.”

Scott Walker’s Sons Say They Respect Their Dad’s Anti-LGBT Views, Don’t Try to Change His Mind – VIDEO [Towle]

No. No, no, no, no—a thousand times, no.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 At 1.44.30 PmFirst of all, Scott Walker's is not merely an "opinion." He has actual power, and he seeks much more of it. He's open to the idea of an amendment to the US Constitution that would ban marriages for same-sex couples. He opposes a whole host of other protections. His "opinions" are ones that would come at a great cost to the very citizens who the Walker boys claim to support. And since Dad Walker is seeking the presidency, we have to take him at his word that these "opinions" are ones that he would strive to put into policy.

Second, there is no "disagreement" on this topic. Not anymore. Marriage equality is the law of the land in all fifty states. This happened after a very lengthy national conversation with every kind of test—legislative, judicial, executive, cultural, etc.—imaginable. Civil marriage rights for same-sex couples won this debate. It is now part of the United States of America. Dad Walker might not love that truth, but it is indeed a truth. When the younger Walkers say they support it, they are simply saying they acknowledge and respect reality. There is no real disagreement anymore. That phase is done. We won.

Third, if you are not willing to try to change the stances of a father who is seeking high office, and you are in fact trying to get him elected into that very office, then your lack of effort is failing the people who you claim to support. In this case, trying to change his stance is *EXACTLY* what good allies should be trying to do. Because he's wrong. He's just plain wrong. And his wrong-headed ideas are deeply hurtful ones that seek to rollback hard-fought wins. His "stances" literally seek to take away court-tested civil rights. His "position" is not simply another side of the coin—it is the discriminatory view of a tyrannical banker who refuses to accept those coins from those people.

If this is the way the Walker sons are going to play this one, then they can certainly call themselves personal supporters of marriage equality. And that's great. It is the consensus position of their generation. It's also the only right answer.

But if they are not going to fight from within for the change they want to see in the world, then they can't really call themselves allies. My allies don't stand around with their hands in their pockets while their ringleader wages moldy "culture wars" against my family.

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