Republican Candidates Still Love to Hate The Gays, Have Nothing Else To Talk About

I think Riese once called the Republican Primary a “circus.” Or maybe it was a “reality show.” I don’t know y’all, it was in an email and I’m too lazy to check. But I’ve come to realize that the candidates running under the proud banner of the GOP (that was sarcasm) are actually even worse: they’re like big caricatures come to life. Not like a cartoon- but close. Worse.

The Republican candidates started primary season in blissful ignorance of the fact that 56 percent of the members of their own party were hoping they’d stop talking about gay rights issues and start talking about, well, something that made them sound less insane. But they had no luck: each candidate has somehow focused the primary discussion on who hates gay people more, instead of who knows how to protect the country or how to pronounce the names of foreign leaders.

And here’s a quick recap of what it looked like: Michele Bachmann went toe-to-toe on gay rights…with a childRick Perry made an anti-gay campaign ad that people hate more than Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” Mitt Romney held an impassioned tirade at a gay veteran and lost. Even Newt Gingrich’s lesbian half-sister couldn’t help him come around. God Bless America!

Look, we all were hoping this wasn’t true but it is: the Republican candidates for president are completely and totally obsessed with us, and it’s super awkward. They just won’t let the gay thing go. Ever. Seriously.

Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post noticed the phenomena and wrote about it. He found distinct examples of where gay-bashing became integral to the campaign of multiple candidates in the primary:

Some may cite their faith:

“This is about my faith, and I happen to think that there are a whole host of sins, homosexuality being one of them,” Perry said, adding that he himself was “a sinner” so he wouldn’t “be the first one to throw a stone.” Reflecting on another question he had received this week about how he would feel if his own child were gay, Perry said, “I’d feel the same way. I hate the sin but I love the sinner.”

And others really have no excuse besides hoping to bolster their 2012 run:

In his unsuccessful run to unseat the late-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Mitt Romney said in an Aug. 25, 1994 interview with gay newspaper Bay Windows, “I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party and I would be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts.” Today, in his second run for the GOP nomination, not so much. On Dec. 13, Romney told the Boston Herald that he would support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Some have super-creepy husbands totally telling them what to do and say:

Discussing the highly unlikely event he would be become the first gentleman of the United States, Marcus Bachmann told an Iowa gathering on Friday, “I’ve decided my cause is not going to be happy meals. I’ve decided my cause is going to be what Michele and I have been a part of all of our lives, and that is pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-life.” He went on to add, “We’re going to get the message across that marriage is between one man and one woman….We’re not going to minimize what a family is — we’re going to promote families.”

But no matter what the “reason,” each candidate just won’t accept that it’s time to let the issue of whether or not gay people are human beings go.

And it’s probably because of that caricature thing, you know, where they draw your heads really big and your bodies really small and everything looks goofy? It’s like the homophobic part of their brains expanded 10000% for the sake of making their party even more out-of-touch. I’m really certain that once they stop trying to be cartoon characters of a more hateful time and come back to the world they live in and the communities they want to be in charge of, it’ll all go away. What’s clear, though, is that they won’t come around anytime this election cycle.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. ok, so i understand that during the primary the gop candidates have to pander to the base in order to get the nomination. whatever. my question is, how on earth is the eventual candidate going to backpedal from all this heterosexism to attract enough moderate republicans (or, you know, the 56% that don’t want to hear this shit anymore) and independents to even have a chance of winning? they’re all completely fucking themselves over and i wonder if any of them realize it.

    • I feel like the republican candidates forgot that this a race with an incumbent president. Like, if both the democratic and republican parties were running primaries with multiple candidates I feel like more of this would run under the radar because more democratic-party minded people would be paying to the race on that side. In this case however they have a wider audience so all of their crazy rhetoric is getting caught by a wider net, including people who have no intention of voting in the republican primary. The important role of those people is that they pass along the crazy things to their friends spreading the message about their failings.
      What I think is the most important part of this discourse is that they are by and large seen as failings. That is encouraging.

    • i think there are really only 3 candidates that are seriously running for president; everyone else is in it for the book and speech sales. i think huntsman, paul, and romney are the only three that really are/were in it for the presidency.
      huntsman’s campaign was a failure and didn’t get enough momentum ( some say is because he doesn’t hate obama enough) i think he’s barely ahead of santorum, in other words he’s no where near.
      romney i think got himself caught up in all the craycray by thinking that the things the fringe candidates are supporting are really things that people want to hear about; he’s all about getting as many votes as he can by saying anything to get them. he thinks this can help him make “easier” transition back into a more moderate romney if he gets the candidacy. i don’t think he knows that it’s not only the fringe who’s listening and i doubt he thought about how much of his flip-flopping people would actually remember.
      ron paul on the other hand is running his same old independent campaign, government bad etc. etc. he’s actually been in a steady second and third place in the polls and i think he most likely will be chosen for the republican party, if not he’ll run as an independent and still do better than the gop.
      so in the end, most of them don’t care about the issues as much as making a buck. just look at herman cain, as soon as his campaign ended he went on a book tour. i mean dude’s gotta pay his phone bill somehow, right?

  2. I really feel like making a video to Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed” but instead I’ll have the republican candidates chasing gays. This is stupid that they cannot seem to put this away. Yes I want the same rights, but honestly this bashing shouldn’t be the focus of their campaigns. Say you don’t like it and move on to the next major topic. When more than half of your own party doesn’t want to hear the bullshit flowing out of their mouths you think they would put the pieces together and just stop. Oh well, I for see Obama in office for another 4 years.

  3. Pingback: A Republican Primary with No Real Competition – Huffington Post (blog) | Conservatives for America

  4. “The entire GOP lineup only has one brain and they have to take turns sharing it. That’s why they pretty much all spout the same nonsense. It’s also why, at any given moment, most of them sound brainless – that’s when you know it is someone else’s turn to have the brain.” LOL what someone had to say about the candidates on the Washington Post article.

  5. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of humans are much more concerned with a lack of jobs, an overwhelming national debt, and education and whatever. Although I’ve heard a disturbing number of these same fine people express plans to disband the Department of Education.

    Seriously though, between “the gays”, “the terrorists”, and “the illegals”, I fail to see how any single one of these people could express anything positive enough to attract voters. They’re all spouting the same crap, no wonder the frontrunning keeps getting juggled around.

  6. That GIF is spot on… but it’s so true. Really? This is what keeps these candidates up at night? That fact that I (and so many others) think ladies are attractive is one of their biggest concerns? If that’s one of America’s biggest problems, then we must be in great shape!


  7. has anyone seen the “candidate match-up” quiz on yahoo? it’s supposed to match you up with one of the GOP or with obama based on your answers to questions on current issues. i took it just for kicks and got obama (thankfully); unbelievably easy to know which answers led to obama.

    • Yeah, well I took it and got Obama as well…then I had my dad take it with me clicking the answers for him, my dad the Fox-News-loving republican…and he got Obama too, haha. He was not extremely happy about that…but he got Huntsman 2nd, and he was like see I told you I liked Huntsman. And I was like…interesting to see that you actually don’t agree with those nutjobs when you take away names and faces.

  8. I think politics are basically glorified reality TV. Where the republican candidates are the girls from “charm school.”

    They’ll spout some BS about the reeally pressing issues and then latch passionately and aggressively onto things that they know will get them the most attention, negative or otherwise.

    And they’ll pick petty hair-pulling fights with people (even ones that are ostensibly ‘on their side’) to get moar and moar attention.

    And they’ll mold their financial views as to make them all very thinly-veiled talking heads for corporate greed.

    and backpedal furiously on everything they previously may have said just to make their opinions more extreme and get moar attention (AHem, Romney, talkin’ to you).

    And then write a book about it.

    And then people like me will wonder how in the hell narrow-minded bigots with no political experience ever made it into even the same sentence as ‘president of the united states.’ or ‘lucrative book deal.’

  9. Our next president hasn’t even begun to run: Hilary. If the economy and Obama’s numbers are aweful come time for the jackass convention Democrats will crawl to Hilary and she will out fund, out debate and out campaign any of these pachyderms and maybe come out as well. ;-)

Comments are closed.