This month, our country marked five years since the terrorist attack at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando. During that massacre, 49 people were killed and 58 were wounded. It is still the second largest mass shooting in American history after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
On June 12, 2016, at 2:22 a.m., Omar Mateen declared his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call. Around 2:45 a.m., Mateen called News 13 Orlando and told them that he committed this act for ISIS.
Mateen was indisputably a radicalized Muslim. Because this horrific tragedy took place during the 2016 presidential campaign, liberals tried to ignore the Jihadist element and talked only about gun control.
Author Sam Harris said it well at the time:
“All of this talk about guns is a combination of pure confusion on the part of people who don’t know anything about guns and dishonest political posturing on the part of those who do. The rest is pure obfuscation about the real issue, which is an all too literal interpretation of the doctrine of Islam.”
According to Harris, only Donald Trump offered “moral clarity” about this tragedy when he said: “America must unite the whole civilized world in the fight against Islamic terrorism.” Harris has been a persistent Trump critic, but he couldn’t understand why then-President Obama or presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wouldn’t say the same thing.
Today’s Republican Party would be wise to demonstrate similar courage and clarity with regard to gay marriage. The American people need Republican politicians to stand against Islamic terrorism and with its many victims.
Much the same way the Republicans stood with Israel during the recent conflict against Hamas, people shouldn’t be killed by Jihadists for being Jews any more than people should be killed by Jihadists for being gay.
Five years after Orlando, a June 2021 Gallup poll showed that 55% of Republicans now support gay marriage. In the same poll, 83% of Democrats and 73% of independents supported gay marriage. Nationwide, 70% of Americans now supports gay marriage.
Gallup has been keeping track of the steady increase of support for gay marriage for the last 25 years. In 1996, only 33% of Democrats, 32% of independents, and 16% of Republicans supported gay marriage, according to Gallup.
Support for gay marriage in particular, and gay rights in general, has been growing among American Muslims as well. In 2017, 51% of American Muslims declared their support for gay marriage.
While there are Imams who preach hatred for gay people throughout the world, there are many Muslim activists and organizations in the United States campaigning for gay rights, including Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV). There are now even a few Imams who are openly gay.
It used to be dangerous to be a gay Muslim activist. If gay Muslims can risk their lives standing up to Islamic fundamentalists then there is no reason Republican activists cannot stand up for gay rights.
If Republicans want gay people, and their straight friends and relatives, to vote for them in 2022 and 2024, they should support gay rights in the Republican Party platform.
On June 12, 1967, exactly 49 years before the Orlando shooting, the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that any laws banning interracial marriage violate the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
This was the same argument that Justice Anthony Kennedy used when he wrote the majority opinion in the Obergefell v. Hodges:
“Four principles and traditions demonstrate that the reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples. The first premise of this Court’s relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. This abiding connection between marriage and liberty is why Loving invalidated interracial marriage bans under the Due Process Clause.”
It wasn’t until 1997 that a majority of Americans supported interracial marriage. By 2013, 87% of Americans supported interracial marriage compared to just 4% in 1958. This change in attitudes occurred because Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders, believed that the founding principles of our country could save us.
In 1963, Dr. King said, “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
If Republicans want to win over a new generation of Americans to conservatism, we need to convince them that our Constitution can defend the rights of all Americans. It is the best way to persuade young Americans that our country was founded in 1776 and not in 1619.
Robert Zapesochny is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on foreign affairs, national security and presidential history. He has been published in numerous outlets, including The American Spectator, the Washington Times, and The American Conservative. When he's not writing, Robert works for a medical research company in New York. Read Robert Zapesochny's Reports — More Here
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