Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mike Turner, Bigot?

Well, is he? When it comes to lesbians and gays it seems so.

Either that or he is an opportunist willing to play to the prejudices of his constituents. But the record seems to indicate that this is beyond mere opportunism.

Way back in 1998 Turner led the battle against anti-discrimination protections for the GLBT community. The measure was defeated in part because of Turner’s aggressive push-back, which ended Mary Wisemans’ political career as she was the sponsor (Wiseman was on the city commission at the time).

Perhaps this was a cynically opportunist move on Turner’ part . Turner may have already had one eye on running for Congress, and needed a culture war win to qualify him with suburban conservatives.

Turner did eventually end up in Congress, representing a House district gerrymandered to ensure a safe seat. So one would expect Turner would drop the gay issue once elected, if his opposition in Dayton was motivated by opportunism.

Turner did not.

Instead Turner became a consistent vote for the Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage (and given the loose language, perhaps domestic partnerships as well,). In short, Mike Turner is prejudiced enough to want to amend one of the founding documents of the United States to enshrine discrimination.

Turner was more than a vote for discrimination, he also was a co-sponsor, co-sponsoring three House resolutions for the amendment, in 2003, 2004, and 2006. He can be expected to sponsor any future attempts (which may be futile considering Democratic control of Congress after 2006).

One can wave this off by saying “well, all the Republicans are homophobes.” Not true for the Dayton region. Turners’ neighboring Congressman, Dave Hobson, has never co-sponsored this amendment, nor has he voted for it.

Turner’s willingness to use his Congressional vote to further his personal prejudices against lesbians and gays is not limited to amending the Constitution. He also voted, in 2007, against strengthening federal assistance on investigating and prosecuting hate crimes against gays and lesbians, the so-called “Mathew Shepard Act”.

So far, a consistent legislative track record of hostility towards gays and lesbians.

If and when the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, AKA ENDA, comes to a vote Turner will have yet another chance to indulge in his personal bigotry towards the lesbian and gay community. In this case he can vote against anti-discrimination protections just like he did here in Dayton while mayor.

Turner makes the trains run on time.

I recognize this isn’t a big deal, or even a moderate deal, for the vast majority of people reading this. The GLBT community, the visible part of the community, is fairly small and politically powerless. So bigots like Turner can be as nasty as they want to be without any political consequences since they bring home the bacon. In Dayton’s case these are Defense and infrastructure earmarks (better known as “pork”) and the occasional “political cover” urban-affairs legislation.

So Turner is like the fascists of yore who made the trains run on time. Back then the public applauded (or didn’t complain too much) too, and if there was collateral damage for unpopular minorities of various types, who really cares?

So is Mike Turner a bigot?


Only as much as his constituency, who tolerate, or even applaud, his giving legislative voice to his prejudices.

3 comments:

Matt D said...

WOW. I had NO idea. I knew what he was like locally but I had no idea of his voting record once he got into Congress. Even locally, however, I felt sorry for lgbt people who were in his circle of friends. I wonder how they feel. I wish the lgbt community was more vocal. While he is safe in a gerrymandered district (created for his benefit) he's my representative and he certainly doesn't represent me or my interests and I'll be paying much closer attention if he's re-elected.

Jefferey said...

I'm not that connected to the local lgbt community, and don't know anyone who was in Turners circle. I'd figure if there was they would probably be closeted.

There is hearsay that Turner has a gay cousin who is HIV +, but I think my source has Turner confused with Mike Dewine, since I do know that is the case with DeWine.

I figure if I needed to contact an Ohio congressman about lgbt or AIDS issues I'd contact Marcy Kaptur or Dennis Kucincich as its pointless to contact Turner.

Greg Hunter said...

Isn't Mike a Christian? So he puts Politics, before God!