According to the Politico, some religious conservatives are applauding Rudy Giuliani for his strong opposition to New York Gov. David Paterson’s gay marriage bill. They especially like his prediction that this will produce a strong backlash against the Democrats.
Given the polling on gay marriage in New York, I’m skeptical. But let’s look at the larger question: Is Rudy Giuliani the best spokesman for traditional marriage? Not only is he twice-divorced, but he publicly humiliated his second wife and the mother of his children while serving as mayor of New York City. He announced the breakup of their marriage in a press conference. His third marriage began essentially as an extramarital affair. And while these are all private matters, they were conducted in an extremely public manner.
Bill Clinton has stronger family man credentials than Giuliani, since despite his extramaritial affairs he has stayed married to the same woman his whole life. I understand the importance of accepting political allies wherever you can get them, and also being encouraged that a seasoned pol like Giuliani sees the marriage issue as a boon to Republicans. But the approach to marriage personified by Giuliani is precisely why our society has gone from viewing gay marriage as a defintional impossibility to a more or less mainstream social crusade.
Social conservatives need to stop making people think they’re called “values voters” because Republican politicians can buy them so cheaply.
UPDATE: No, I’m not defending Bill Clinton — I favored his impeachment and removal from office. But let’s take the Clinton analogy a step further. I was certainly pleased, and so were most social conservatives, when Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act. But no social conservative leaders pretended it was anything more than a fortunate act of political opportunism and a good talking point: “Even Bill Clinton opposes gay marriage…” Why can’t we have that kind of judgment when somebody has an “R” next to his name? That’s all I’m saying, folks.
UPDATE II: Okay, maybe “stronger family man credentials than Giuliani” was an overstatement. But the main point still stands.
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