The leader of Denver’s Republican Party, Kristina Cook, told fellow Republicans this week that if they “need to be vulgar, to disparage your fellow man simply because he loves another man (or she loves another woman) — either keep it to yourself or leave the party.”
Cook issued the statement after Democrat Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race, triggering the “most intolerant, idiotic, and insensitive references to homosexuality that I think I’ve ever witnessed. Disgusting memes, disgusting comments [on Facebook] — all in reference to his sexuality,” according to Cook.
I was glad to see that Cook’s comments were greeted with praise on the Denver GOP Facebook page.
I mean, the single most depressing phenomenon in the Trump era is that Republicans don’t condemn the president when he deserves it and they know it, which is often.
But keeping the discussion here in Colorado on disparaging LGBTQ people, Cook should also look over at the state legislature.
There, Republican House leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock and fellow Republicans are pushing a bill, among other anti-LGBTQ legislation, that subjects health-care providers to felony charges for providing gender-affirming care for transgender youth–an approach that’s opposed by mainstream medical groups.
Another bill, promoted by Rep. Stephen Humphrey (R-Severance), would define marriage as between a man and a woman and allow adoptions only by heterosexuals.
In an email, I complimented Cook for standing up for LGBTQ people, but also asked about the ongoing disparagement at the Capitol.
“That post was not about policy – it was about being respectful in our discourse,” Cook responded. “If you would like comments about Rep. Humphrey’s bill or Rep. Neville’s bill, I suggest you reach out to them. I’m sure they’d be happy to discuss their reasons for introducing such bills.
“I don’t view my position as being involved in policy. Instead, my focus is on creating community in Denver County through our work with the Denver County GOP. I believe we can help contribute to, among other things, a culture where we don’t use derogatory language towards one another, nor (for example) support the idea of spreading the Coronavirus to those we disagree with politically. If we can create that culture, one where we treat each other respectfully, maybe then we can have sane discussions about policy.”
“But,” I asked Cook, “would you agree that at some point policy positions or legislation can also ‘disparage’ LGBTQ people? And these policy positions should be denounced as unacceptable, just as you denounced the anti-LGBTQ memes on Facebook?”
“I stay in my wheelhouse, which in this case includes public discourse,” responded Cook. “Policy belongs to the policy-makers. I have cc’d Rep. Humphrey and Rep. Neville on this thread, so that they can answer your questions about their proposed legislation.”
All I got from Humphrey and Neville was silence.
And Cook’s admirable LGBTQ comment notwithstanding, silence is what you expect from Republicans who know better these days.