In March, I suggested in this column that Sen. Arlen Specter change parties since, as we pointed out, it was doubtful he could win a Republican primary. Since then, polls have made that point crystal clear and it finally got across to the good senator. But there were two other reasons I made that suggestion in that column.
The first was that Specter had a great voting record on LGBT issues, and second — and maybe most telling — is that he could help bring about the passage of LGBT legislation in the U.S. Senate by making it a solid 60 filibuster-breaking majority. What we didn’t say and should be pointed out is that maybe nowhere else in the nation is the Republican Party more in the Dark Ages than here in Pennsylvania. And Specter’s words were correct: There is no moderate Republican Party in Pennsylvania. The Republican Party in Pennsylvania is stuck in the past. Let’s prove it by one, and only one, fact.
There are 25 states that outlaw some form of discrimination against the LGBT community. Pennsylvania is not one of them. Each time a relevant measure is introduced in the legislature, the Republicans do whatever it takes to stop it. As we reported last week, the current nondiscrimination bill in the Pennsylvania House has no less than 40 negative amendments.
The party of no civil rights is bent on staying in the past. Not only do they still adore our former junior, and ultra-right-winger, Sen. Rick Santorum, but reports are swirling that Republican Party elders have now gone back to the past to ask former antigay-rights Gov. Tom Ridge to run against Specter.
Last summer, while Ridge was being considered as a vice-presidential candidate, we dedicated a column to his constant stand in the doorway of civil rights. We called Ridge to offer him the chance to update or change his position but he refused to reply. Seems that Ridge and the Pennsylvania Republican Party are still stuck in America’s past.
Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].