Senator Roeding decried for gay bashing comments.

LawReader editorial: Senator Roeding was quoted by a Ky. Post reporter as commenting on the call for his resignation by the Log Cabin Repubicans by asking, “Who are they?”

This is a truly strange question by a college educated professional politician. Perhaps there is something going here that might also explain his unusual removal by his own party from a leadership position in the State Senate in 2005.

 The Log Cabin Republicans, a national organization, have been around for more than 25 years.  They have been featured in a number of Republican platform debates at National Presidential nomination conventions and they frequently issue press releases on various issues relating to gay rights.  How Senator Roeding could be clueless about this portion of his own political party may be as tellling as his quoted comments in denouncing them as “A bunch of queers.” 

The Log Cabine Republicans maintain a web site at http://www.logcabin.org/  . A review of their news releases verifies their Republican bona fides.

The following article details endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans by California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger:

(Los Angeles, CA) – An overflow crowd of over 375 people joined special guests Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver at an event to support the work of Log Cabin Republicans.  In a rousing speech, Schwarzenegger declared that he was “committed to being a Governor for all Californians? and was “proud to stand side by side with Log Cabin in their work to offer basic fairness for gay and lesbian citizens.?  He went on to say, “A person should only be limited by his dreams and not by his background, and not by his heritage and not by his sexual orientation.?  He went on to say, “We are united in the values of love, tolerance, and understanding…working together we can create a better future for California where everybody matters and every family counts.?

Log Cabin endorsed and campaigned for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2003 recall election and continues to support his efforts to bring people together to build an even brighter future for the great state of California.  “When he took the oath of office, Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would be governor of all the people-and he reinforced that inclusive message in his first-ever address to a gay and lesbian organization,? said Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Guerriero.

                                   ****************   

The Gay wing of the Republican Party represented by the Log Cabin Republicans demonstrates that gays are found in all political parties.  Gays are present in every community. They are respected leaders of our religious organizations, businesses, schools, and legislatures. They are our brothers and sisters, parents and children.

Gays bashers today sound as bigoted as the anti-integration bigots who resisted all efforts to recognize and protect the civil rights of black and minority americans.

The positive thing about Senator Roedings bigoted speech, and his narrow outlook,  is that it has been met with strong critizism by the press and by other Republicans.  We may be at a point were Gay bashers no longer get a free pass.

Senate Republican Majority Leader David Williams, affirmitively called Roeding on his comments and set an example of tolerance for his party.  Other Repubicans were less critical, but none endorsed or supported Roeding’s views.
 KENTUCKY POST ARTICLE:

A day after calling gays “the wrong kind of people,” State Sen. Richard “Dick” Roeding continued his verbal barrage on homosexuals, calling a Republican group that advocates gay and lesbian rights “a bunch of queers.”

After learning that the Kentucky Log Cabin Republicans had called for Roeding’s resignation, the Lakeside Park Republican used the derogatory term to describe the group in an interview with The Post.

The Log Cabin Republicans called for Roeding’s resignation after he said that the University of Louisville was wrong to offer health benefits to gay and lesbian domestic partners as a way to make the university competitive and attract talent.

“I don’t want to entice any of these people into our state,” Roeding told the Louisville Courier-Journal in a story published Friday. “Those are the wrong kind of people.”

The Kentucky Log Cabin Republicans, a state affiliate of the national organization that advocates for homosexuals, also called on GOP leaders to denounce Roeding’s comments.

After hearing of Roeding’s “queers” remark, Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, said he called Roeding Friday. Williams said he told Roeding, “Most people feel that is an unacceptable term to use and I regretted the fact that he used the term and that he should refrain from using that term because it’s inappropriate.”

Williams said Roeding apologized.

“I accept his apology for using the term,” Williams said.

Kenton County Republican Party Chairman Greg Shumate also condemned Roeding’s comment.

“Dick Roeding has been a very effective legislator for Northern Kentucky, however, legislators, as we all, should refrain from using derogatory terms,” he said.

Roeding’s comments in the Courier-Journal were in response to U of L’s Board of Trustees’ 14-1 decision Thursday to let nonmarried gay and straight partners of employees to participate in health insurance as a way to make the school competitive with colleges that are enacting similar policies across the country.

The decision makes the university the first public college in the state to extend benefits to domestic partners.

Northern Kentucky University continues to research the issue, specifically the cost and how to define domestic partners, said NKU spokesman Chris Cole.

“Community standards must also be considered,” he said.

Roeding said he would oppose any attempt by NKU to change its policy.

“It’s a financial issue,” he said. “How can we go ahead and offer more health care benefits when we can’t pay for what we’ve got now? Let’s be realistic.”

Extending benefits to domestic partners at U of L would not cost the university because partners would be responsible for paying premiums.

Local Republican legislators had little to say about Roeding’s remarks.

“I don’t agree with the U of L decision, but it’s their decision and they’ll have to live with it,” Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said. “That’s really all I have to say on the matter.”

State Rep. Jon Draud, R-Edgewood, said, “I would just say I believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect, all human beings.”

State Senators Katie Stine, R-Southgate, and Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Stine, Westwood and Roeding co-authored a letter in 2002 to University of Kentucky President Lee Todd warning him not to pursue an expansion of employee benefits to same-sex partners at UK.

As a result of U of L’s decision, UK officials say they are now considering it.

Some local Democrats said they were outraged by Roeding’s remarks.

“The Republican Party needs to remove him from office,” Kenton County Democratic Party vice chairman Nathan Smith said. “If not, they are protecting a bigot.”

State Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, said Roeding’s comments don’t reflect the views of most Northern Kentuckians he encounters.

“That just represents a very small minority of hatred and they try to impose that on the rest of us and I think that’s wrong,” he said.

In Ohio, a state representative from Ohio has sued Miami University over its decision to begin offering benefits in 2004 to same-sex partners.

Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, said the policy violates Ohio’s constitutional ban on gay marriage passed by voters in 2004.
By Stephenie Steitzer
Ky Post staff reporter

Kentucky Post Editorial:  July 15, 2006

The wrong kind of people
Democracy, for all its wondrous benefits, comes at a high price sometimes, one of the costs being the fact that, from time to time, those elected to represent us don’t represent us at all. In the worst case, they do or say things that offend us. So it is with Dick Roeding, a Lakeside Park Republican who has been in the Kentucky Senate since 1991.

This week, Roeding mixed himself up in the University of Louisville’s decision to offer health benefits to domestic partners, and in so doing the senator came across as a bigot unfit for further public service.

“I find this very repulsive,” Roeding said of U of L’s plans, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. And he continued: “I don’t want to entice any of those people into our state. Those are the wrong kind of people.”

Let’s hear it again: The wrong kind of people.

In case you’re thinking Roeding was misquoted, or that those statements don’t reflect his genuine sentiments, consider what he said when a Kentucky Post reporter called to get his reaction to criticism of his remarks from the Republican Log Cabin organization. “Who are they?” Reading asked our reporter. Told they were a gay rights organization within the GOP, Roeding said, “Oh, a bunch of queers.”

It’s infuriating to hear this kind of talk out of anyone. And it is dumbfounding to hear a senior sitting member of the Kentucky General Assembly declaring law-abiding, contributing, constructive citizens as the wrong kind of people.

You get the sense that if Roeding were born in another century he might be opposing the end of slavery, or the immigration of the Irish – they, too, were the wrong kind of people in their day. The gay rights movement has fought long and hard to bring American consciousness along, and it is a fight not yet finished. The country remains divided over the definition of marriage, and whether it must involve one of each gender; reasonable people may disagree. But mostly, America – led really by business, not government – has gotten to the point that job benefits for domestic partners are about fairness. And, in fact, they are good for the employer, whose goal is to recruit and retain the best workers without regard to race, gender, religion or bedroom practices after hours.

In this regard the University of Louisville’s trustees deserve credit for being the first to tackle the issue head-on. Even though health benefits for same-sex employees are now offered at nearly 300 universities across the country, and have become commonplace in America’s major corporations, Kentucky schools have been reluctant to offer them for fear of provoking a backlash from the Legislature.

After watching what happened in Ohio, maybe it’s hard to blame them. Miami University’s reward for offering such benefits to its employees, after all, was to be sued by a right-wing Republican state representative, Tom Brinkman of Mount Lookout, for violating a new Ohio law dealing with same-sex marriages. As the legal bills mount, the litigation is wending its way through court, drawing attention, and amicus briefs, from organizations across the country.

If this country had a more rational approach to health insurance, we wouldn’t even be having this debate. But for all but the poorest Americans, access to affordable insurance is often tied to employment. Hence the ability to obtain coverage for a partner who isn’t working, or who is an independent contractor or works for a company that doesn’t offer health benefits, becomes important. Heterosexual couples have the option of marriage – and, under most plans, of thus qualifying for family plan health benefits. Homosexual couples don’t have that option.

But there’s something larger at stake here. Kentucky – like any other state – needs all the intellectual capital, all the talent, that it can get. Whether anyone likes it or not, some percentage of the population is gay. What Roeding and others like him are really doing is marginalizing an entire segment of the population. That’s not just wrong, it’s stupid.
 

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