Everyone knows that queer Seattle advice columnist and political pundit Dan Savage doesn’t mince words. And no words were minced in his new column in The Stranger telling LGBTQ folks opposed to Hillary Clinton because of her former opposition to gay marriage that they better get over it if they know what’s good for them.
“Hillary Clinton’s support for marriage equality may be a political calculation,” he writes. “And you know what? We worked hard to change the math so that those political calculations would start adding up in our favor. So sincere change of heart or political calculation—either way—I will take it.”
Then he goes on to say that queer folks who withhold support for a progressive candidate like Clinton are hurting their own cause. “It’s fucking moronic—it’s political malpractice—to attack a politician for coming around on your issues,” he writes. “There are lots of other issues the queer community is going to be pressing politicians on, from passing equal rights bills and trans rights bills to defeating anti-trans bathroom legislation and RFRAs. If pols who are currently on the wrong side of any of those issues see no benefit to changing their positions—if they see no political benefit—they’re going to be harder to persuade. Why should they come around on our issues, why should they switch sides or change their votes, if we’re going to go after them hammer and tongs for the positions they used to hold?”
Lest anyone think that Savage is endorsing Clinton at this point over Bernie Sanders, he sets them, well, straight. Noting that he’s “in the tank” for Bernie, he writes, “But I’m also in the tank for Hillary Clinton. You could say I’m bitankual: In both tanks at once.”
He also notes that Obama (and many Democrats) once defended the sanctity of marriage as between a man and a woman, just like Clinton did. And he points out that, in 2006, Sanders said that his home state of Vermont should not try to upgrade gay civil unions to actual marriages.
“So!” he concludes. “Sanders and Clinton—neither one was always perfect on marriage. But they’re both on our side now.”
Is Savage implicitly saying that voting for Clinton in the primaries is a smarter move against the looming bogeyman of Donald Trump than voting for Sanders? We can’t quite tell. But there’s a lot of sense in his argument not to overly beat up on candidates who’ve come around on LGBTQ priorities.