Rauner showers praise on Mike Pence, leaving no doubt how he feels about gay marriage | Bleader

Rauner showers praise on Mike Pence, leaving no doubt how he feels about gay marriage

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Governor Bruce Rauner and Vice President (and former Indiana governor) Mike Pence - ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
  • Governor Bruce Rauner and Vice President (and former Indiana governor) Mike Pence

It's been almost a week since Governor Rauner was outed for attending—maybe even officiating—the wedding of a gay friend.

And he still hasn't commented on it.

The Sun-Times ran a picture featuring Rauner reading something from his cell phone at a recent wedding ceremony—either the wedding oath or some sort of celebratory speech or poem.

Maybe he was reading "Funeral Blues," by W.H. Auden, always a favorite at gay weddings.

For all I know Four Weddings and a Funeral—where that poem plays a key role—is Rauner's favorite movie of the 90s.

Though if you asked him, I'm sure Rauner would probably say it was Goodfellas—you know, something more in line with his all-out effort to convince Trump-loving voters he's really one of them.

Obviously, the governor's hoping the whole gay marriage things blows over really fast so he can get back trying to woo the far-right vote he needs to defeat J. B. Pritzker in November's election.

Good luck with that, governor.

After the wedding story broke on the Illinois Review, a conservative website, Rauner's been blasted by right-wingers.

First he supports HB 40—the abortion rights bill—and now gay marriage! What's next, the abolition of ICE?

"It's clear that the governor has learned nothing from his near-loss in the Republican primary this year," the Illinois Family Institute's executive director, David E. Smith, told the Illinois Review. "He's not interested in attracting social conservatives to get out and vote Republican this fall."

Reading Smith's lament makes me realize yet another double standard of the right.

Conservatives love to mock liberals for their political correctness. But liberal PC is tame compared to the straitjacket that shackles Republicans like Rauner, who feels compelled to drop his g's, pose in working-class Carhartt gear, ride a Harley, and talk up his love for weaponry—anything to divert attention from the fact that he actually has a gay friend, much less that he attended that friend's gay wedding.

To drive home the point, Rauner made sure he was on hand at Friday's Republican fund-raiser in Rosemont, featuring Vice President Mike Pence, one of the most notorious homophobes in the Trump White House.

In 2015, when he was governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, an abominable attempt to legitimize discrimination against gays on the grounds that you can't compel someone to serve someone if it violates their religious convictions.

Jim Crow-loving racists all over the south much have been thinking—religious liberty? Dang, man, how come we didn't think of that?

Rauner opened the fund-raiser in Rosemont with the following ode to Pence . . .

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

Oh, wait—that's the Auden poem. My bad.

No, here's what Rauner actually had to say: "Mike Pence, along with President Trump, are doing it for every American right now. Let's hear it for them."

I guess desperate times require desperate measures. Rauner's always walked a tightrope around social conservatives and Trump. In 2014, he ran as though he were agnostic on social issues—said he had no social agenda—in the hopes of winning suburban moderates and social conservatives.

For the longest time he wouldn't mention Trump's name or even say who he voted for in 2016.

But now, down in the polls and worried about losing Republican voters to state senator Sam McCann, who's running as an independent, he's openly in the president's arms.

So he throws his friends under the bus to win the votes of bigots. Shame, shame on you, Bruce Rauner.

I realize that President Obama went through his own evolution on gay marriage.

At first, back in the 1990s, Obama was for it—when he was running for state senator from liberal Hyde Park.

Then he was against it, when he was running statewide for Senator in 2004.

And then, once he was safely reelected as president for his final term, he was for it again.

But I’ll give Obama this. He finessed the issue to try to get elected so he could do something noble, such as pass an universal—if watered down—national health-care plan.

Rauner's playing the role of a bigot in order to get reelected so he can go back to his main agenda of destroying public education and eradicating unions.

The governor's behavior is just one example of the way we’ve regressed as a civilization in the age of Trump.

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