It takes a lot of work to alienate what ought to be a relatively easy constituency to please.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) just lost the endorsement of the National Association of Realtors after he told an Orange County affiliate that housing discriminating against gays and lesbians should be acceptable.
“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher told an Orange County Association of Realtors delegation at a May 16 meeting in Washington, D.C., according to Wayne Woodyard, a former Orange County Realtor president who was at the event.
On Thursday, Rohrabacher confirmed the accuracy of the sentiment, and added that homeowners should have the right to “choose who they do business with.”
“We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line,” Rohrabacher said.
Rohrabacher, a Baptist, made the obvious comparison to racial discrimination, but failed to connect the dots because Republicans still believe bigotry is acceptable if Christians are the ones doing it.
The NAR quickly urged members to stop supporting him as they had done in the past:
“It was determined that Rep. Rohrabacher will no longer receive support from NAR’s President’s Circle,” an association statement said, referring to its list of recommended candidates. Rohrabacher’s stance, the 1.3-million-member trade group said, is contrary to NAR’s code of ethics, which bans discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“We certainly hope that Congress will … support the elimination of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Rohrabacher reacted to the snub by, not surprisingly, blaming the NAR for “making sure a stamp of approval is put on somebody’s private lifestyle.”
That’s where he gets it wrong. Doing business with customers — in this case, selling them a home — has nothing to do with approving everything they stand for. I doubt Christian realtors ask potential homebuyers about their sexual history, previous marriages, addictions, lies they’ve told, drugs they’ve used, etc. If they sell a home to people whose answers would violate the teachings of their faith, are they approving their life choices?
Rohrabacher has this warped idea that doing business with gay people, the same way you would anyone else, means you approve of homosexuality. For conservative Christians like him, all sins are equally awful, but some are more equal than others.
We’re talking about the same people who easily dismiss everything objectionable Donald Trump has done in the past because, for some magical reason, it’s now irrelevant.
By the way, Rohrabacher also insisted he’s not anti-gay.
Rohrabacher denied he’s trying to shore up his conservative flank in the face of opposition from [former Orange County GOP chairman and primary candidate Scott] Baugh. Indeed, he said, his stance likely will “alienate a certain number of gays who think I’m anti-gay, which isn’t the case.”
Uh-huh. He’s not anti-gay; he just believes no one should have to do business with gay people. Those things are somehow different in Jesus World.
Rohrabacher faces a tough GOP primary on June 5 and several Democratic opponents in November if he makes it that far. Let’s hope his latest comments help his opponents finally boot him from Congress.