Former Jon Huntsman campaign spokesman and adviser for the Republican National Committee, James Richardson, came out as gay in an op-ed in the Washington Post Wednesday, and is asking for his right to marry his partner of over five years.
Richardson, who also worked for former Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour now lives in Georgia and argues same-sex marriage is a cause conservatives should adopt.
“This Sunday, as those before it, we’ll be in the pews of the same evangelical church we’ve quietly attended for years. We bless our suppers, we pay our taxes, and we own a home in the suburbs. Norman Rockwell would have thought us boring, because, frankly, we are,” Richardson wrote. “Gay people deserve the same the legal and moral considerations — and rights — enjoyed by all others. They are Americans whose rights were granted by God and the grit of their forbearers, yet they are forced to defend their love, and the various planes on which it may be judged (constitutional, cultural and economic), to distressing and revolting ends.”
“Throughout my career I’ve publicly advocated for the freedom to marry, urging the party for which I work to allow gay men and women to wed even as I never openly disclosed my personal stake,” he further wrote. “I’ve preached the small-government virtues of equal marriage, echoing a conservative case that had been made many times before by thinkers more eloquent and far brighter than myself. Never once did I write that I am gay.”
He offers that allowing same-sex marriage would benefit the state of Georgia, which he says ranks 49th in joblessness.
“Within just three years of legalizing same-sex marriage, according to a new white paper by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, upward of 1,000 out-of-work Georgians would find stable employment and the state treasury would bank $5.5 million in new sales tax revenue borne of a big gay dowry for an expanded hospitality industry,” he wrote.
“My partner and I are envious subscribers to the conventional, conservative family model; yet together, as two men wishing to grow grey and ornery in matching rocking chairs, we are consigned to ‘cohabitation’ as a consequence of law. That’s unjust, and it’s uniquely painful,” he wrote. “Gay couples don’t want to rock the marriage boat — they only want a ticket for two to ride.”