Not the best choice of words. Missouri's Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill rationalizes her vote against yesterday's controversial concealed weapons amendment—which fell two votes short of passage and would have allowed licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines—as a "states' rights" issue and "a foot in the door to allow the laws in Vermont on gay marriage" to be enforced in Missouri.
The senator told reporters: "It is a bad idea for us in Washington to tell one state they have to accept what another state has done. This is a foot in the door that would require, for example, the laws in Vermont on gay marriage to be enforced in Missouri. It just kills me, these guys ... pound the tables about state’s rights until situationally they don’t want to talk about states rights anymore." Audio here.
Gays and progressives are pushing back and in the past two hours, McCaskill's office went into damage control mode. The Senator took to (where else?) Twitter to explain: "My argument was about states rights, re conceal & carry. Gay marriage is another example of states having rights to decide w/out Washington." McCaskill also issued this clarification to The Advocate: "I wasn’t clear when I stated that my vote against that provision was because it came down to a states’ rights. I was expressing my frustration in that some who argue that states shouldn’t respect the laws, certificates, or permits from other states when it’s convenient, like with gay marriage, but then argue that they should when it’s convenient on another issue, like gun rights. They can’t have it both ways."
McCaskill has a strong record on LGBT issues and an 85 percent score from the Human Rights Campaign. In 2004, she opposed a Missouri constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. This year, she co-sponsored the Matthew Shepard Act "despite her office [receiving] calls from Missouri residents 5 to 1 against her support," notes PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBT advocacy organization.
Probably another case of an ally using a bad analogy to make a good point. But an excellent example of the problems created when Democrats use right-wing talking points to frame progressive issues. (Is she against all firearms owners carrying guns across states lines or just the heterosexual ones?) Pam Spaulding on the takeaway: "She may not hate gay people, but she doesn't think that they deserve to be equal in all ways under the law. If she has a religious objection that's one matter, but we are talking about civil marriage and reciprocity in the same way a drivers license is recognized. What part of it does the Senator not understand? She needs to explain herself. Certainly she must have LGBT on her staff—does she think that they are lesser human beings?"
Some Background ...
Senate Rejects Gun Amendment, Major Hurdle for Hate Crimes Bill [R20]