Video- UT Senator Mike Lee Blaming Arizona Shootings On Gay Marriage?

Posted By on January 9, 2011

mike lee, arizona shooting, gay marriage, giffords, rhetoric, senator

Senator Mike Lee

Utah – The Beehive State’s new Junior Senator, Mike Lee, isn’t wasting any time drawing battle lines and making sure he’s recognized as far right wing. Following yesterday’s harrowing shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and 19 others, Lee went on CNN and seems to blame the LGBT community.

CNN’s Candy Crowley asked whether political rhetoric like Palin’scrosshairs” ad was to blame for the shootings, Mike Lee denies that it is. Crowley pushes further and asks that with the huge uptick in political death threats in the last decade, and if the problem isn’t the increasingly threatening rhetoric, what is responsible? Here’s Senator Mike Lee’s response:

I don’t know and I don’t think anyone pretends to have the answer to that, but some have pointed to the breakdown in the family structure, many people who engage in these activities come from families that have broken down in one form or another.

Conservatives have been referring to same sex marriage as a “breakdown to family structures” for years of course, but what purpose is Mike Lee trying to serve here? What possible rationalization, evidence or proof could he have that gay marriage causes murderous shooting rampages? Oh that’s right, he has none. He simply just wants to make sure to remind everyone that he aspires to the dangerous political levels and rhetoric of Palin, Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity.

Now while it is possible that Lee is referring to a different form of broken home, the fact remains that we’ve been hearing about “family structures” from him in relation to the lgbt community for a long time now and I see no reason to let him slide back on the ambiguousness of his statement.

Starts at about 1:50

About The Author

Eric Ethington has been specializing in political messaging, communications strategy, and public relations for more than a decade. Originally hailing from Salt Lake City, he now works in Boston for a social justice think tank. Eric’s writing, advocacy work, and research have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Telegraph, and The Public Eye magazine. He’s worked as a radio host, pundit, blogger, activist and electoral campaign strategist. Follow him on Twitter @EricEthington

Comments

18 Responses to “Video- UT Senator Mike Lee Blaming Arizona Shootings On Gay Marriage?”

  1. J Looney says:

    what an absolute ass-clown. Good god, we sure can pick ‘em here in Utah, can’t we?

  2. Bexi says:

    That’s right, he doesn’t know the perpetrator who caused the shootings. So how could he even suggest that “a breakdown in the family structure” is what’s to blame? Was Loughner gay? Is there something the news isn’t telling us here? I think most likely that the answer to Candy’s question is “an increase in hate and bigotry”. As a general rule, where there’s hate, there’s a violent uproar. For God sakes, the guy reads and lives by the Manifesto and Mein Kampf!

  3. Jeremy says:

    You know, this can mean more than just anti-gay marriage, right? Of course, people who are actively looking for a reason to be angry will always find at least one in the nuances of speech. A breakdown in family structure has also been long used to describe families that have broken apart (wow, do you see the correlation here?). Domestic abuse, parent abandonment… there are many more implications here. Take a deep breath: not everyone is out to get you.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’m going to agree with Jeremy. It’s easy to jump on the comment, but he didn’t directly say “The Gay Community” or anything like that. Is he a total asshole? Sure. Is he pushing an LDS values slant with the comment, likely. However break down of the family in the church has to do with Divorce, Porn, etc. Not just sexual orientation.

  5. Mel says:

    Where in the world did you get the idea that he is blaming this horrible shooting on gay marriage. The divorce rate amongst the non-gay marriages is over 50%. That’s where I would be pointing if this kid came from a broken home. But that doesn’t seem to be the case either.
    Eric, you really have quite the vivid imagination, and that is not helping anyone get the truth about what happened. In fact, it seems that most of what you have been posting is bordering on bullying, and I thought we were supposed to promote love and acceptance not antagonism. hhhhmmmmm

  6. Sakura says:

    I agree with you Jeremy that it is a rather vague statement that can have several meanings. However, Eric did point out in his post that Mike has referred to the LGBT community when mentioning families breaking down in the past…so if the past has any correlation, its highly likely Mike means the LGBT community again. Although, I would love to get a clarification from him on this.

  7. Bexi says:

    I agree as well, Jeremy. But there was no breakdown of family structure in Loughner’s family.

  8. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JMBell and others. JMBell said: RT @utahpolitics: RT @PRIDEinUtah: Video- UT Senator Mike Lee Blaming Arizona Shootings On Gay Marriage http://bit.ly/eVSnkg #utpol #lgbt [...]

  9. Jeremy says:

    It depends on the implied use of the word “structure” – if you’re talking about the mere presence of parents or If you’re talking about how the parents treated their children. This is a candid moment: Mr. Lee probably didn’t do a lot of research on the shooter before this interview and didn’t know the exact circumstances. He was asked to speculate, and he did. I don’t see anything inherently nefarious here.

  10. Lee says:

    I too have to agree with Jeremy. We need to stop trying to twist everything into being anti GLBT.
    Doing this only limits the effects of when something truly IS! If we as a community continue to always twist what’s said, it gives so much ammunition to truly anti GLTB groups to say that you can’t believe the gays, they always twist things.
    Sadly, it seems more and more in the recent past in Utah, that this is exactly what is happening. I’m getting to the point when I see “Anti gay comments” “hate speech directed at gays” etc, I automatically think that something is being twisted and misinterpreted.
    Truly sad, but this is only hurting the equality causes.

  11. Admin (Eric) says:

    I appreciate all the comments folks. Bottom line is that I’ve heard Lee refer to the LGBT community with words like “family structures” far too often to easily give him a pass on this. If he didn’t mean it as such, then that’s for him to clarify.

    Remember, it is often less what a political figure says or intends to say, but more to do with how his words can be perceived. If I see something that is potentially damaging to the community, I’m going to point it out. Every time.

  12. E R says:

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

  13. Marvin says:

    This guy is awful. He is a part of the problem. America will not move forward until the Republican Tea Party is a thing of the past.

    No violence is needed – only informed rational thinking. This is what those on the right are most afraid of.

  14. Geo says:

    well, Mike, this puts you right on par with Fred Phelps and his Westboros.

  15. [...] interpreted in a variety of ways. Within hours, a local advocacy group for homosexuality pounced, publishing an article that claimed the Senator was blaming the shooting “on gay marriage”. [...]

  16. Jared says:

    Don’t jump so quickly and take offense. I know you feel like you need to protect the GLBT community just like other people feel like they need to protect their own groups and communities, but what you’ve done in the process is you’ve made a hasty generalization (in the logical sense) at best and at worst, created a straw man fallacy. He was not referring to same-sex marriage; I know you point that out as a possibility but even raising this as an issue is making assumptions without enough evidence.

    I’m not agreeing with his application of the comment – what does the breakdown of the family structure have to do with this shooting? It’s a weird statement to make without explaining more.

    Re: Marvin – you know a lot of Tea Party-ers believe the way they do because of informed, rational thinking (I am not a Tea Party supporter). Just because you do not agree with them does not make their thinking irrational. Yes, some of them might be irrational, but some of the Left’s ideology is irrational as well (like Geo’s – assuming a Left ideology – comment comparing Sen. Lee to Fred Phelps of the Westboro “church”; Geo took the original straw man, ran with it, and created a cross between an ad hominem attack and a association fallacy). Now, that’s not rational (at least logical) thinking.

  17. Rusty says:

    I’m sorry, but this article is a stretch. Don’t undermine your credibilty with this stuff.

  18. Shane says:

    Wow! What a stretch. I am clearly so far on the other side of this issue that we will not find common ground, however I feel compelled to take you to task anyway.

    I see zero evidence that his statement is singling out GL individuals. Instead what Mike is stating is a fact. The general breakdown of the family, single parents, parents working outside the home, and the general reduction of core family values has degraded the ability of society to maintain harmony.

    The values of human dignity, sanctity for life, fairness, love, and harmony are “best” learned at home. That does not preclude learning these values elsewhere, however no better learning environment will ever be available than the home for teaching and learning these values. For some of us, that was not the case. In my own case in fact. I was raised by my disabled grandparents, because my father was more interested in drinking, and playing around, and my mom was too selfish to be bothered. So I know all too well, what the breakdown of the family is all about, and the incredible uphill battle it is to overcome the disadvantages of being abandoned by a parent.

    The family is the core unit that underpins cultures and society. Strengthen yourself, that strengthens the family, in turn the neighborhood is strengthened, and on and on. Those who are selfish, who’s selfish desires, and selfish promotion of anything that detracts from the family, are in fact, breaking down society. That does not single out any particular group, unless that group is promoting selfish behavior.

    So own that if you like, project the Senators comments upon yourself if you desire it, but in the end, that is between your ears. For myself, I will only own that comment in those areas of my own life, that I choose self above family. That is the purpose of the discussion and comment, to evaluate yourself, and determine if you believe in the family, and if you do, to further evaluate rather you are adding value to families, or if you are detracting from families. If your consistent actions, detract from the value of families, then I understand the vitriol and aversion to direct implication that you are somehow connected to such an abhorrent act, as the Arizona shooting. Guilt is often expressed thus.

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