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Gay Marriage Fallout: Varilek Loses Hildebrand, Barth Seeks Traction

Last updated on 2014.03.17

I've been committed to my partner for just over ten years. Steve Hildebrand has been committed to his partner for twice as long. My partner happens to be a lady. Steve's partner happens to be a dude.

Because Steve Hildebrand appears to take his relationship as seriously as I take mine, he finds Matt Varilek's failure to lead on marriage equality reason to withdraw his political support for the Democratic campaign he helped launch:

Hildebrand said gay marriage is a crucial issue for him.

"I'm unhappy with any candidate, Democrat or Republican who oppose equal rights for gay people," he said. "It's time to end the bigotry and injustice and move forward. Gay people are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, teachers, doctors, farmers and carpenters.

"We are no different than straight people and we deserve all the rights afforded to straight people."

...Hildebrand was an early backer of Varilek and helped launch a Facebook page in 2011 that urged him to run for Congress. But his support for Varilek is over, he said Wednesday... [Tom Lawrence, "Gay Marriage Now an Issue in SD House Primary," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2012.05.17].

Varilek supports Hildebrand's right to enter a civil union, to share health benefits and hospital visitation rights, and other legal protections. Varilek just falls into some Romneyesque wobbling about states rights and the definition of marriage. And according to Fox News's latest Presidential poll, the last thing we Dems want is a Romney carrying our flag.

Now notice that Hildebrand only says he can't help Varilek any more, not that he's switching to the Jeff Barth camp. Barth, naturally, is hoping he can get traction with this first attention-grabbing policy issue to distinguish the candidates. In his comments to Lawrence, Barth suggests Varilek may be wobbly on abortion as well. Varilek says nuts to that, saying he backs the majority of South Dakota voters who turned down abortion bans in 2006 and 2008.

I urge Barth to swing hard on gay marriage and demonstrate his ability to lead an important conversation, and push Varilek to defend his view or change it. I'd also urge him to push Kristi Noem here, too: while Lawrence hears back from Senator John Thune and Senator Tim Johnson on the issue (Thune says no to gay marriage; Johnson weasels and says leave it to the states—Tim! Come on, back equality, and back the Prez!), Rep. Noem declines to comment. Hmmm... does Noem have a surprise in her closet? Or did her new spokesman just not have time to scribble a notecard for her? Either way, Barth may have a chance to put Noem on defense, just as he has put Varilek on defense. Press that advantage!


  1. Steve Sibson 2012.05.18

    "the last thing we Dems want is a Romney carrying our flag."

    The last thing we conservative GOPers want is a Romney carrying our flag.

  2. Matt Groce 2012.05.18


  3. Matt Groce 2012.05.18

    Who would have thought it would be Steve Sibson that made me laugh out loud today? Ok actually I laugh at his stuff a lot... but not in this way.

  4. larry kurtz 2012.05.18

    Steve: where you at on Gary Johnson?

  5. Roger Elgersma 2012.05.18

    To be to simplistic and general, a conservative wants to keep what is good and is afraid to change for fear of losing the good of the past. A liberal wants to help and change anything that looks like a problem at the risk of spending to much and making people think they can get by with being irresponsible and quitting trying themself.
    When a liberal is for equal rights for different races is very good and without the liberals that would not have happened nearly as quickly. I am not saying that is all finished just because we have a black president. This is the first time the congress would not agree to a whole year budget and the congressman from Carolina who yelled 'liar' during the presidents first speach to congress calmed he was not prejudiced but also had never done that to a leader before either. But when some say all is equal does not mean we can ignore good and bad and just say we are all the same. Each has it in them to do either good or bad and I suspect all have done some of both.
    But I was at a meeting of liberals last week and the concern was that the Bible said that you can beat your kid to dicsipline them. The point of hypocracy came up. But it was not mentioned that it may be hypocritical to not beat your kid but to just kill them by abortion.
    My point is that when equal is applied to right and wrong, there is supposed to be a difference there. The only time I ever walked into Hildebrands office his dog immediately walked up to me and nosed me in the crotch. I will not go into his office again. Some rights really should be, don't ask - don't tell.

  6. 196thlightinfantry 2012.05.18

    Well Roger, it is not just in the Bible where it says about punishing a child, it is also law in the State of South Dakota. Somewhere along in that Good Book, it also mentioned something about being judgemental, I never stayed too long on that page either. Of course, you cannot beat the kid, but in my case, I was never ever so glad when the willow tree at our place died. I mean, not that I ever did anything wrong, but still..The other thing in that Bible says that you reap what you sow and I must have had quite a crop a time or two when I was growing.

    Something else, a good friend of mine had a dog like you described and the dog always came up and did just that. I told my friend that his dog was a rude and crude animal and he told me that perhaps if I showered once in a while, that would not happen...

  7. Taunia 2012.05.19

    If a crotch sniffing dog keeps you out of someone's office, will a picture keep you from posting here?

  8. Testor15 2012.05.19

    Taunia, right on!
    Elgersma, if a dog doing, what a dog will always do, bothers you I feel sorry for you. You must never have had a dog or are very afraid of something you can't control...

  9. Bill Fleming 2012.05.19

    LOL! Hey Roger, dogs won't sniff your junk unless you let them. Next time, put your open hand down there, palm up, and let him sniff that. Oh wait... Maybe not... Who knows where that thing's been? LOL.

  10. Bill Fleming 2012.05.19

    true story. Cesar Chavez had two huge German Shepherds that went everywhere with him, along with at least two human bodyguards (usually the Ybarra brothers, Danny and Richard). The dogs' names were 'Boycott' and 'Huelga' and they were notorious crotch sniffers. Part of their security routine.

    Once everybody got the 'inspection' they would find a place to lay down and take a nap. And typically fart up a storm. Or should I perhaps say that a lot of farts got blamed on them? As you might guess, a lot of people in the UFW movement were vegans, and it was before they invented Beano.

    Roger might want to note that none of us ever suspected Cesar of being gay or otherwise 'sinful' because of this dog deal. But of course that may have been because we were all 'liberals' with a sense of humor.

  11. Carter 2012.05.19

    I've met more dogs that immediately stick their nose in people's crotches than dogs who don't, I think. It's just kind of a dog thing. I haven't ever met, however, someone who was so offended by it that they won't go to X place again. In fact, I can't think of anyone I've met whose been offended by it at all. Maybe it's a conservative thing?

  12. D.E. Bishop 2012.05.19

    I hate crotch-sniffing dogs!!!

  13. D.E. Bishop 2012.05.19

    Ah, now I feel better. I know for a fact that dogs can be trained not to do that.

    This is one of my favorite lines in Cory's post:
    "does Noem have a surprise in her closet?"

    Did you intend the double-entendre? Very funny.

    As we've all heard hundreds of times, a snippet of text, or even whole paragraphs, can be found to support slavery. The entire NT book of Philemon would lead one to believe that slavery is acceptable.

    So what do you do when people start throwing around Bible quotes to support their politics? I go to the gospels, the words of Jesus Christ. I figure he is a pretty decent example.

    Clearly, Jesus was not at all concerned about anyone's sexual orientation, but he was hugely worried about divorce, and what that does to people. Looks to me like the who anti-gay stuff is waaaaay off target for Christians, or anyone else.

  14. Anne 2012.05.19

    Varilek seems to be trodding the trail of Herseth-Sandlin that cost the interest and support of many in her own party.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.19

    D.E., on double entendre: (1) Thank you for using French! (2) My lit prof Mary Haug at SDSU preached the idea that we should always read intent in every word an author uses. It makes the reading more interesting, and it holds authors accountable.

    Anne: you're going to make me nervous. Wait... more accurately, Matt is going to make me nervous. It should be clear that Dems have lost since the 1930s by not offering voters a clear alternative to the GOP. We must differentiate ourselves, and do it with passion.

  16. sdpoliguy 2012.05.21 better check your facts. Although Obama personally says he now supports gay marriage, his official position is that it should be left up to the states to decide. So although Varilek and Obama may disagree "personally", policy-wise their position is the same...let the states decide. Agree or disagree, let's get the facts right.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.22

    However, is it not a fact that President Obama has staked a clearer position on the issue? He has staked the bully pulpit on saying to states, "And here's the conclusion you should reach." I would like Varilek to step away from the nuance and make clear that there is a right way and a wrong way for the state to decide.

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