In theory, I think there might be circumstances in which such a vote might be permissible. After all, the various Vatican and bishops' documents on the pastoral care of homosexuals make it clear that unjust discrimination against a person who is living a homosexual lifestyle is not morally right. Access to food, clothing, shelter, health care, and employment are basic human rights, and public service is a type of employment. While it would be better for public morals for people of good moral character to serve in such offices, it can't be denied that this principle has not been fulfilled by many heterosexual politicians, who have conducted themselves in deplorable ways while in office, and have received votes regardless of the wreckage of their personal lives.
A few caveats should be added to the principle, though, particularly this one: if it is going to fall within the scope of office for the person filling it to set policy on marriage or other matters which are directly affected by a person's views about homosexual acts and their morality, it would not be prudent to vote for a person who views homosexual acts as moral or good. There are other caveats--such as watching to see if the person intends to use a lower office position as a jumping-off place to run for a higher one wherein he or she will be able to set marriage policy--but the point is that the principle of wishing to treat all people justly should inform our decisions.
But principles and practical reality don't always coincide. In our time, when debates about gay rights and gay marriage have become highly charged and permeate the political landscape, it would be imprudent to neglect to consider whether the person who seeks our vote is or intends to be a gay activist, to use his or her position of power specifically to work for the advancement of unjust laws and principles which would make homosexual acts, and relationships based on those acts, the legal equivalent of marriage. Sadly enough, many people who are attracted to members of their own gender and who live lives in which they act on those disordered inclinations seek public office with the intention of advancing the homosexual agenda in law and public policy.
Consider Houston's new mayor, Annise Parker, a partnered lesbian who began her political career as a gay activist. Her election has been lauded by many as proof that Texas in general and Houston in particular is not such a backward, Christian-led state as people on the two coasts fearfully believe. Her supporters derided the attacks of her opponents, who publicized her lesbian lifestyle and history as a gay activist. What, asked many, did it matter what Ms. Parker did with her private life, so long as she was so qualified to be mayor?
But it may end up mattering, if this article is a harbinger of things to come:
HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Mayor Annise Parker said Monday her election to lead the nation's fourth-largest city marked a milestone for gay Americans but was just "one step toward a tomorrow of greater justice." [...]I think it's a legitimate question to ask whether Ms. Parker will use her position as mayor to agitate for gay rights, to work for changes on marriage policy in the city of Houston (remember, it was a mayor, Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, who began the fight over gay marriage in California), and otherwise to impose her beliefs about gay marriage on the rest of her constituents. And I think that for those of us who favor traditional marriage, it is not at all an act of unjust discrimination to refuse to vote for someone who we believe might use his or her public office to further the gay rights agenda; I think it's merely prudence and common sense.
Parker addressed some of her inaugural remarks to the city's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community specifically.
"I understand how much this day means to you," she said. "I can feel your excitement and your joy."
But she said she also could feel their "apprehension and your longing for acceptance."
"Your bravery in the face of threat, your grace in the face of insult, sustains me," she said. "I will gladly carry you forward.
"But today is simply one step toward a tomorrow of greater justice."
Several smaller U.S. cities, including Portland, Ore., Providence, R.I., and Cambridge, Mass., have openly gay mayors.
Gay and lesbian rights organizations from across the country endorsed Parker and contributed money to her campaign and staged get-out-the-vote phone banks.
It's important to articulate that clearly, though, and to be ready to explain that we would not necessarily refuse to support a same-sex attracted person for public office in general, but that in the present political climate voting for one who both lives an active homosexual lifestyle and seeks to reshape society so that approval and acceptance of homosexual acts and partnerships is mandatory and opposition to these are cast as simple bigotry is opposed to our own self-interests and thus not possible. No one ever votes against his own best interests, and traditional marriage supporters have too much at stake to ignore a candidate's position on gay issues, let alone that candidate's embrace of the gay lifestyle and history of gay activism.