First volley in the 9th District contest: Doug Collins, Martha Zoller trade jabs over gay marriage

You can tell we’re reaching the end of the 2012 session of the Legislature – election-year attacks have already resumed.

The 9th District congressional campaign of Doug Collins, a state lawmaker from Gainesville, has signaled that gay marriage will have its traditional place in the Republican primary – by passing along statements made by Collins’ chief rival, north Georgia radio talk show host Martha Zoller.

For instance, in a 2009 discussion of gay marriage with CNN’s Don Lemon, Zoller said:

I think what’s going to happen eventually, DOMA is going to be challenged, that Defense of Marriage Act is going to be challenged in the Supreme Court. And I don’t think it’s going to hold up, if you want now the truth. And then we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board. I don’t advocate same-sex marriage. I have not changed my view on that. I do support civil unions, though. I think it’s a legal issue…

And this, in from a 2009 column published on the Human Events website:

“I am a reluctant to support any amendment to the Constitution, but in this case, I believe that the Federal Marriage Amendment must be passed because the Full Faith and Credit Clause is being twisted in all the passing and overturning and state amendments regarding same-sex marriage. Pass the Federal Marriage Amendment, and then make civil contracts available to same-sex couples. This is not about the giving or taking away of the rights of homosexuals. Nor is it about changing religious beliefs. It is about right and wrong. Marriage is worth defending, and it can be done while respecting others.”

If nothing else, this first volley shows the hazards of shifting from commentator to candidate. So much material is out there. The response from the Zoller campaign indicates they don’t intend to back away from either of the above statements. Some biting phrases from campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney:

Martha Zoller has been crystal clear that she opposes gay marriage and strongly supports the immediate passage of a Federal Marriage Amendment that protects traditional marriage in the U.S. Constitution. Once the Marriage Amendment is passed, Martha doesn’t care what legal contracts private citizens enter in to. As long as traditional marriage is protected, what people do in their private lives is not the government’s business.

Doug Collins’ fascination with this issue is disturbing and a bit perverse. Obsessing over people’s private lives is conduct unbecoming of someone seeking this office. It’s time for Doug Collins to stop hiding behind his attack dogs. He should be man enough to put his name on the twisted half quotes, accusations, and desperate attacks on Martha.

Calling a former chaplain “perverse”? This 9th District race could be worth watching. Here’s a last counter-response from Collins strategist Chip Lake:

“It’s sad that, just to get elected to office, Martha Zoller is pretending to be somebody that she clearly is not. Equally troubling as Martha Zoller’s lack of conviction to core conservative values is the fact that Martha Zoller’s emerging special brand of hypocrisy is what fuels Georgians cynicism toward politicians who pretend to be something they are not and expect the voters are going to swallow their charade – hook, line and sinker.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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82 comments Add your comment

Centrist

March 22nd, 2012
6:35 pm

Tempest in a teapot – but typical of this blog site when it comes to Republicans.

Tom

March 22nd, 2012
6:35 pm

I’ve been a GOP voter for over 30 years, but a “marriage amendment” is not within the proper purpose of The Constitution.

oppo

March 22nd, 2012
6:51 pm

Martha’s right. who cares what people do. Doug does sound a bit perverse here. he’s really goofy looking to start with. and why attack if you’re not losing badly. Sounds like someone is panicking.

Ervin

March 22nd, 2012
7:12 pm

findog

March 22nd, 2012
7:17 pm

Martha could actually use Mitt’s coattails
she’s can flip flop just as good as he can

Look before I leap...

March 22nd, 2012
7:49 pm

Sounds like Doug Collins not only wants to deny gays the right to marry, he wants all gays to be stoned at the city gates. I suppose that was his spokesman meant by “lack of conviction to core conservative values”.

FloweryBranching

March 22nd, 2012
7:53 pm

I’ve heard her in Hall County many times, and Martha never mentions her positions on these issues when she’s out on the campaign trail claiming to be the conservative voice of North Georgia.

Pro Civil Unions? Are you kidding me!

I don’t care what people do in their bedrooms, but pushing for equal tax benefits, adoption rights, etc… sounds more like Midtown than our town.

FloweryBranching

March 22nd, 2012
7:57 pm

According to http://www.HRC.org – Civil Unions…Some states offer civil unions — a form of relationship recognition that gives same-sex couples access to the state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage. Currently, New Jersey, Illinois and Rhode Island permit same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. Delaware and Hawaii will begin recognizing civil unions on January 1, 2012.

Maybe Ms. Zoller should run for Congress in New Jersey or Illinois. Seems like a better fit.

Look before I leap...

March 22nd, 2012
8:13 pm

“I don’t care what people do in their bedrooms, but pushing for equal tax benefits, adoption rights, etc”

Yeah, lets deny equal rights to our citizens because they don’t believe the same things you do.

ByteMe

March 22nd, 2012
8:23 pm

Calling a former chaplain “perverse”?

Jim, that’s NOT what she said. That’s just poor on your part. She said his fascination with the non-issue was perverse, not that HE was perverse.

I don’t support either (and I do support gay marriage), but you don’t need to twist her words like that. I’m sure by November, they both will say enough bat-shiite stupid stuff, just because they both are politicians from Rightwingnutistan. You don’t need to pick a side yet.

jezel

March 22nd, 2012
8:29 pm

Enter your comments here

jezel

March 22nd, 2012
8:30 pm

Do believe that discrimination for any reason is illegal.

allgood

March 22nd, 2012
8:39 pm

Flowery Branch sounds like she’s willing to compromise.

DagneyTaggart

March 22nd, 2012
9:02 pm

Poor Doug Collins, spending so much time twisting the truth while his campaign tries desperately to prove some sort of bleep of a presence on the radar. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures!

front row pew

March 22nd, 2012
9:11 pm

As with all right wing “debate”, the true indicator of conservatism is the purity of the hate spewed. Collins wins Round One. Zoller’s mild case of tolerance probably cost her dozens of votes.

Come on Martha. Hate harder! We know you can do it!

Jack

March 22nd, 2012
9:17 pm

I don’t understand why a man wants to marry a man. And I don’t understand why laws need to be changed to accomodate that arrangement. Things are already complicated & I see no reason to make them more so. But then, I ain’t running for office.

MattMD

March 22nd, 2012
9:35 pm

Jack,

You probably don’t understand a lot of things. Still, that doesn’t mean other people should be deprived of the right to do what they want, especially if it doesn’t really affect other people in the least.

Eli

March 22nd, 2012
9:37 pm

So now the bigot conservatives are giving a separate-but-equal interpretation to gay marriage?!

For one, marriage is a religious institution and the state should not be intervening. If a church chooses to allow same-sex marriage the government should not be able to deny them that civil right.

I always expect these conservative events to be a contest about who can hate more. It has gotten so much worse now that we have hicks with only an 8th grade education trying to attach constitutional and legal language that they do not understand to the arguments they make. It is quite obvious that Collins has no idea what the Full Faith and Credit Clause means. What can one expect, though, when they get a degree from an unaccredited law school.

Centrist

March 22nd, 2012
10:05 pm

Rick Santorum had a chance at being a part of a possible Romney administration and keeping a political job for his future aspirations. He joined Newt Gingrich today in political suicide with this quote referring to a Romney campaign member who mistakenly told a political truth about how ALL nominees move to the middle (including Obama) after their conventions:

“If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch-A-Sketch candidate of the future.”

Romney is considerably different than Obama, and Santorum grossly crossed the line. Either way – if Romney wins or loses, Gingrich and Santorum have no political futures as they are now men without portfolios.

Bob Loblaw

March 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

Collins ought to pay more attention to his family than this campaign. I’d say he should pay more attention to them than his political career, but it ends, here.

Bob Loblaw

March 22nd, 2012
10:25 pm

Zoller ought to pay more attention to her radio show than this campaign. I’d say she should pay more attention to her listeners than to her failed venture into politics, but it ends, here. She will be rejected by Republicans in the 9th, and her audience will see her for who she really is…a RINO.

Hunter Bicknell for Congress!!!

allgood

March 22nd, 2012
10:26 pm

hunter bicknell sounds like a sweet peach.

Look before I leap...

March 22nd, 2012
10:45 pm

I don’t know Centrist..I would normally tend to agree that Newt and Rick are political toast but Hillary and Obama got pretty nasty with each other during the primary and she ended up with State.

Most likely they’ll both write books and look for work on K street.

Centrist

March 22nd, 2012
10:57 pm

@ Look – Do you see a cabinet position for either Gingrich or Santorum on the long-shot chance that Romney wins?

Gingrich had less to lose due to his age and long absence from politics, although he at least had stature as a former Speaker of the House (3rd in line to the Presidency). Santorum really needs something after having been crushed as an incumbent Senator. I don’t see him as a lobbyist, but maybe at some very conservative think-tank or Fox TV contributor. IMO, no future in politics, though – he burned any possible bridges. Senator Rubio, several female GOP Governors, Governor Christi, and even Jeb Bush have much brighter GOP futures than Santorum.

honested

March 22nd, 2012
11:28 pm

Astounding!

All of the real problems that are present in the lives of American Citizens and these two ‘candidates’ are actually discussing regulation of gay people as a legitimate campaign issue.

Can we add a line to ‘Georgia on My Mind’?
“A backwater state, we seek the bottom every time!”

honested

March 22nd, 2012
11:29 pm

centrist,

They could all run together as a ‘communal candidate’ and they will still lose in November.
What is your fixation with failure?

Buckhead Boy

March 23rd, 2012
4:53 am

Centrist infers: ” … this quote referring to a Romney campaign member who mistakenly told a political truth about how ALL nominees move to the middle (including Obama) after their conventions”. However, in this instance the interviewer asked specifically about the Romney campaign, and it cannot be deduced from the campaign operative’s response that he was making a general statement — that is, he was asked specifically and responded specifically is the only reasonable deduction from the facts.

For someone who expends so much effort in criticizing the media, I would have expected precision rather than spin that endeavors to minimize consequence to a single subject by tarring all with the same brush.

dagny

March 23rd, 2012
6:03 am

This is news? Sounds like Doug doesn’t want people talking about all the tax increases he is supporting for his friend, Gov Deal.

I am tired of the politicians fighting over Other people’s marriages, when so many need to work on their own.
The biggest cause of divorce is marriage. Gays have nothing to do with it.

Attack Dog

March 23rd, 2012
6:23 am

1. If “Defense of Marriage Act” is a Goper platform plank, how is it a small event that has been exaggerated out of proportion? 2. There is a difference between making a statement and asking a question that if one is fascinated by perverse thought, could they be perversed/

jezel

March 23rd, 2012
7:27 am

honested….think the song is entittled…Georgia on MY BEHIND. And we are not last in everything. We have the highest number of people locked up …per-capita. More than anyone other state in the country. Something to be proud of.

Does not matter that we are last in education..last in valid transparency laws. What a wonderful place.

Centrist

March 23rd, 2012
8:58 am

Do any of the partisans here think that the etch-a-sketch quote from a campaign aid is going to matter one bit during the general election campaign? Who here thinks there will be a floor fight at the GOP convention – that Romney won’t win the majority of the remaining delegates (including the GOP leadership super-delegates)? Santorum overplayed it like the media, and had to back track yesterday when he said there wasn’t much difference between Romney and Obama, and even Gingrich blasted Santorum for the comment.

jconservative

March 23rd, 2012
9:16 am

DOMA will be declared unconstitutional by the SCOTUS. Or not!

The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution has been a part of the Constitution from day one.

None of the above will be changed by either candidate in this race.

So their opinion on each issue is about as important as their opinion on sunspots.

No Longer Republican

March 23rd, 2012
9:22 am

My ballot in this race will be left blank because none of them deserve to go to Congress. I’m with “honested.” All the problems people in the 9th district face and these two want to talk about gay marriage. There is no reason for this crap. Let’s talk about things that matter…unemployment, people losing their homes, etc. Eventually people are going to realize that in America everyone should have the same rights and this gay marriage issue will go away…eventually. Here is an idea…if you don’t like gay marriage…don’t marry a gay person.

Rich Jones

March 23rd, 2012
9:25 am

Oh hell. It’s another repub election so you knew gays would be attacked. Every repub is a bigot at heart. Some will say it out loud, some won’t but they are all the same. That’s a statement of fact, not opinion.

UGA 1999

March 23rd, 2012
9:37 am

So sick of hearing about this arguement. Is it really that big of a deal?

ByteMe

March 23rd, 2012
9:39 am

Do any of the partisans here think that the etch-a-sketch quote from a campaign aid is going to matter one bit during the general election campaign?

The quote itself won’t matter, although it was awesome imagery in a negative way. What will matter is the ongoing perception that Romney will lie and change his position about pretty much anything to get elected.

Oh, and Santorum’s “Obama’s a better choice” comment will matter to him when Romney goes looking for a VP. You can put money on that one.

clyde

March 23rd, 2012
9:47 am

Well,I look at it this way.The misery of marriage should be extended to anyone that wants it,but why limit it to just two people.Let’s have multiple marriages,14 men marrying 23 women in sort of a consortium.A corporate marriage.Anyway,my wife and I are thinking about getting divorced and just living together.

Let’s not overlook people that want to marry their goat,either,or their horse.Can’t discriminate ,you know.

Jezel

March 23rd, 2012
9:56 am

well Clyde…don’t the Mormons practice polygamy. And what about Michele B.’s husband…didn’t he marry a goat?

UGA 1999

March 23rd, 2012
9:56 am

ByteMe…..I still believe Romney will pick Rubio or Christie.

UGA 1999

March 23rd, 2012
10:02 am

After Santorum’s comment he needs to leave the race. I cant see anyone picking him after that comment.

Rich Jones

March 23rd, 2012
10:15 am

How many gay people does God have to create before you people figure out they are part of His plan? Substituting your ignorance for His plan is idolatry of the worst kind. People may burn in hell over this, but it won’t be the gay people.

UGA 1999

March 23rd, 2012
10:17 am

Rich….Wow nice comment. I am sure someone here will agree with you.

liberalefty

March 23rd, 2012
10:25 am

will ROMNEY have a black vp?…nope

UGA 1999

March 23rd, 2012
10:26 am

liberalefty…Why would he? Obama doesnt.

liberalefty

March 23rd, 2012
10:27 am

another attack on gays by the “small guvment” conservatives…nobody can hate like a christian conservative can hate

UGA 1999

March 23rd, 2012
10:29 am

Liberalefty…Do you mean like the left hates the rich?

honested

March 23rd, 2012
10:42 am

liberalefty,

Nail on the head.

The protect small guvment (and only everybody just like me) christian conservatives can spew it like nobody else.

Only the proof should be obvious to anyone who is looking (at least in GA) that they can’t do anything to improve the lot of the average Georgian!

liberalefty

March 23rd, 2012
10:47 am

conservative christians LOOOOOOVE GOD, but hates HIS children..

UGA 1999

March 23rd, 2012
10:48 am

honested…..explain.

liberalefty

March 23rd, 2012
10:50 am

Job Ad.

GOP looking for vp: AFRICAN AMERICAN need not apply