In search of fair-minded Republicans: Log Cabin Republicans is forging ahead in support of GOP candidatesdespite an antigay party platform and a president it will not endorse
For gay and lesbian voting, perhaps the most notable news to come out of rim Republican National Convention in New York was also the most predictable. Five days after the convention ended, the gay political group Log Cabin Republicans on September 7 made good on a promise to fight for inclusion in the party by deciding not to endorse George W. Bush. The announcement ended months of speculation over whether the group, which claims 12,000 members in about 40 chapters nation wide, would choose to back a president who has become increasingly vocal about his opposition to equality for gay trod lesbian couples.
The 22-2 vote by Log Cabin’s national board marked the first time since the organization opened a national office in 1993 that it has not endorsed the Republican candidate for president. “It is impossible to overstate the depth of anger mid disappointment caused by the president’s support for an antifamily constitutional amendment [banning same-sex marriage],” says Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero.
Just prior to the convention, Guerriero’s group was further enraged by the rejection of a proposed “unity plank,” which sought to add language of inclusion to the party platform. At the stone time, the platform committee adopted a plank that called for the passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment–which would write a ban on same-sex Marriage into the U.S. Constitution–and the outlawing of all legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. “There was no reason to let the platform get hijacked by the religious right,” Guerriero says. In response, during tire convention Log Cabin ran a television ad that featured former president Ronald Reagan talking about inclusion. “We have made it clear that we can either be the party of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Guiliani or we can be the party of Alan Keyes and Rick Santorum,” Guerriero says.
Log Cabin’s decision to not endorse Bush metals the group will exclude itself from the presidential campaign, says political director Chris Barron. “Instead we’re going to be focused on other Republican campaigns,” he says, including those of over 50 fair-minded candidates for the U.S. House and Senate. “One of the candidates we’re really excited about is Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. We are proud to have endorsed Senator Specter early on.” The group is also throwing considerable support behind Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut, Barron says.
Aside from supporting candidates, Log Cabin is continuing its election-year battle against the antimarriage amendment. “We are going to be lobbying every single Republican member in the House on this issue,” Barron says. “We’re going to make it clear that it’s unacceptable to use gays and lesbians as a wedge.”
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