Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Coming Gay Republican Schism?

Before I go any further, I need to let you all know that I have been a part of Log Cabin Republicans since 2002. I've served in various positions with the local chapter including a stint as President.

Ben Smith over at Politico
, revealed that there is a move a foot to create a rival organization for gay conservatives. The new group will be called GOProud and will launch next week.

So, why the need for another gay conservative group? Because some believe that Log Cabin has become "too liberal" leaving no true conservative voice. Christopher Barron, one of the founders of GOProud and a former staffer with Log Cabin notes that there isn't much difference between Log Cabin and many gay left organizations:

"It (Log Cabin) has simply moved way too far to the left and is basically indistinguishable from any other gay left organization."

Barron also noted that focusing on issues that other gay groups tackle, like marriage is not something real Republicans deal with:

"If your main issue is hate crimes or [federal anti-discrimination legislation] or marriage, you're probably not a Republican"

Huh. Since two of those issues Barron mentioned, marriage and anti-discrimination laws are important to me, I probably won't be getting an invite to join.

Bruce, over at Gay Patriot,
seconds the notion of GOProud and is even more vocal about Log Cabin being nothing more than a center-left orgainzation:

I am thrilled to help announce the birth of a new national gay conservative organization, GOProud. As long-time readers know I have been very critical of the national Log Cabin Republicans for many years.

Their left-of-center positions on important issues have bothered me as LCR has continually sucked the teet of the Gay Leftist agenda. LCR’s silence and unwillingness to stand up and be vocal on true gay conservative issues (outing of Republican staffers, increasing threat of gays being selectively aborted, peril gays face by Islamic extremists) has been mind-boggling. And LCR’s continued obsession in trashing Republicans, yet letting Democrats get a pass on their gay-related hypocrisies, has been infruriating.

So, what do I think about all of this as a gay Republican? Well, it's hard to judge a group that has even formed yet, but if some of the comments are any indication, I don't think I will be sending any money to them anytime soon.

Does Log Cabin have problems? Yes. I disagree with the support for Hate Crimes legislation, which I disagree with on philosophical grounds. I also think they should have spoken more forcefully when gay GOP staffers were being outed. But that said, on the whole, this group has been a good organization showing that one can be gay and conservative.

As for all this talk about how Log Cabin has become "liberal?" Pure bunk. Please tell me, what is "liberal" about wanted the right to civil marriage, or the right to not be fired from your job because you are gay? What is "liberal" about wanting to serve in our military? The "liberal" term is used by those who are more interested in a "small tent" GOP, than in creating a movement and working to make the party that we love a more tolerant and welcoming party. Just because I believe in that doesn't make me accept single-payer health care.

As to the Gay Patriot's claim of trashing Republicans? Well, if someone is going around and saying bigoted things about gays, well it is the duty of a fellow Republican to call them on it. Anyways, Log Cabin has also praised Republicans who have stood up for inclusion. But probably for the Gay Patriot, they weren't the right kind of Republicans.

Again, I could be wrong since the group's purposes have not been released yet, but I fear that GOProud will be a group of gay Republicans not so interested in making society and our own party, more tolerant of gays, than it is about preserving the status quo. It's interested in rallying around the GOP as it currently is and adding a dash of gayness to it. So they will promote the current GOP agenda, but do very little to change it. If that is there agenda, they are welcome to it, but I will remain with Log Cabin, imperfect as it is. My African American heritage and my upbringing in the Black church remind me that one must fight for their rights and that is what Log Cabin does.

One of the reasons that I like Log Cabin is because it resembles what the GOP should be: a "Big Tent" kind of party. In my local group we have various stripes of conservatives, from pro-life to pro-choice, from Goldwater-style Republicans to Rockefeller Republicans. We are all different, but we come together under one roof. I don't know if GOProud is even interested in that kind of conservative diversity.

Several years ago, law professor Dale Carpenter wrote an essay about the rift among gay Republicans. It wasn't as much a rift as it was two different ways of seeing things: those who were gay first and Republicans second, and those who were Republicans first, and gay second. There has always been a natural tension between the two groups and for a long time, Log Cabin has housed both groups.

Come this week, one group will leave the Cabin. Will it make Log Cabin stronger? I don't know. But I do wonder what this will all mean down the road.

1 comment:

Drawlines Blog said...

I've talked a little about this over at the Drawnlines Blog. It makes you wonder, doesn't it? I actually just recently left the Democratic party and joined the Log Cabin Republicans. Frankly, I'm pretty happy with the balance they have achieved between social progressiveness and conservative tent pole issues.

In our local South Florida chapter, we're getting ready to launch a campaign to attract fresh and new members. Incidentally, I haven't heard any of our members threaten to leave and join GOProud.

But as always, time will tell.