Why We Need Gay Republicans

Article excerpt

Kevin Ivers robbed me at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in San Francisco in September. The spokesman for the Log Cabin Republicans--the gay Republicans--mugged me of the only possible contribution I could have made to a lively panel discussion on the gay vote.

Get a load of what he said. "To be a successful movement, we have to be a bipartisan movement," Ivers told the packed room at the Argent Hotel. "It is clear that in Los Angeles, gay and lesbian groups have influence in the Democratic Party. Log Cabin is trying to do the same."

He went on to say, "When the election is over, the election is over. And you will have to deal with the next government. You will need to have entree. You have to make sure all your bases are covered. Log Cabin sees its role to mark progress and plant the flag for gay and lesbian issues within the Republican Party."

That's basically what I have been saying to anyone who will listen. And I'm a Democrat.

Recently a friend of a friend sincerely asked, "Can you explain gay Republicans to me?" Because I follow and write about politics, I'm always asked, "How can there be gay Republicans? Aren't they an oxymoron? Aren't they self-hating?"

Gay Republicans are not oxymorons, and they are not self-hating They are brave.

Think about it. They are working their butts off for gay rights in a party that is in the clutches of religious conservatives. The leader of the Senate is Trent Lott of Mississippi. He thinks we're akin to kleptomaniacs. The House majority leader is Dick "Barney Fag" Armey of Texas.

Things have been no easier at the presidential level. Remember back in the 1996 campaign when then-Republican nominee Bob Dole returned a contribution from Log Cabin? Or what about the Meet the Press interview with the current nominee, Texas governor George W. Bush, during which he called Log Cabin a divisive organization?

But things are changing.

There is a growing cadre of moderate Republicans who are supportive of our push for inclusion and are becoming more vocal about it. …