Why It’s OK to Be a Gay Republican

The Republican Party, too, is a home for LGBT Americans.

CANADA - JUNE 19:  Summit Of Industrial Countries In Toronto On June 19th, 1988,In Toronto,Canada
National Journal
Gregory T. Angelo
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Gregory T. Angelo
Jan. 23, 2014, 4 p.m.

Why should gay people be Re­pub­lic­ans? Be­cause gay people are “¦ people. Gay Amer­ic­ans are Amer­ic­ans. And most Amer­ic­ans aren’t single-is­sue voters. They are, on the whole, more cen­ter-right than cen­ter-left, more fisc­ally con­ser­vat­ive than wealth-dis­tributive, and hap­pi­er to spend their money as they see fit than to have the gov­ern­ment do it for them by man­date.

There are three com­mon prin­ciples shared by the Re­pub­lic­an Party of 2014: small-gov­ern­ment philo­sophy, in­di­vidu­al-em­power­ing policy, and the li­on­iz­a­tion of Ron­ald Re­agan. Log Cab­in Re­pub­lic­ans was formed in Cali­for­nia in 1977 spe­cific­ally to sup­port Re­agan, who at the time spoke out boldly against Pro­pos­i­tion 6, oth­er­wise known as the Briggs Ini­ti­at­ive — a ref­er­en­dum, not un­like 2008’s Pro­pos­i­tion 8, in which voters in Cali­for­nia were asked to make it il­leg­al for openly gay in­di­vidu­als to be teach­ers in the state’s pub­lic schools.

Re­agan’s stance against Prop 6 was a tre­mend­ous polit­ic­al risk: This was a man who had been gov­ernor of Cali­for­nia, who was eye­ing an­oth­er run for the pres­id­ency of the United States, and who made this de­clar­a­tion in 1977. Be­fore Re­agan’s op­pos­i­tion to Briggs, the ini­ti­at­ive was set to pass 2-to-1; fol­low­ing Re­agan’s push against it, the ini­ti­at­ive failed by the same ra­tio.

Sev­en years later, dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion with fe­male Re­pub­lic­an elec­ted of­fi­cials, Re­agan said: “And let me say, there is no place in the Re­pub­lic­an Party for those who would ex­hib­it pre­ju­dice against any­one. There’s no place in our party for the kind of bigotry and ugly rhet­or­ic that we’ve been hear­ing out­side our party re­cently. We have no room for hate here, and we have no place for the haters.”

In sup­port of Re­agan’s cour­age, and in a nod to the GOP’s roots in equal­ity — eman­cip­a­tion, suf­frage, the Civil Rights Act, and more — a group of gay Re­pub­lic­ans in Cali­for­nia chose to or­gan­ize un­der the name Log Cab­in Re­pub­lic­ans as an homage to the birth­place of the first Re­pub­lic­an on the right side of his­tory: Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln.

In the dec­ades since Re­agan made the state­ment that there was “no place for the haters” in his party, the GOP has in­creas­ingly moved to­ward equal­ity when it comes to gay rights. Log Cab­in Re­pub­lic­ans’ lob­by­ing across the coun­try has led to more than 250 GOP le­gis­lat­ors cast­ing votes in fa­vor of mar­riage equal­ity; five cur­rently sit­ting Re­pub­lic­an mem­bers of Con­gress who sup­port the free­dom to marry; nearly one-quarter of the Sen­ate GOP caucus vot­ing in sup­port of em­ploy­ment pro­tec­tions for LGBT in­di­vidu­als — and that’s just for starters.

This year, we have two out mem­bers of Log Cab­in Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning for Con­gress — Carl De­Maio in Cali­for­nia and Richard Ti­sei in Mas­sachu­setts — both of whom have not only our sup­port but also the sup­port of GOP lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee and the GOP House lead­er­ship. They un­der­stand that mov­ing to­ward equal­ity is the path to vic­tory.

If Re­pub­lic­ans hon­or the legacies of Re­agan and Lin­coln, re­mem­ber our party’s his­tory, and re­fuse to fall prey to either the cul­ture wars (propag­ated by left­ists de­term­ined to fo­cus on any­thing but the eco­nomy) or so­cial con­ser­vat­ives on the fringe right, the party plat­form’s core prin­ciples should nat­ur­ally at­tract those voters — gay and straight — who re­ject the big-gov­ern­ment philo­sophy es­poused by “pro­gress­ives” hell-bent on mi­cro-reg­u­la­tion of the lives of all Amer­ic­ans, and who re­ject the cul­ture of per­petu­al vic­tim­hood propag­ated by left­ists whose elect­or­al road map re­lies upon di­vid­ing a united Amer­ica in­to a patch­work of spe­cial in­terests whose only hope for prosper­ity is gov­ern­ment.

That’s our Log Cab­in: It’s the house that Lin­coln built. It’s the house that Re­agan foun­ded. And it will forever be the home for equal­ity-minded con­ser­vat­ives — gay and straight — who stand on the right side of his­tory.

The au­thor is ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of Log Cab­in Re­pub­lic­ans.

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