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The Paradox Called Gay Republicans

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Many gay republicans believe in the ideals of the Republican Party despite the groups anti-gay positions. To gay conservatives, issues like tax policies, smaller limited government, and free markets warrant their support of a conservative political party. Many of them claim intolerance of their party's anti-gay positions, but believe through a grass roots effort the party will become more inclusive.

The Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's leading same-gender-loving Republican advocacy group, says, "Log Cabin represents an important part of the American family-taxpaying, hard working people who proudly believe in this nation's greatness. We also believe all Americans have the right to liberty, freedom, and equality. Log Cabin stands up against those who preach hatred and intolerance. We stand up for the idea that all Americans deserve to be treated equal-regardless of their sexual orientation." The LCR goes on to explain their position, "The mere existence of our organization recognizes the fact that the Republican Party still has a long way to go on issues affecting gay and lesbian civil rights. In recent years, the GOP has made important strides toward inclusion, however much more must be done. Too many people in the party remain hostile to gay and lesbian civil rights. Log Cabin will confront the radical right's bigotry head-on as we join the majority of Republicans who believe inclusion wins."

The idea of a gay Republican is not new, however. Gay Republican, Jeremy Hawthorn talks of gay conservative politics dating back to the 1950s. "The Mattachine Society rejected the idea of gays and lesbians having to be 'radical' to bring about change. Instead, they argued that homosexuals were a legitimate sub-group of the American population. The society worked to win acceptance, not change mainstream values. The emphasis was on assimilation and legal change."

Opposition to Gay Republicans

Will the Republican party ever become an inclusive organization? Some party opponents fail to see how gay Republicans can support a party that collectively excludes them- so much so they are willing to amend the Constitution to restrict their rights. How can gay Republicans support a party that does not want them? Gene Stone of the Huffington Post shares a growing belief that the answer lies in the shadows of self-hatred. "It's understandable why someone might not choose to be a Democrat. Those brought up in a family or culture where the traditional Republican party values were celebrated, such as smaller government and less taxes, might feel uncomfortable with the Democratic party (although these days it's the Republican party that seems to stand for pork barrel politics and large government).

"But why specifically chose a party that loathes you? The answer is hard to fathom. Still, it's hard to avoid the self-hatred issue. Nearly all gay men and women are raised in families where there is little-to-no support for their core identity." Stone continues, "Today the bottom line is that there simply is no excuse left for any gay man or woman to embrace a party whose prime agenda is to stop him or her from enjoying the same rights as every other American."

Other gay Republican opponents hope that by outing gay Republicans, gay conservatives will see where the party's loyalty truly lies. Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank's position on outing gay Republicans is known as the "The Frank Rule." Frank believes a person should to be outed if they use their power to further anti-gay causes. He says, "The fact is, yes, the Republicans do think [homosexuality] should be a crime. And I think there’s a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy...people who want to demonize other people shouldn’t then be able to go home and close the door, and do it themselves."

Where It Stands

In the aftermath of the Foley page scandal, can gay conservatives continue to find a home in the Republican party? Will there be a gay witch hunt in the Republican party that purges its ranks of unwanted homosexuals? The future of American politics will reveal the answer. In the meantime, gay Republicans may still continue to justify their existence in an exclusive party, while others continue to contemplate the paradox.
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