By Bob Roehr
There are far fewer openly gay or lesbian people at the Republican National Convention in New York City than were at the Democratic counterpart in Boston, but gay issues are being played up to a much greater extent, though often in the negative.
The draft party platform strongly supports the Federal Marriage Amendment and sharply criticizes activist judges for “presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization, the union of a man and a woman in marriage.”
“It’s absolutely outrageous, their language goes far beyond what even the president has asked for. This is an insult to fair-minded Republicans,” said Christopher Barron, political director of Log Cabin Republicans.
LCR understood the futility of trying to change the language of that plank, so it tried to soften the edges by joining with other moderate groups to urge adoption of a “unity plank” to “recognize and respect that Republicans of good faith may not agree with all of the planks in the party’s platform.” It got nowhere.
Log Cabin upped the ante at an August 30 news conference where it launched a 30-second television commercial urging an inclusive approach. It will be broadcast in New York during the convention and on cable nationwide.
The ad with a clip from Ronald Reagan at the 1992 Convention saying, “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.” The ad contrasted that statement to the intolerant social agenda pushed by Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan and Rick Santorum.
“Why would the GOP focus on issues that divide not just rank and file Republicans, but also the two leaders of our party – the President and Vice-President?” asked LCR executive director Patrick Guerriero.
“In recent months, the party’s agenda has been set by the radical right. They divided party leaders by starting a culture war and pushing the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment. Enough is enough. It is time for someone to challenge the radical right. Log Cabin proudly accepts that challenge.”
“Our effort to take back this party from the radical right is about more than one election, one president, or one issue,” Guerriero said. “History, common decency, and fairness are on our side.”
About 50 openly gay delegates and alternates are at the convention in New York, as compared with five times that number at the Democratic convention in Boston.
Log Cabin Republicans will be making its decision on endorsing or not endorsing Bush’s reelection soon after the Convention concludes. Many believe the group will not endorse the candidate, much as it did with the first President Bush’s reelection in 1992.