Gay rights in the United States have been steadily moving forward the last few years, with legalizing same-sex marriage and other rights becoming the norm nationwide. This mainstream acceptance has even permeated the conservative movement, with one of their constituencies, the Log Cabin Republicans, being comprised of only gay people who joined the party not for social issues, but for fiscal ones. Not everybody is happy about gays and lesbians being treated as normal people and elevated to the same level as heterosexuals, however. And some certainly don’t want to subscribe to the “big ten” philosophy of Ronald Reagan to attract as many different voters as possible.
One such group, the Colorado Christian University, and its parent organization, The Centennial Institute, were planning a summit of Republicans and Republican groups known as the Western Conservative Summit. But when planning the event, they chose to disinvite the Log Cabin Republicans because they are gay, according to an April 15 report in the Denver Post. That’s right, a major political event a year before a presidential election and what looks to be a contentious year has intentionally gone out of their way to alienate a large group of voters just for the heck of it.
“The Log Cabin Republicans exists to redefine the family,” said the Institute’s president and Summit Chairman John Andrews. “Log Cabin Republicans think gay marriage should be the law of the land, and Colorado Christian University doesn’t believe it should be.”
The Log Cabin Republicans are an organization made up of gay men and lesbians who consider themselves Republicans. While many have long considered them the “Uncle Toms” of the LGBTQ community, up to and including members of Congress, they have their reasons. They may disagree with the Democrats on any number of issues, mostly economic and national defense ones, and even sometimes on other social issues. The most obvious one they disagree with the GOP on, however, is of course the issue of gay rights. While this may make them seem a lot more inclined to go with a movement such as the libertarian one, they have chosen to remain within the two party duopoly for a better shot at making a larger impact on national politics.
By making the group personas non grata at the conference, however, the conservatives have risked further alienating LGBTQ groups and their allies, and in a key battleground state no less. The GOP has been intent on moving the country backward on a variety of social issues in recent years, and gay rights are no exception.
Not all conservatives see it the same way as the leaders of the Summit, though. The Colorado Republican Party almost immediately jumped all over itself to include the Log Cabin Republicans, even inviting them to share their own booth at the event. While it may not attract as many gay conservatives at it would have had they not taken this tack, it may help to unruffle a few feathers anyway. If not, the Libertarians or Democrats will be more than happy to take them in.
Even Andrews himself seemed to be backing off of his hardline stance after the criticism his group took this week. “We want to be fair to them if they’ll be fair to us,” he said.
Maybe stopping attempts to relegate them to second-class citizens would be a more fair approach, Mr. Andrews.