Skip to comments.Gays and the GOP
Posted on 09/01/2003 11:22:11 AM PDT by GrandMoM
Is there room for gays inside the Republicans' Big Tent?
Gays and the GOP
How a Republican group is trying to make sexual orientation a non-issue for the party
By Arlene Getz
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
July 3 Gays have always been more likely to vote Democrat. But as the 2004 White House race shifts into gearand the issue of same-sex marriage becomes a national talking pointa few Republicans are stepping up their efforts to attract homosexuals into the big tent.
YET WILL GAY voters ever really feel welcome in a GOP that is backed by a legion of conservative Christians? One of the party organizations trying to make that happen is the Republican Unity Coalition (RUC)a group of gay and straight party members established more than two years ago in a bid to make sexual orientation a non-issue among their supporters. A Wedge Is Born: Gay Marriage and 2004
The RUC was one of several groups that filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief arguing that the Texas sodomy law, struck down by the Supreme Court last week, was unconstitutional. Describing itself as less a grass-roots movement than one for grass topsRepublicans with long-established and often powerful roles in the GOPthe RUCs big-name members include former president Gerald Ford and former Wyoming senator Alan K. Simpson. Simpson, the groups honorary chairman, spoke to NEWSWEEKs Arlene Getz this week about gay Republicans, the religious right and the 2004 election. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: Why did you join the Republican Unity Coalition? Allan K. Simpson: I dont think theres anyone in America [who] doesnt have someone close to them whos part of the gay or lesbian population. I met the head of the Log Cabin Republicans [a gay GOP group] almost 10 years ago when I was working on immigration [legislation.] They had the same conflicts about abortion, about taxesthere really wasnt much discussion about the gay-lesbian issue. At the end of it I said I had no idea of the kind of anguish that they must go through, none. I said that if I can help turn that tide then Id be glad to do so Then theres my deep regard and affection for Dick and Lynne Cheney and [their gay daughter] Mary, whom I watched grow up.
One of the RUCs goals is to sideline the influence of religious conservatives in the GOP. RUC honorary chairman Alan K. Simpson We dont have any concept of sidelining anyone. Thats not our intent at all.
What about sidelining their agenda? Im not into anything but the awareness of tolerance and the importance of an honest appraisal of acceptance. It matters not to me what they do. I dont do those things to sideline anybody. Were not asking for anything special [for gays]just openness, honesty, tolerance. Even the word acceptance may not be good, because you dont have to accept anybody in life.
This doesnt sound like a traditional Republican speaking. Thats a stereotype. Whats always curious to me is how liberal-progressive people are always babbling about how they never stereotype. Well, thats B.S. I dont know what the hell I amconservative, liberal? You figure it out.
How much is the religious right shaping the GOPs agenda? I would see people at rallies as I campaigned for [the first President] Bush and [Bob] Dole and the second Bush and I would say: You apparently are part of the Christian right. What do you believe thats so frightening to the rest of us? They said: We believe that the educational system is a failure. We think the entertainment industry is debasing America. We feel that the soaps in the afternoons consist of the horniest people that have ever [roamed] the earth scratching at every orifice. And we believe in God. Whats wrong with those people? What is the evil of the Christian right? They believe in God and they believe in family values. What is so horrific about that?
Im not judging their values, just asking the extent to which they are influencing the party? It is always brought up in a negative way. Thats the way it is.
What about their disapproval of gays? Im not comfortable with some of their views, especially with regard to homosexuality. My view doesnt match theirs on abortion. But I think the Republicans are getting smart enough now to realize [the value of] what Reagan saidgive me a guy whos with me 70 percent of the time instead of some jerk whos against me 100 percent of the time. The 100 percenters in our party are less, thank heavens, because the hundred percenters are the guys you want to stay away from. Theyre people who seethe. Those are the people who didnt vote [for George Bush in 1992] and gave us Bill Clinton. And if theres ever a group of people who think of the anti-Christ as Bill Clinton, then its the archconservative right-wing people you and I describe.
Are you saying that because theyll back George W. Bush in 2004 whatever happens, he can start reaching out to moderates like those represented by the RUC. Im not saying that at all. Im just saying that I think theres less chance this time of a flight of those people from the presidential race on the basis of their agenda. They know that George W. Bush is listening to them.
Is the GOPs big tent getting smaller? I dont think so. If you want to go and look at the big tent shrinking, go and look at the Democrats. The fabric is unraveling at the edge of their tent because if they nominate Howard Dean, they can kiss half the Congress goodbye.
Can a group like the RUC fit into a Republican Party dominated by Karl Rove? They are fitting within it, because in it are people Karl Rove is going to count on to help George W. Bush get re-electedlike Jerry Ford and Mary Cheney and [former congressman] Michael Huffington.
So there are no tensions between those in the RUC and those on the right? I do not see that, because when they surface, theyre not getting the acceptance that they have before. Ten years ago, after a decision like this [the Texas sodomy case] in the court, airwaves would have been filled with the horror of the destruction of the family. Now, sure its out there. But not in any way like it would have been 10 years ago.
Yet less than three months ago, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum caused an uproar by likening homosexual activity to bigamy and incest. I thought [those comments] were sad. I know Rick and I respect him, but I think that view was a little bit bizarre.
(Excerpt) Read more at stacks.msnbc.com ...
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Is there room for Christian Conservatives? A lot of us are beginning to wonder. You can't own EVERY voting bloc. It makes sense not to alienate a PROVEN bloc in pursuit of another hostile one.
Im not saying that at all. Im just saying that I think theres less chance this time of a flight of those people from the presidential race on the basis of their agenda. They know that George W. Bush is listening to them.
....funny thing is, I have never heard or read about any one homosexual or one of their organizations say that the weren't part of the agenda.
....time to wake up!!
....read post #3