While the Southern Baptists stalk the countryside with their ivotevalues "truck" identifying the Big Gay Menace as the greatest threat to America, their masters in the Republican Party are trying to put lipstick on the corpse of their Big Tent in New York, shoving forward to the microphone the four "moderates" still willing to front for them and hoping that the rest of us don't notice the mixed messages.
Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans, some 12,000 openly gay Republicans, are calling the bosses on the hypocrisy. As a group they were dissed last week by the Republican Platform Committee's refusal to add "reconciliation" language to that (irrelevant) document. And in a rally yesterday in a park far from Madison Square Garden, the Log Cabiners said that their party has been "hijacked by the radical right" and demanded that President Bush square his actions with his rhetoric of inclusiveness or risk losing their endorsement."
Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, blasted party leaders for cynically trying to have it both ways, and Log Cabin political director Chris Barron said:
"We are not going to let anybody use gay and lesbians and our families as a wedge issue and then try to dress it up to score points in an election year. There is no way to make writing discrimination into the Constitution palatable."
D.C. Council member David A. Catania (R-At Large), an openly gay Republican activist who had personally raised some $80,000 for Bush's reelection, stopped raising money after Bush came out in favor of the anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment. He's also ruled out voting for Bush this year. In response, D.C. party leaders booted Catania out of the city's convention delegation, prompting the only other citywide elected Republican, council member Carol Schwartz, to boycott the convention in protest. On Friday, Catania endorsed Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry.
Steve Gunderson, a former member of Congress from Wisconsin who is gay and was active in Bush's 2000 campaign, said, "If the president actively pursues that amendment, no gay Republican with integrity can be supportive of his campaign."
So what? screams back the radical-right hijackers of the party. Who cares? Well, here's an interesting statistic supplied by the Log Cabiners themselves: they cite exit polls showing that 1 million of 4.2 million gay voters supported Bush in 2000, including 45,000 in Florida. They also say the president has seriously jeopardized his chances of receiving their support when the Log Cabin's 25-member national board meets Sept. 7.