A Big Tent, Sure—But Not That Big

All the Republican talk of inclusiveness doesn’t seem to apply to gay voters.

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For all the Republican talk of inclusiveness — highlighting the number of minority delegates and insisting that “W stands for women” — that spirit of tolerance doesn’t extend to homosexual voters, who find themselves even more marginalized by the GOP than they were in 2000.

During his first run at the presidency, George W. Bush made a point of courting groups like the Log Cabin Republicans. And at the Philadelphia convention four years ago, Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe made history as the first openly gay politician to address the GOP delegation. But some conservatives used his speech as a protest opportunity, bowing their heads to “pray for him” and holding up signs telling him “there is a way out” – even though Kolbe spoke about trade issues (an area of his expertise) and never mentioned his sexuality. As a spokesman for the right-wing American Family Association told ABC News back then:

“It is a little slick and I don’t care for it. We don’t want to play that game. We have a problem with this idea of tolerance and having to value every kind of lifestyle.”

This year, the GOP is going with that approach. No openly gay Republicans will address the gathering and, despite the efforts of moderate groups, the party platform includes support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and criticizes civil-union partnerships.

The Republican National Committee has even left gays and lesbians off its list of outreach efforts, while listed groups include everything from Greek Americans and Lebanese Americans to snowmobilers and homeschoolers.

The Log Cabin Republicans have held off on endorsing Bush’s re-election campaign, and the groups is running a new ad criticizing the party’s anti-gay tactics. But LCR and other moderates are in a tight spot, trying to influence a party that’s clearly not receptive. As Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero said:

“This party has a choice to make, about whether it will be the party of Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger or the party of Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan.”

Unfortunately, it seems to be choosing the latter.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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