A Big Tent, Sure—But Not That Big

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

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.


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.