Are Gay Republican Groups Getting Traction In The GOP?

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At PJ Media, Jordan Michael Smith writes about what seems to be a major shift in the Republican party when it comes to attitudes about gays:

Analysts, pollsters, and Republican insiders believe that the GOP will have to formulate more gay-friendly policies in order to attract a younger generation that is familiar and comfortable with homosexuals. “Young people today have never not known gay people,” says Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud. While older Americans were taught to see gays as deviant and dangerous, few of their grandchildren feel the same way. “The older folks are quite literally dying off,” he said.

No less a figure than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has agreed. “It is in every family. … It is in every community,” he said. “The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period.”

What made Gingrich’s acknowledgement remarkable was that he has a record of deep hostility to the gay community. In December, Gingrich told a gay man during a campaign that he should simply vote for President Barack Obama. “The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors, but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization,” said Gingrich earlier in 2012.

And yet, Log Cabin and similar groups acknowledge that countering the strong social conservative wing of the Republican Party will not be easy. “Certainly it’s a vocal wing, but historically a big tent party,” says Greg Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans. “Republicans win when they emphasize the core ideas of the party: low taxes and strong defense, among other things. They lose with traditional social conservatism.” LaSalvia agrees: “Demonizing gays hurts us with everyone; we need to marginalize that small group of bigots that frankly does exist.”

I’ve been writing about the need for this shift in attitudes among Republicans for some time now. In fact, I’ve never quite understood how state licensing on marriage, state restrictions on the liberty of religious organizations to bless which unions they wish, is in keeping with notions about limited government.

It is difficult for many, especially among the younger generations of Americans, to understand how Republicans can be the party of individual liberty while simultaneously opposing equal treatment under the law for individuals who happen to be homosexual.

The vocal socially conservative wing of the party would argue about the destruction of morality and values that would come with state blessings for gay marriage, but why should that fight be waged in the arena of public policy? Shouldn’t that be an argument for citizens to settle in their churches and other social organizations? Of course, the problem is that the social conservatives are losing the fight. Like it or not, homosexuality is out in the open. Gay marriage is happening in an ever-increasing number of states.

It’s time for Republicans to privatize the gay marriage issue.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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