The following piece has just been published in the Washington Blade
Last week in Forbes magazine, Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, wrote that young voters deserve better. We’ll take that one giant leap forward: all Americans deserve better.
Chairman Priebus talks about our growing national debt and high unemployment. He makes a strong case, focusing on a clear message of jobs, pro-growth policies and a 2012 campaign that capitalizes on the technology and networks that reach younger voters.
What Priebus doesn’t say is conspicuous by its absence. The 2012 campaign is about the economy, creating jobs and rejecting Obama’s failed policies. Nowhere does the chairman mention the social issues that many polls show turn off moderates, independents and voters under 40, and for good reason. The GOP can win younger voters in 2012. We absolutely can take back the White House — but we won’t do it unless we stay focused on the issues that unite us as Republicans and as Americans.
Priebus’s actions show even greater promise than his words. In recent months, Priebus has invited the Log Cabin Republicans to participate in activities aimed at growing the party. In June, to the chagrin of the Family Research Council, Priebus named Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Clarke Cooper to its finance committee. Cooper is playing a critical role there in raising funds for the party’s efforts to elect Republicans to the White House and across the country.
As we are discovering each day, there are moderate and conservative Republicans all over the country who are coming to the realization that inclusion does win and increasingly agree with Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement that, “I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”
We’re lucky to have true pioneers in our own country like the “New York Four” — Jim Alesi, Mark Grisanti, Roy McDonald and Steve Saland — the four Republican state senators who voted for marriage equality, and Maryland state Sen. Allan Kittleman, who did the same in the Free State. In the upcoming battle in North Carolina, Rep. Renee Ellmers opposes the amendment to the North Carolina Constitution banning recognition of same-sex couples that will be on the ballot in May 2012.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has become the first Republican to co-sponsor the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act — a law signed by President Clinton, a fair weather friend if ever there was one. With Republicans who support inclusion, we get true friends: people who will do the right thing regardless of the vagaries of the latest polls.
Our true Republican friends are multiplying each year. This is due, in part, to Priebus. His vision for our party is one where the principles of equality for all are a given. The Rick Santorums of the party are going the way of the dinosaurs (when you try to fight Google bombs, you’re losing). Each day we are seeing an increase in those within the party who both offer us a seat at the table and defend us when we’re slandered.
While the gay left recites yesterday’s talking points, we will continue to be involved, stay active and work to change hearts and minds one voter at a time. Conservative gay activism will not so much defeat the left as transcend it.
The Log Cabin Republicans look forward to supporting candidates in 2012 and beyond who believe in the conservative principles of fiscal responsibility, a confident foreign policy and individual liberty — core values that unite us as a party and as Americans.
Robert Turner is President of the DC Chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, and can be reached at email@example.com