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Log Cabin Republicans Ad Asks RNC to Consider Marriage Equality

by Steffany Skelley Gilmer
Contributor
Wednesday Sep 5, 2012
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The Log Cabin Republicans and Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry called upon the GOP for LGBT marriage equality during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, only to have their plea fall upon deaf ears. So using the Tampa Tribune newspaper as their platform, the conservative-based LGBT groups placed a full-page color ad on August 29, which featured photos of same-sex couples with their families, and the tagline, "Family values means valuing ALL families."

They asked the GOP to include gay and lesbian families in its vision for the critical role of marriage and families in our society. In the ad, the groups further emphasized their view that the freedom to marry is directly in line with the core ideals and principals of the Republican Party, by cleverly co-opting a recent quote from Tony Perkins, the president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, which reads, "The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation."

"Gay or straight, Republicans are united in the belief that strong families are critical to a free society," said LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper. "As fellow conservatives, Log Cabin Republicans actually agree with Tony Perkins about the importance of family values. The difference is, we believe that the freedom to marry is directly in line with the core ideals and principles of the Republican Party -- less government, more individual freedom, personal responsibility and the importance of family."

In order to further bring together the key demographic in their new campaign, the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry and Log Cabin Republicans hosted a complimentary brunch, which was emceed by Margaret Hoover, a CNN contributor and political strategist. Notable attendees included former Congressman Jim Kolbe, Maryland State Senator Allan Kittleman and Andrew Langer, president of the Institute for Liberty, who also spoke at the event.

In addition to the brunch, the Young Conservative leaders sent a letter to the Platform Committee in August asking it to resist adding language opposing the freedom of same-sex couples to marry.

"I applaud the efforts of Freedom to Marry, a progressive organization, and Log Cabin Republicans in making the LGBT case during the Republican National Convention," Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin told EDGE. "No civil rights organization achieves its goals without bipartisan support."

Recently launched by Freedom to Marry, the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry is a new campaign to spotlight and increase support for conservatives in the United States who are speaking out on why marriage matters to same-sex couples and their families.

"The center of political gravity has shifted for good," said Freedom to Marry’s National Campaign Director Marc Solomon of the campaign. "The freedom to marry is fast becoming a bipartisan value embraced by all Americans who believe that love and commitment deserve support and protection. Freedom to Marry applauds this group of young conservatives for standing up to make the case."

"The center of political gravity has shifted for good," said Freedom to Marry’s Marc Solomon. "The freedom to marry is fast becoming a bipartisan value embraced by all Americans who believe that love and commitment deserve support and

The Log Cabin Republicans claim to be the nation’s only organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom and equality for gay and lesbian Americans. They have state and local chapters nationwide, full-time staff in Washington, D.C., a federal political action committee and state political action committees. These efforts have already yielded results.

"With lobbying by the Log Cabin Republicans, we garnered enough Republican U.S. Senate votes to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT)," said Lazin. "Log Cabin Republicans support our equality, are fiscally conservative and are our voice in the Republican Party. While one does not need to embrace their politics, we should be grateful for their efforts."

The Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry and the Log Cabin Republicans aren’t alone in their fight against the current, narrow-minded Republican standpoint.

"Although we differ on many policy issues and most political choices, I have great respect for Clarke Cooper and the work being done by the LCR," Florida Together Executive Director Michael Kenny told EDGE. "I don’t believe we will achieve equality without engaging all segments of American Society. The Log Cabin Republicans are courageously working to change heart and minds within the Republican Party, a vital demographic that presents immense hurdles but at the same time, for too long, some within the equality movement have been reluctant to engage."

Nationally, several polls also show that younger conservatives are increasingly for marriage equality. Freedom to Marry’s website claims that according to the Public Religion Research Institute Survey "Generations at Odds: The Millennial Generation and the Future of Gay and Lesbian Rights," nearly half (49 percent) of Republican Millennials favor allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, compared to only 19 percent of Republican seniors and less than one-third (31 percent) of all Republicans.

According to a CBS News Poll from May 2012, 53 percent of 18 to 44-year-olds who participated in the poll said same-sex couples should be granted full marriage rights.

In spite of the efforts of the Log Cabin Republicans and Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry to make the Republican Party more inclusive of LGBT American citizens, the party voted its official 2012 platform to affirm "the rights of states and the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriage." The official platform also calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

If the Republicans are elected and their anti-LGBT laws are enacted, every legally married LGBT couple in the U.S.A. would have their marriages invalidated. In an August 31 media statement, Nadine Smith of Equality Florida admonished the Republican Party for remaining so steadfastly out-of-touch.

"We held out hope that pro-equality voices might temper the more extreme discriminatory elements within the GOP," said Smith. "Instead, we witnessed first-hand the Republican Party embrace a stunningly hostile platform that would be disastrous to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, our children and all women everywhere."

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