Log Cabin Republicans Open Letter to GOP Chairman Gillespie
Dear Chairman Gillespie:
I am writing on behalf of Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans; including the 1,000,000 gays and lesbians who voted for President George W. Bush in 2000. On a personal note, I write you as a fellow Republican, fellow Catholic and fellow graduate of Catholic University. I write specifically regarding recent anti-gay tactics being employed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) and a number of GOP campaigns. While Log Cabin is busy supporting dozens of fair-minded Republican candidates for House and Senate, as well as numerous inclusive local and state candidates, and working hard to build a sustainable majority party, some in our party and at the RNC are working to knock down the Republican Big Tent. Appealing to people's anti-gay animus as a campaign strategy betrays the legacy of President Ronald Reagan who always sought to appeal to the best hopes of the American people not their worst fears.
The RNC itself has admitted to sending mailers to voters in Arkansas and West Virginia (a copy of which is attached hereto) that seek to equate the recognition of gay and lesbian families with banning the Bible. This dishonest and disgraceful mailing represents a new low in this election cycle.
On Sunday night in South Carolina, we saw another betrayal of the legacy of President Reagan. Republican Senate hopeful Jim DeMint, during a debate with his Democratic opponent Inez Tenenbaum, said that he believes gays and lesbians should be barred from teaching in the public school system (a copy of a news article detailing this is attached hereto). In 1977, Log Cabin was founded after Ronald Reagan courageously opposed the Briggs Initiative, which sought to ban gays and lesbians from teaching in the California public schools.
In Ohio, Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, claims that the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign has asked him to coordinate the effort to write discrimination into the Ohio Constitution (a copy of a letter from Mr. Blackwell is attached hereto). This claim is especially troubling, considering that Mr. Blackwell is the official charged with verifying whether or not the Amendment supporters have gathered the requisite signatures to place it on the November ballot. Like so many state amendments, the proposed Ohio amendment goes much further than simply defining marriage; it specifically seeks to deny civil unions or, indeed, any domestic partner benefits. Such an Amendment runs contrary to what the overwhelming majority of Americans believes. Such an Amendment runs contrary to President Bush's position on this issue, and is opposed by Ohio's Republican Attorney General, Jim Petro.
In North Dakota, Mike Liffrig, our party's U. S. Senate nominee, has run a dishonest and vicious anti-gay television commercial that seeks to play on anti-gay sentiment by mischaracterizing his opponent's position on the Federal Marriage Amendment (the ad can be viewed at his website www.mike4senate.com). Opposing the anti-family FMA is the position embraced by Senator John McCain, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor George Pataki, and Vice President Dick Cheney; all of whom spoke in primetime at the Republican National Convention.
In Florida, Mel Martinez used anti-gay tactics against a fellow Republican in his campaign for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination. Late in his primary race against former Congressman Bill McCollum, Martinez criticized his opponent for supporting hate crimes legislation meant to protect gay and lesbian Americans. Martinez sent out direct mail referring to McCollum's support for hate crimes legislation as appeasing "the radical homosexual lobby." Former Republican Senator Connie Mack (FL) referred to Martinez's accusations as "hate speech."
In August, we wrote to you requesting that the RNC establish an outreach group for gays and lesbians. The RNC website lists 38 separate outreach groups including: Haitian Americans, Conservative Punk, Lebanese Americans, Home Schoolers, and Snowmobilers. No outreach group is provided for the 1,000,000 gays and lesbians who supported our President in 2000.
Finally, gay and lesbian Republicans watched as the Platform Committee drafted a platform that seeks to marginalize gay and lesbian families. The platform language is far out of step with mainstream America. It not only calls for a divisive Constitutional amendment, which bans same-sex civil marriage and civil unions, but also seeks to bar any legal recognition whatsoever for gay and lesbian families. This platform also states that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service." This claim is a slap in the face to the thousands of gays and lesbians who serve with distinction in our military today. This platform is an insult to the millions of fair minded Republicans who make the GOP our nation's majority party.
Chairman Gillespie, you have an obligation as the leader of our party to stand up for the millions of fair-minded Republicans across this country that you are supposed to represent. You have a moral and ethical duty to speak out against the politics of fear and division. Mr. Chairman, there are many important issues that are being debated this election cycle, and using anti-gay scare tactics only serves to distract American voters from the real issues. If you believe, as we do, that the Republican Party truly is the party best equipped to win the war on terror, reform government and strengthen our economy then you should make it clear that there is no room in a legitimate public discourse for this type of fear-mongering.
The American people deserve better, and our Party deserves better.
Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans