Log Cabin letter to GOP platform committee
2004 Republican Platform Committee
Senator William Frist
Governor William Owens
Congresswoman Melissa Hart
Dear Platform Committee Co-Chairs:
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 gay and lesbians who voted for President George W. Bush in 2000. I am writing specifically regarding the Republican Party's platform. We support the vast majority of the language from the Party's 2000 platform, which emphasizes Republican values of limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility and a strong national defense. At the same time, we believe that there are ways to make the Party's 2004 platform more inclusive.
First, we ask that the Party strengthen the platform language it adopted in 2000 recognizing that "diversity is a source of strength, not a sign of weakness, and we welcome into our ranks all who may hold differing positions." Given the current divisive debate over many issues relating to basic fairness for gay and lesbian Americans, particularly in light of the debate over the Federal Marriage Amendment, this language is not sufficient. We ask that the platform's language related to inclusion be strengthened by adopting a Party Unity Plank. The Party Unity Plank reads:
"We recognize and respect that Republicans of good faith may not agree with all the planks in the party's platform. This is particularly the case with regard to those planks dealing with abortion, family planning, and gay and lesbian issues. The Republican Party welcomes all people on all sides of these complex issues and encourages their active participation as we work together on those issues upon which we agree."
Second, we ask that the party not take any position on the question of whether a Constitutional remedy is necessary or appropriate in relation to same-sex marriage. The Senate debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment illustrated the deep divisions that exist among Republicans on this issue. Many Republicans of good faith have expressed deep reservations about a Constitutional amendment. Putting language in the platform about this issue will only further highlight this division during a time the Party should be united.
Third, opinion polls show that close to 80% of Americans support protecting gay and lesbian employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. President Bush himself has restated his commitment to protecting federal employees from such discrimination. Additionally, 18 Republican Senators voted to add sexual orientation to current federal hate crimes protections. Accordingly, we ask that the platform remove the language from the 2000 platform that reads, "For the same reason, we do not believe sexual preference should be given special legal protections or standing in law." Laws prohibiting employment discrimination and laws strengthening criminal penalties for hate crimes cannot be fairly described as "special protections."
Fourth, we ask that the platform fulfill its promise of "Upholding the Rights of All." The platform in 2000 stated that "Equality of individuals before the law has always been a cornerstone of our party." The platform then went on to state "we therefore oppose discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin..." We ask that the platform add "sexual orientation" to this list.
Finally, with our nation at war, now more than ever, we need to make sure that our military preparedness and effectiveness is not jeopardized by a policy that denies gays and lesbians from serving openly and honestly in our military. Today, we know that there are thousands of gays and lesbians serving with distinction in our armed forces helping to win the war on terror. Over 70% of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly and honestly in our military. Accordingly, we ask that the following language from the 2000 platform be removed, "We affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with military service."
This letter serves as our formal written request that our Party show its commitment to the 1,000,000 gay and lesbian voters, their families, and millions of other inclusive Republicans who helped elect President Bush in 2000 by making these changes to the platform.
Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans
cc: Governor Haley Barbour, Chairman of the Subcommittee on "Protecting Our Families"