Log Cabin Honors Inclusive Congressional Allies at DC Event
Five GOP Members of Congress Speak About Fairness for Gay and Lesbian Americans
(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin members from across America gathered in the nation's capital Thursday night to honor inclusive GOP allies in Congress. Log Cabin recognized Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), Congresswoman Mary Bono (R-CA), Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT).
Congresswoman Deborah Pryce, chief Republican co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which will come before a vote in the U.S. House this summer, said the bill "is going to pass." She said, "To allow discrimination in the workplace is antithetical to what Republicans are as a Party." ENDA would expand current law banning workplace discrimination to include sexual orientation.
Senator Gordon Smith, who is leading the fight in the U.S. Senate for hate crimes legislation, spoke about the importance of the bill. "We've got to stop talking about hate crimes [legislation] and pass it," he said. "This issue isn't going away and it's growing more important all the time." The bill has already passed the House and the Senate is expected to vote on the issue before its August recess.
Smith also urged gay and lesbian Americans to work with the Republican Party, saying "Democrats take you for granted. [Republicans] need you."
Congresswoman Mary Bono spoke about the future of the GOP and encouraged gay and lesbian Republicans to stay loyal to the Party. "We have an opportunity right now to re-define the soul of the Republican Party. The Party is trying to find out who we are again."
Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen highlighted the importance of ending the "Don't ask, Don't tell" law. "We've got to make sure the military has the personnel it needs." Ros-Lehtinen urged passage of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act so that thousands of gay and lesbian service members with valuable skills are able to serve openly and honestly. "America is suffering from a shortage of linguists," she told the Log Cabin crowd.
Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays thanked Log Cabin members for not letting certain segments of the Party set the agenda. "The centerpiece of the Republican Party should be tolerance," he said.
"These members of Congress represent the Republican Party's future," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "We thank them for standing up as strong advocates for basic fairness and equality. Log Cabin is proud to support them and work with them to return our Party to its core unifying principles."
Sammon told the crowd, "History will remember those who stood up to do the right thing. Explaining a tough vote during the next election is easy compared to explaining the wrong vote to the next generation."