I knew what we were in for when Log Cabin Republicans made the decision to issue a qualified endorsement in favor of Mitt Romney for president. Congressman Barney Frank gave us a taste of it this summer, turning abusing gay Republicans into his personal crusade since the Democratic National Convention, with many liberals eager to take up his battle cry of “Uncle Tom.”
I’ve lost track of the number of times I've been called a “Jew for Hitler" since the announcement, and certain "gay rights activists" have gone so far as to threaten physical violence if a Log Cabin Republican dares to show his or her face at a gay bar this weekend. We've even heard rumors of a bounty.
As too often happens, the bullied have become bullies themselves. The irony is that many of these same individuals often demand to know how Log Cabin Republicans can stand to be part of a political party that “hates” us.
Thankfully, there are also many in our community who, though they may disagree with our position, do recognize that bipartisan effort is necessary to winning equality for all. No matter who is in the White House, it is crucial that our community always has a credible voice speaking out on behalf of LGBT Americans. Log Cabin Republicans will be that voice to President Mitt Romney.
Image: Log Cabin Republicans
But while we considered many factors in our deliberations, the response from our critics was not one of them. Simply by being LGBT Republicans, there are some people we know we will never please -– no matter how many GOP votes we secured to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or how strong of a stand we take for the freedom to marry.
Our priorities were to represent our membership, further our mission of building a more inclusive Republican Party, and above all, stand for what we believe is in our nation’s best interests. We are proud Republicans, and we are proudly pro-equality, but we are proud to be Americans first. Especially after the economic crisis of the last four years, it is our firm conviction that the United States is in dire need of new leadership, leadership that Governor Romney is well suited to provide.
Observing the onslaught of hostility, it is apparent that too many in the LGBT community are laboring under a misperception of who Governor Romney is. As we said in our endorsement statement, Mitt Romney is not Rick Santorum.
Mitt Romney is the candidate who, when asked in a primary debate last year, "when's the last time you stood up and spoke out for increasing gay rights?" answered, "right now."
Mitt Romney is the candidate who, as a moderate governor of Massachusetts, appointed several openly gay individuals as judges and said "he has not paid a moment's notice to his nominees' ... sexual orientation."
Mitt Romney is the candidate who has campaigned on his record as a successful businessman and problem-solver, and whose aversion to running on social issues leaves antigay leaders like Maggie Gallagher frothing with frustration: "gay marriage should be helping put Romney in the White House. Instead, in his consultant-tested messaging, Romney is conveying discomfort with his own position," she recently wrote.
Contrary to the irresponsible claims of certain activists, Governor Romney has no intention of reinstating "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" or stopping same-sex partners from being able to visit their loved ones in the hospital. Far from a fire-breathing ideologue, Governor Romney is somebody we can work with to improve the lives of LGBT Americans, including on the vital issue of workplace discrimination. And beyond specifically LGBT concerns, Governor Romney has a plan to restart our economy and put America back to work -– something that will benefit us all.
We know this to be true because Log Cabin Republicans know Mitt Romney. We’ve spoken to the man, and worked with his campaign to make this endorsement something more than just a press release, something based on the promise of actual, tangible results if the governor is elected. In response to our endorsement, a campaign spokesperson said, "Gov. Romney is pleased to have the support of the Log Cabin Republicans and looks forward to working together for the future of our country." That is hardly the reaction of an avowed homophobe.
Governor Romney is not perfect -- we know that, and the qualified nature of our endorsement reflects that reality. On the issue of marriage equality, his stated position is offensive to us both as LGBT people and as conservatives who value our nation’s Constitution.
But Log Cabin Republicans believe we should never make the perfect the enemy of the good. We encourage all Americans, especially members of the LGBT community, to get beyond the caricatures, the memes, and the myths. Before you call us crazy –- or worse -- take a moment to try and see what we see. It may surprise you.
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