Mike Rogers

It works

Filed By Mike Rogers | February 06, 2008 7:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Dan Gurley, Equality NC, homophobic behavior, LGBT community, outing, redemption, Republicans

The Larry Craigs of the world are easy ongoing targets. Despite an arrest in an airport sex sting, he still doesn't get it. And while he tries to change people's thinking by attacking "homosexual activists" and "radicals," his legacy -- in history and punchlines -- will long outlive him.

When warranted, however, our community is very forgiving... in fact, welcoming, even loving. It's in our nature. "Outed" politicians like Jim Kolbe and Steve Gunderson, both GOP former members of Congress, are well respected in the gay and political worlds. Kolbe, who recently left office, enjoys an LGBT fan base from both political parties. Gunderson now serves as head of the prestigious Council on Foundations.

Current elected officials are also coming around. Closeted gay Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Charlie Crist, Florida's closeted Republican governor, has said the effort to amend the state's constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman is a waste of time and money. I suspect that as election day approaches, he will flat-out oppose the amendment -- stay tuned.

And then there's Dan Gurley. I really admire this guy now.

I felt a lot differently about Dan in the fall of 2004 when he was serving at the Republican National Committee as both the National Field Director and Deputy Political Director. In my original post about Dan, I wrote about fliers issued by the RNC that were so homophobic that I could not understand how any self-respecting gay man could hold such a job.

After my report on Dan he left the RNC; the big tent is actually more like a pup tent. And that was the end of the story. Or so I thought.

Dan GurleyThe following May, Dan spoke to Jake Tapper for a GQ article and, although he didn't profess to me my greatest fan, I really admired him for standing up and allowing his story and photograph to be run in what is one of the world's most recognized men's magazines. (The picture of Dan is from the article.)

Again, I thought it was the end of the story. Well, until I started to poke around in something totally unrelated, that is. I admire the folks at Equality North Carolina. They're a good team and they work incredibly hard on the goal of equality for all. I was showing a leader from another state group the NC site when I clicked on the about us section and a listing of the group's Board of Directors. Among those on the page: Dan Gurley.

Is Dan Gurley still a Republican? Is he now a liberal Democrat? Does it matter? Not to me. What I do know is that the bricks on the road to equality can be laid by Democrats, Republicans, Independents and anyone else who wants to help pave the way. Having someone with Dan's experience and political connections on the board of a statewide group is exactly the kind of forward thinking our groups need to do.

I hope some day to meet Dan Gurley. I don't think we'll agree on everything, but I would tell him that having worked as a fund raiser for many years that his board service is among the community's most important work.

People who do bad things deserve to be called out and condemned. People who do good things should be praised and thanked. Thanks to Dan Gurley for his service to our community. It's nice to have him on board in this important struggle.

(Crossposted from BlogActive)


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I would tell him that having worked as a fund raiser for many years that his board service is among the community's most important work.

Fundraising is some of the community's most important work?? Now that is a depressing thought.

This is a great story, Mike. It seems that Dan has turned his considerable skills towards something worthwile for himself and our community.

Nick, what's depressing about fundraising? Activist campaigns don't run on wishes alone!

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | February 6, 2008 9:37 AM

Equality North Carolina is a wonderful organization doing really great work. Its good that Dan is helping them and using his political skills to help the LGBT community.

I realize that fundraising has to be done at some level. But the way that our non-profit organizations are structured today has transformed fundraising from a background activity in the social justice movement into one of the "most important" parts of the LGBT community’s work, and that is depressing.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | February 6, 2008 6:36 PM

Is Dan Gurley still a Republican? Is he now a liberal Democrat? Does it matter? Not to me.

What?! When you have a national Republican Party that's been hijacked by the gay-hating Religious Right, I think it matters greatly whether or not Gurley is a Republican or a Democrat.

Devoting your talents, skills, experience and work hours to an organization that is actively opposing same-sex marriage, non-discrimination legislation, the repeal of DADT, and many other important causes IS IMPORTANT.

I was going to say what Brynn said but then the site shut down - and not just the Religious Right, but the war, tax cuts for the rich, etc., it all matters a lot. This isn't just a game, it's our future.

But anyway, he came out, so pink cupcakes for everyone. :)

Hey now - there are good Republicans. Just usually not ones playing smear the queer. :)