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.
The 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)