Guest Blogger

An Elephant Doesn't Fit in a Closet

Filed By Guest Blogger | June 22, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: gay Republicans, gay rights, GOP, GOProud, Log Cabin Republicans, Matt Salmon, republican party

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Matt R. Salmon is an ASU Graduate with a Bachelor's in Psychology. He works in clinical research and is the chairman of the Arizona Log Cabin Republicans.

Matt_Salmon.jpgIn newspapers and blogs, on television and the Internet we are constantly bombarded by the idea that being gay automatically means we must choose the Democratic Party and all Republicans are basically anti-gay. I understand that Republicans do not have the greatest track record on gay issues, but times are changing. The basic tenants of the Republican Party support gays and all of their rights and change is inevitable, but will take some hard work.

Several years ago I was a young, scared boy and I knew that I was gay, but growing up in a staunch Republican family was one more strong reason I could not be. At least, that is what I was taught by family, friends and the media. Somehow though, I do not think life was ever meant to be guided by the instructions found in a "Build Your Own Adventure" book. Where in life does it say at the bottom of the page:

"If you decide to be gay, you are democrat - turn to page 37."
"If you decide to be straight, you can be anything - turn to page 12 for independent, 25 for republican, 37 for democrat..."?


I have often heard people say, "I just don't get the idea of gay Republicans." Personally, as one who has grown up as a gay man in a Republican family, I don't understand why more of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community are not Republican.

I was recently reviewing the core ideals of the Republican Party: limited government, individual freedom, personal responsibility, strong national defense and free market economy and all of those basics support equality for GLBT individuals. Here's why:

A limited government would keep the government out of restricting the right to marry from one person to another. Many individuals within the party have lost sight of what a limited government truly means, it is time to bring it back.

Individual freedom promotes the ideas of "life (to live it as we choose), liberty (so our choices are not limited), and the pursuit of happiness (to live it with whom we choose)" promised all Americans in the Declaration of Independence. All people should be allowed the privilege of making their own decisions where they do not infringe upon the same privilege of another.

Personal responsibility allows every person the ability to support themselves and the ones they love, i.e. adoption, hospital rights, legal rights.

A strong national defense would only be stronger from those GLBT men and women with integrity openly serving and honoring their loved ones and country.

A free market economy protects all business owners from government intervention.

To date, the Republican Party, as a whole, has not done much for equality, but what more have the Democratic congress and executive branch done? It seems they continuously make empty promises, which hurt those they promise to protect.

To be Republican is not to be anti-gay, nor is it necessarily socially conservative, and it is time for the community to open its mind and begin to allow people to be individuals. There are an increasing number of prominent members of the Republican Party coming out as supporters of equal rights for all, such as Laura Bush and Cindy McCain. Yet, it is no wonder that many people feel that they cannot be both, and that those who are both are anomalies, when they are constantly told that Democrats are pro-gay and Republicans are anti-gay. I have grown tired of it.

Gays who are former Republicans often ask me how I can be a Republican as a gay man, to which I reply, "We are different. You see something you do not like and so you change your party. I see something I do not like and I work to bring about change from within."

I am proudly gay and proudly Republican. After all, an elephant just doesn't fit in a closet.


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So, if LGBT vote Republican, we get Mitch McConnell and Boehner as our two leaders in Congress. If you can explain how that would be a good situation for LGBT rights, I'll switch my party registration right now! In the meantime, lets recognize the Republican Party as the reactionary discriminatory organization that it is.


As an aside, while Democrats may be moving A LOT slower on things that we like, your article would be more honest if it recognized the numerous things that Dems have done for the LGBT community over the repeated and vehement opposition of Republicans.


Thanks,

limited government: you mean the kind of limited government that exerts no regulatory oversight over our food, environment or working conditions? No thanks.

individual freedom: show me one example where the Republican party stands up for anyone's individual freedom except when it means imposing their own religous views on everyone else. That, and the freedom to stockpile weapons.

personal responsibility: make the Boards and Executives of large corporations personally responsible, and I'll believe this is actually a tenant of the Republican Party. until then, it's just a sound bite.

strong national defense: the kind of "strong" defense that got us into the quagmire of iraq and afghanistan? or the kind of "strong" defense that make millions for the military-industrial complex? I prefer dimplomacy.

free market economy: there is no such thing. nothing is free. What this usually means is that the rich skim off all the profit, and leave the other 95% of us to deal with the consequences of their pollution, mountain top removals and, yes, oil spills.

Personally, I don't question why gays are Republicans. I question why ANYONE is.

core ideals of the Republican Party: limited government, individual freedom, personal responsibility, strong national defense and free market economy

Really? I can't think of more than a handful of Republican politicians who actually support any of those. Please be honest about what Republicans believe before trying to sell those beliefs.

It is a nice story, Matt. But, it is only part of the story. The goal of declaration of independence was to provide the freedoms you mentioned to white, male, landowners. From the outset the moneyed class pitted the interests of the slave, the poor white, and the indigenous population against each other so as to secure freedom from rebellion and dissent. The Republicans and Democrat still cater to the interests of the moneyed class. The republicans are just more brazen in how they do it - witness the latest hate screed to come out of the Texas GOP.

While we're talking about personal responsibility I need only mention two letters, "BP".

For the interests of most people in the LGBT communities to be best served we'd be better off as Greens or Democratic Socialists.

While I disagree with the author on his apparent philosophy of government and choice of party affiliation, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that LGBTs must be a part of the Republican party for real advancements to be made.

Only when both parties don't fear politcal fallout, will political opposition to LGBT equality fade away.

An even colder political rationale: only Nixon could go to China.

The reason only Nixon could go to China is that Nixon and his ilk (McCarthy and Cohn) spent their careers creating the atmosphere of fear that prohibited others from persuing a more rational policy. That's like giving credit to the firefighter who is the first on the scene, overlooking that it's only because he set the fire.

It took me years to formulate that response to that political truism.

As anyone who reads or listens to my stuff knows, I'm among the first to call out Democrats when they fail us as they so often do, but to try to equate them with the GOP on LGBT issues is beyond ludicrous.

At least the Demos don't issue state party platforms calling for making our very existences felonies ala the Texas GOP.

The Dems make a lot of promises to us and fail to keep them, but at least they make the attempt to protect us in other ways. Republicans stand firmly against our equality under the law and do everything within their power to oppress us and make our lives harder.

The people who contribute and post here live in the real world Mr. Salmon. We read the newspapers and we keep track of what goes on in DC and in state legislatures. We're much too smart to buy BS platitudes from either party, particularly when all of the facts lead us to a completely opposite conclusion.

Go peddle your snake oil elsewhere, sir. You won't find any buyers here.

I agree with many ideas presented in this article. LGBTs people need to be more open to and willing to participate in the Republican Party. Having all our eggs in one basket oftentimes means we are taken for granted. People should be more responsible because government cannot fix everything, and call me selfish but I like keeping most of the money I earn. I give anyone credit willing to work within a tradionally anti-gay party to change it from the inside out for the better.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 22, 2010 11:57 AM

Boycott both parties this Novemeber.

"Many individuals within the party have lost sight of what a limited government truly means, it is time to bring it back."

I think the Republican party has lost sight of many of the ideals of which you speak. You cannot sell a party that you wish existed. The Republican Party has done an admirable job of courting votes with these ideals even though they do little with them in practice.

Perhaps the best thing you could do for your Republican ideals, Mr. Salmon is to not support the Republican Party. Once they realize the bait-and-switch isn't working, they will have to change their tune and actually practice what they preach in order to get elected.

As of now, you are merely an enabler to continuing discrimination and oppression of LGBT Americans.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 22, 2010 12:50 PM

"As of now, you are merely an enabler to continuing discrimination and oppression of LGBT Americans.

I'm curious Dan. I've said much the same thing about LGBT Democrats who continue to support an anti-same sex bigot like Obama or a backstabbing transphobic bigots like Barney Frank, but you didn't. Why is that?

Is it simply for partisan reasons? Or do you really believe that one hustling lesser evil candidate is better than another?

Republican party leaders openly call us faggots.

Democrat party leaders call us faggots after we leave the room and give us some crumbs.

I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion ... I want the full menu of rights. Desmond Tutu

Spot on! Best remarks yet..... out of a slew of 60+ worthless and robotic comments.

"I was recently reviewing the core ideals of the Republican Party: limited government...strong national defense"

Those two things always seemed kind of contradictory to me.

Agreed. How does limited government coincide with the largest defense budgets in history? We spend more on our military than the next top 10 nations combined- and many of them are our allies. With our country constantly focused on threats abroad, our civil liberties erode at home, which directly impacts our ability to live our lives freely. Queer people should be pro-peace and anti-war not only for the sake of the thousands who will die as a result, but also for our struggle for freedom here in America.

I one read George Lakoff's Moral Politics, which explores the different thinking for Progressive and Conservative thinkers. So while people like myself or Alex don't understand the conservative concepts, they do work within the conservative mindset.

I bring this up because a conservative or liberal identity is part of a person's core. It is within our families, much like religion. Does our expereinces change how we view things, asbolutely. But for some people they, they remain within their roots because it is how they see the world. I agree with the author that they should be free to express themselves.

I know for myself, I've often jokes that my parents are fine with me being gay, but if I became a Republican they would disown me. My liberal roots come from my family and have shaped how I view the world for a long time now. How can we ask someone else to flip a switch and change how they view poltics? I am all for challenging thoughts and I hope mine are challenged back. These arguments (with respect) can help grow the conversation.

We also need people working on the other side and not work only with Democrats. Many rebublican polotics are individually gay friendly within thier personal lives, but vote against to appease their base. But having more open people as part of the constituates might change the field. Who knows.

Matt Salmon's list sounds a bit like a libertarian manifesto. At least it's logically consistent. But there is no such Republican Party. I'm sure there are Republicans who claim to uphold those tenets [sic], but on the ground I don't see anything like that in action.

I am assuming that Alex was too modest to provide the link to the article he just wrote yesterday pointing out how the Texas Republican party at least feels about gay ppl, so here is the link:

http://www.bilerico.com/2010/06/the_texas_gop_cares_about_more_than_just_banning_m.php

In my experience, the beliefs and actions of Republicans in general are aligned with the Texas platform, whether or not they actually write it down.

Republicans seem to be against government interference when it comes to the rights of ppl to make money or own guns or practice Christian religion or minority rights, but are all for it when it applies to transferring funds to business or enforcing conservative social values.

I do agree that having gay ppl involved in the Republican party is a good thing, though, because it has been consistently shown that meeting and associating with gay ppl lessens homophobia.

Also, since Republicans seem to in general be constituitive hypocrites, they will allow gay Republican groups such as GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans to be involved if they poney up some funds (as at CPAC), so that gives an in to representation of gay ppl in Republican circles.

I no langer have much love for the Democtatic party either, and likely won't vote for any of them this fall, but it is certain I am not voting for the likes Dan Burton, even in protest of the shabby way we have been treated by the Demos.

Best wishes in your endeavors, you seem very sincere and well-intentioned!

Carol :)

I have but one thing to say on this subject.

Follow this link : http://wakingupnow.com/blog/texas-gop-proudly-following-uganda

You summed it up very nicely Jeff, and to Mr. Salmon, I call your attention to the Texas GOP Platform. That is not limited government. That is government right up in my personal business. Please do some research prior to posting such misguided statements.

I am curious. Is Mr. Salmon a Christian? Maybe a Mormon, like his Father?

Members of the Republican Party are twice as likely to be religious. The members of each party (and their beliefs) define the party as much as their stated ideals.

Plus, you used the word "choice" so often, I'd like to know if you believe being gay is a "choice?" Is it a sin?

Archwright | June 22, 2010 12:42 PM

The republican party will not accept GLBT issues until the "Moral Majority" and "Religious Right" are removed.

It's always nice to hear from a delusional young whipper-snappers who drink large quantities of Kool-Aid.

Matt, you live in Arizona. Does the words, "Papers, please" ring a bell? You can thank your "non-discriminatory" GOP cohorts for that one.

Does the name "John McCain" come to mind. He gave us Sarah Palin, one of the most hateful person toward LGBT people on the planet (short of Uganda and Iran.) Johnny boy is not far behind her. And, he's getting worst because he has to fight J.D. Hayworth.

Phoenix is the largest city in the country that doesn't have a law protecting LGBT city workers. You can thank Republicans for that. AND, it's the second largest city in the country that doesn't have a non-discrimination law protect ALL LGBT people. (Houston is 1st in that category, but they have one for city employees.) Tucson does have a non-discrimination law for all it's citizens, because Democrats voted for it. Gee, go figure.

If you lived in California or Massachusetts, your explication might hold a little water. (Very little.) But, since you live in one of the most politically hateful states for ANY MINORITIES, your credibility is shot. Republicans FUBAR'ed Arizona to the point of no return. If you want to be part of the Hate Party, knock yourself out. Just don't expect true progressive people to buy what you're selling. That dog won't hunt here.

The last good Republican from AZ was Goldwater. He said, "You don't have to be straight to shoot straight." You think you'll ever hear that from McCain?

Chitown Kev | June 22, 2010 12:57 PM

Insofar as some...OK, many of the Democrats in thew House, Senate, and the White House you may be right but don't forget about the Dems at ther state and local levels that have secured basic civil rights for their LGBT citizens.

While there are a few Republicans at ther state and local levels that have helped, more often the local and state Republicans are even wingnuttier than the ones in the House and the Senate.

Having said all of that, I agree with the other posters that we need BOTH parties

I will have to say that where I live the Dems do often save us from changes for the worse (such as the one-man-one-woman constitutional amendment our state Repubs want), even if they rarely craft any change for the better. So those I may vote for, I am jsut not going to give support to Dems anymore based on hope, promises, or rationalizing ("Well, at least htey aren't as bad as their Repub opponent...").

I have changed my opinion on this greatly this year based on how the Dems have performed versus their promises. As far as I am concerned, we whould should stop supporting Dems based on hope, promises, and rationalizing, and let them know that they can't count on us unless we can count on them.

Yes, yes, I know, then the Repubs will get in and put us all in concentration camps. However, as the Repubs have shown over the last year-and-a-half, a minority party can pretty effectively prevent things with which they don't agree from happening. Although I feel they are quite evil opposing everything based purely on partisan politics, at least they have the guts and the organizational skills to do it, unlike the Dems who rolled over for pretty much every single fucking thing that Bush and the Repubs wanted when they were in power.

Obama isn't our ally. Ried and Pelosi aren't our allies. And Barney Frank *sure* as fuck isn't our ally. And these are supposed to be our best hopes? So we start with these losers, and work our way down to the Blue Dogs who are essentially part of the Republican party.

It isnt working folks, time to do something different. I like the approach that NCLR is taking (litigation) and yes, GetEqual (agitation). We aren't getting anywhere with waiting for pols to legislate things by gently pushing (the HRC approach).

"To date, the Republican Party, as a whole, has not done much for equality, but what more have the Democratic congress and executive branch done? It seems they continuously make empty promises, which hurt those they promise to protect."

Sorry, I'm choking on vomit to hear these LCR talking points repeated...ANY progress we've ever made has been democrat initiated and mostly domocrat accomplished...the rethugs have more than "not done much" for LGBT people, they ACTIVELY attempt to harm and legislate against us. While we may have many struggles ahead and rights yet to win, it is of NO thanks to the republican party for any progress we have made.

As has already been stated, your talking points no longer reflect or describe any recognizable republican party, perhaps you are 'trans-partied', a libertarian trapped in a republican's body.

Sorry, but were you in diapers during the 8 Bush/Cheney years? I wasn't, and that hellish period of our history is still fresh in my mind. In any case, I hope you wise up, and soon, because your LGBT brothers and sisters no longer have much tolerance for our fellow gays trapped under the delusional influence of the republican party...Gays who would aid and assist those rethugs who wish to do us harm will find little support in the larger LGBT community, and deservedly so.

JonathonEdwards | June 22, 2010 2:08 PM

Wrong on two major counts.

1) The Republican Party Mr. Salmon describes only exists in his mind and in the party's PR materials. In fact, the Republican Party wants big government as evidenced by their desire to regulate private morality and to support a defense budget that eats up 60-70% of every tax dollar and a defense department that is the largest employer in the country. They do not want individual freedom. They do not support a free market, they just want their bits of it free. Etc. Everyone reading this knows the list. Even Mr. Salmon, I suspect, is troubled by cognitive dissonance in his attempt to hold A and not-A as both being true. But to me, and more importantly...

2) No. If you're gay, you have no right to belong to a party that actively works against your brothers' and sister's interests. None. You don't have the right to vote for a homophobic candidate, donate money to a party with a homophobic platform. If you do, then you're a traitor. Plain and simple. No better than the George Rekers of the world, no matter how pretty you might dress it up, wrap it in the mantle of Amurican ideals of personal choice, you just become a hypocrite and an enemy of your own people. At best, you enable our enemies. At worst, an enemy yourself.

Mr. Salmon and others like him think that party loyalty or "conservative values" (whatever the hell they are - I think it basically means adultery and greed from what I can see) somehow trumps tribal loyalty. It does not.

They also seem to think that there are only two choices in the political sphere. There are other parties, but more importantly, tribal loyalty, I think, demands NO party loyalty. Those who support us get the money and the votes. Those who don't, don't. And right now, neither party passes muster and loyalty to my tribe means neither get my votes in November unless something changes.

The word you seek in point number 2 is "Quisling."

While I appreciate your intent to change the Republican party (and encourage you to continue to do so), you should focus your energies there instead of on encouraging LGBT people to vote for them. The Republican party, as the latest Texas GOP platform shows, is a force for bigotry and oppression, not LGBT liberation. Yes, the party desperately needs to change (and as you point out the Democrats have a lot of work to do too), but that does not mean we should vote for them. The real tool for accountability would be to build a vibrant and insistent progressive third party. Then, we could hold both parties accountable as swing voters and gain a national platform for our views. Perhaps your upbringing has blinded you to the other damaging parts of the Republican platform too. It's not good for GLBT people when our country invades other lands- our civil liberties fall by the wayside. If you support Republicans (or warmongering Democrats), you are setting our struggle back by decades. Continue to push for Republicans to heed their better angels, but keep your efforts there- not in convincing LGBT people to vote for the very monsters who wish to lock them in jail. How a gay person could look objectively at their situation in society and think "I should vote for the party that endorsed segregation and wants to criminalize me" is kind of pathological and filled with self-hatred. It's high time for a progressive third party to hold everyone accountable and push forward an agenda of inclusiveness, peace, and shared prosperity.

The Republican party is not the party of limited government, they're the party of big government. Every damn time they get in office they increase the size of the thing. Republicans fail on every level.

Oh, and as for why I can't support them, let's compare two politicians in my area, Michele Bachmann and Al Franken. Franken writes in his books about how he will stand up to discrimination in all its forms and support civil rights, Bachmann calls homosexuality an identity disorder.

I would much rather go with the man who actually introduces pro-LGBT bills, than the party of "no."

It is very simple for me leaving the Republican party behind. yes the core principles in writing do sound like something that we can support. But the fact is that the RP has been hijacked by the Christian right wing and though the core values may be reasonable the applications have become a parade of special pleading.
The fantasy RP embraced by the Log Cabin folks is a straw man. I am forced to live in a real world where Republicans are attacking me, my friends and my family. I simply am intent on protecting us and that means resisting the Republican agenda.

Also, just to respond to your assertion that "prominent members of the Republican Party coming out as supporters of equal rights for all, such as Laura Bush and Cindy McCain"- notice that these are not the policymakers and the people we actually elect. Nor do these folks make these statements as part of their campaigns- it is after the fact when they have no political power. These people are pro-gay in theory, not practice. Not only that, they stand idly by as their homophobic spouses wreak havoc on our community. For shame!

Let's see John McCain supposedly has a Aide that is gay. But has that helped the LGBT cause any? John still says NO to the repeal of DADT. And we all know his stance on same sex marriage in the State of Arizona. The only support we get from McCain is from his wife and daughter and they haven't been able to sway him.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 22, 2010 3:26 PM

If Dennis is going to vomit every time someone in the GLBT communities lambasts the bigot and bigot panderers who run the Democrat Party I fear for his health. Better lay in a supply of electrolytes and plan on checking into an ER on Election Day eve.

What the Democrats have to worry about is not the LCR but the that fact that hundreds of thousands of us have figured out that Democrats and Republicans are backstabbers.

Dennis asks "Sorry, but were you in diapers during the 8 Bush/Cheney years? I wasn't, and that hellish period of our history is still fresh in my mind.

Dennis, where were you when Clinton championed ande signed the two most anti-GLBT laws in American history, DADT and DOMA? Were you off planet in 1996 when Clinton rushed to sign DOMA so he could run this ad on redneck radio:

"Protecting religious freedom. It's the foundation of our nation.

When the Justice Department went after a church to gather the parishioners' tithing money, the government was stopped cold because President Clinton overturned the government's policy and protected us. It's not the only time he's defended our values…

President Clinton wants a complete ban on late term abortions except when the mother's life is in danger or faces severe health risks, such as the inability to have another child.

The President signed the Defense of Marriage Act, supports curfews and school uniforms to teach our children discipline.

President Clinton has fought for our values and America is better for it.

"Paid for by Clinton/Gore 96"

I'm raising these questions not to defend the illusions of young Republicans like Salmon. He deserves all the criticism he's getting and then some. Rather, I'm questioning the illusions of Democrats like you. Politically, you're his identical twin.

Matt, I favor the principles of the GOP on defense and fiscal matters in general but let's get real here. Individual Republicans may be friends to gays but the party most definitely is not and never has been. A good recent example of this is the Texas GOP Platform. They're championing sodomy laws again? Really? Give me break. There's nothing about small government or liberty in that. If the controversial passages in their Platform had been about race, religion or gender there would be a HUGE explosion against the GOP for this but because it involves teh gheys we're supposed to ignore it as being nothing? Uh...no. I expect that the GOP will change one day yet it be long after DADT, DOMA, ENDA, etc. are resolved and that day hasn't arrived yet. Besides, even on matters that I favor the GOP on they have ignored their own principles they claim to believe in. I do not trust the Democrats nor agree with them on much yet I've been given no reason whatsoever to have any faith in the GOP either. No, methinks I'll stick with being a conservative-leaning Independent and pick the best candidate overall in each election.

Matt R. Salmon | June 22, 2010 3:32 PM

None of you have said anything I don't already know. All of you who claim to be a part of a group of open minded individuals show yourself to be more close minded than any other. How can you sit there and champion progressivism when you laugh at it at it's roots?

Are you a group of people that doesn't believe in change? Have you lost so much faith in yourselves or in your "brothers and sisters" that you believe they can positively affect change?

Are you so close minded that you judge from your high horse those who think that they can make a difference? I may not be able to effectively do much on my own, but I am smart enough to realize that it takes more than just democrats to effectively get things done around here.

Those of you who judge me because of my state or because of my parents or their religion....do you look at yourselves for the hypocrites you are? To sit there and tell me that I must be so religiously close minded and simple because of my state of origin or my family background is like saying I am "punished for the sins of my fathers". Can we point fingers at your how religious and small minded that sounds? We can't all live in white washed sepulchers my friends...I do choose to live in the real world. I live in a world where I can live with integrity, honesty and authenticity and unlike those of you who merely think with the majority, I have my own thought.

I realize that the religious right has a great stronghold on the Republican Party, that needs to change. But if we sit and scoff at the Republican Party when will it change? It takes individuals to make change and it must be done from the inside.

You sit and support a party that is using you for power and you don't see it. I know democrats who lie about their sexuality just to get the gay vote. Is that any better than lying to get the religious vote?

Give your people more credit...give the gays, lesbians and transgendered people more credit, your brothers and sisters. It isn't the dems who get things done...it is us, and it's time we all work together instead of fight and call names. Let's be intelligent and open minded rather than shut down anyone who tries to offer an opinion other than our own. If we want a better government, we have to work to make one...not just roll over and take it and then cry about it later.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 22, 2010 3:44 PM

An F for bad politics, an F for partisanship at the expense of the LGBT communities and an F for bad use of an analogy "roll over and take it and then cry about it later".

I really don't know what this diatribe has to do with the fact that the platform you spelled out is not that of the actual Republic Party.

I'll ignore most of your comment (you do realize that open-minded and progressive people are allowed to disagree with you, don't you? I mean, being open-minded doesn't just mean that we have to nod along to any argument, no matter what we believe). But this stands out:

I know democrats who lie about their sexuality just to get the gay vote.

Do you have names and proof? That sounds like a great blog post, but unless there's proof I wouldn't be willing to write it!

I like how you didn't actually respond to ANY of the points raised against you. Instead you pull up these BS pseudo arguments "Oh, see you're not open minded cuz you don't agree with me!" as if that proves you right and your opposition wrong. Guess what? It doesn't.

You've repeatedly said that "Republicans haven't done much for LGBT". No. It isn't just that they "haven't done much" (more accurately, have barely done ANYTHING". It's that they have ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNED AGAINST OUR CIVIL RIGHTS.
That's the difference.

You want your opinion heard? Congrats, it was heard. That doesn't mean it isn't open to criticism and it most asuredly doesn't mean your opinion is correct. Compare your theoretical Republican party to what actually happens. They aren't the same bud.

And shaving off that hyper-arrogant attitude wouldn't hurt you, just fyi.

I do have one question though: When you say you want equality for LGBTs...which LGBTs do you mean? Do you mean honest equality for all, or just the good little "Straight acting" "normal" gays?

Matt R. Salmon | June 22, 2010 8:31 PM

Equality is equality.

My fellow Matt, you still have not addressed the myriad other ways that the Republican party hurts Americans, including the LGBT community. As I mentioned, wars damage civil liberties at home- what is your response to this? Republicans are gung-ho about waging war and invading other countries. They are also enthusiastic defenders (along with some Democrats) of the national security apparatus which spies on us and is leading to an erosion of our rights. How does voting for a party that supports constant violence and warfare help the LGBT freedom struggle here in America?

If glbt voters wanted smaller government the honest way and were willing to work for it, they'd be libertarians not republicans. Your critique is the standard Log Cabin tract.

I want better government, not smaller government. I want national health for all not just Military members and Congress-critters. I'm tired of the personal responsibility practiced by Bankers who get bonuses from the taxpayer while turning working families out of their homes. I'm tired of corporate interests telling farmers they can't save their own seeds. I'm tired of behemoths like Monsanto patenting life with the blessing of an anti-farmer, anti-consumer legislators.

I'm a Green not a Democrat.

Sorry but I couldn't even make it past the first paragraph. Nobody has ever said that "all Republicans are basically anti-gay." The Republican Party, as an entity, IS anti-gay. It is anti-gay in its action and speech. Those who support it are anti-gay by complicity.

An it's "tenets" not "tenants." Jeez.

Matt R. Salmon | June 22, 2010 8:29 PM

Next time you want to call out a typo, don't make one yourself. It's "and" not "an"

You know, I was really disappointed by Mr. Salmon's follow-up response here in the comments, because I thought that most of the comments made have been pretty respectful, whereas his response was quite condescending.

I have not heard anyone really lay out the fact that the underlying problem is our socioeconomic status. As LGBT people, we face discrimination throughout our lives that results in significantly lower lifetime incomes, lower portions of social security, and higher rates of poverty. It's easy for a young white guy with bleached-blond hair to support the Republican Party if he has no immediate concerns for his financial well-being. Republicans protect those with money and privilege.

No party is perfect, and I don't think many of the commentors here are try to defend the Democratic Party all that much. But if we only have two ruling parties, I think it makes the most sense that we at least recognize the lesser of two evils.

Matt, I highly suggest you think about whether the ideals you claim to uphold here and the party you support actually coincide. It seems to me your top priority is your own socioeconomic interests without nearly as much concern for the advancement of LGBT equality. If you wish to sell out the LGBT community for your own personal benefit, you are free too, but please don't belittle us by expecting us to respect you for it.

I'm not a Republican because I'm a registered independent and consider myself a moderate. However, the overwhelming majority of Republicans are at least willing to exploit public homophobia as a political football to dupe people into voting for them, if not overtly hostile to GLBT people and homophobic themselves. Even if you support the Republican platform on things like the economy or defense -- which I don't agree with but don't consider contradictory for a GLBT person -- the fact remains that you're choosing to support and be a part of an organization that is deliberately harming you and your community. Whatever the Republicans may claim to stand for, they're little more than the new Dixiecrats.

To be frank, your attempt to connect sound bites like "limited government" and "free markets" to GLBT rights strike me as similar to the radical queers' attempt to paint every political issue as a GLBT issue. For one, the size of a government doesn't dictate how friendly it is to GLBT rights: Sweden and Norway have much larger governments than we do, yet they have far superior GLBT rights protections (including marriage). Meanwhile, Lithuania has pursued relatively small government while often showing hostility to GLBT people.

As for free markets, this is a concept that has only ever existed on paper. Every advanced society throughout history has had significant government intervention in the economy, including liberal economies like the U.S. in the olden days and Hong Kong today. In Hong Kong, the government owns all the land and leases it for an annual fee to developers, which is why it can afford to charge a 15% flat income tax; the government also built the stock market and subway system. In the United States in the 1800s, we were able to build up our industry thanks to strong protectionist laws, while the government has had a near monopoly on mail delivery through the U.S. Postal Service since the country's founding, and regulations of business and regulatory bodies that free market types love to hate like the FDA and OSHA actually developed gradually and in response to egregious failures of oversight that horrified the public like the disgusting conditions of the Chicago stockyards (detailed in Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle") and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

"Free market" is just a platitude that big business uses in an effort to get away with various abuses, like the kinds of blatant exploitation of people and disregard for the environment that goes on in Dubai. But by definition, a truly free market would be a failed state like Somalia.

@ Matt Salmon:

Forgive me, but I think you're a little delusional about a few things. The Republican Party is very Christian. Questions about your personal religious beliefs may explain your affection for the Republicans.

I asked you specifically if YOU were a Christian and if you believed being gay is a "choice?" Is being gay a "sin?"

Please answer that. In the meantime, get a little more familiar with the religiosity of Republicans and Democrats:

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070306/how-does-the-faith-of-republicans-democrats-measure-up/index.html

From that article: Republicans still have the favor of evangelical Christians. Evangelicals are committed to the Republican Party over the Democrats 59 percent to 16 percent." Barna Group.

These are the people (and their beliefs) that have caused most of our problems. They are Republicans because that party embraces their beliefs.

A few days ago the Southern Baptists launched a campaign to preserve DADT and fight repeal efforts. The Mormons have joined them. The Republicans are referencing them and preparing to filibuster.

Perhaps, as Bill Perdue suggests, "both teams are useless" - but, using simple math - your team (because of the number of fundamentalists) is clearly against us and the basic human principle of equality.

If you are intent on playing politics, at least understand the dramatic differences in Democrats and Republicans because it doesn't go away by waving your conservative wand.

Matt, You say this done "it's time we all work together instead of fight and call names" only after lambasting previous commenters for the first 4/5s of your reply post and in much of your original post. You're not fooling anyone by claiming the high road at the end.

Instead of insulting everyone, why don't you take the time to respond to our substantive concerns with your arguments?

Matt R. Salmon | June 22, 2010 9:49 PM

There were no insults in my original post. And as for the other, I believe some of the replies have been close minded.

Matt R. Salmon | June 22, 2010 8:19 PM

First off, I haven't once said that people are close minded for not agreeing with me. But I will say that people are close minded for not accepting another's opinion.

Many of the comments were appreciated and accurate, and I won't disagree with most. I know that many within the party are religious and I know that individuals haven't done much for our community. But I do know that there are individuals who have done some...simply voting "No" on something like an adoption ban for single men and women helps us and I know there are republicans who do so. They might not shout it out loud or lobby their colleagues to do the same, but we have to respect the quiet few who are on our side on certain issues. We won't always have people agreeing, but we can't be all or nothing.

What I am saying here, is that the party at its base has room for the LGBT community. And it is changing...so slowly, but it is. The more we accept that it can be our ally, the faster it can change. Equality shouldn't be a party issue. I am happy that we have so many democratic individuals out and proud in politics...republicans can have that, too. We have to respect each other...I'm sorry if I haven't shown that I respect other ideals, but I do. I am proud of anyone who will stand for equality.

As for responding to points made...I don't know why I should need to respond to whether my hair is truly bleached blond or not or what my religion is, but I can.

My religion: I have no religion, nor am I Christian. I am human.
My hair: it has never once been bleached, only ever dyed darker.

Being gay is no choice, if you live authentically or not, is.
Being gay is not a sin...since I have no religion, I don't believe in sin. Only good and bad, and even that depends on the circumstance.

And yes, I did misspell tenets, that was poor editing on my part. I believe I also wrote Rrpublican instead of republican, forgive me.

My question is, why is it when certain individuals act against the LGBT community, it is the entire party we blame...but when individuals like Cindy McCain or Laura Bush stand for equality, they don't count because they aren't individuals that make policy?

I think the comments you received demonstrate our ability to separate the rare occurrence of a Republican supporting LGBT equality from the "party position."

Republicans (as a Party) are almost opposite of Democrats when it come to LGBT issues. From DailyKOS/Research 2000 (January, 2010) regarding Republicans views:

Should openly gay men and women be allowed to serve in the military?

Yes 26%
No 55%
Not Sure 19%

Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?

Yes 7%
No 77%
Not Sure 16%

Should gay couples receive any state or federal benefits?

Yes 11%
No 68%
Not Sure 21%

Should openly gay men and women be allowed to teach in public schools?

Yes 8%
No 73%
Not Sure 19%

Link: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/02/03/Republicans_Reject_Gay_Rights_in_Poll/

Check Pew Research and Gallup, too. While a solid two-thirds of Republicans are against us, two-thirds of Democrats support us. That makes it very easy to "pick a team," for those that love to play politics.

Conservative ideals aside, what's your plan for changing the minds of the majority of Republicans?

I asked about your religion because that's the challenge you have with your Republicans. They believe we are wrong, sinful and deviant because "God told them so." How do you fix that?

I appreciate your responding to our comments. It is helpful.

Rick Sours | June 23, 2010 9:20 AM

When Arizona Representative Steve Mays was under attack for being openly Gay, John Mc Cain came to his defense.

"Being gay is no choice."

Apparently your Repub friends think otherwise, or have you been living in a vacuum for 20 years? Seems that you are good at making hypocritical statements that go completely against the GOP platform. But, hyprocracy has been the foundation of the GOPs since Nixon. You're fitting right in.

Matt, first I respect your courage. I would absolutely love nothing more than for the Republican party to embrace LGBT rights. And as far as the McCain women and Laura Bush go, I see lots of Democratic gays cheering over their support.
But the sad fact is, the Republicans do not live up to anything that they claim. They want more government in people's personal lives. It's only corporations that they want to keep the government out of.

But yes, please, get them to support full equality. So we can all move on to other issues. Like convincing them that global warming is real. Or that abstinence education only is a failure. Or people do need healthcare. The list is endless.

Good luck Matt. I mean that sincerely.

Gosh this has been fun to read. Thanks Matt for exposing the biases. I left the republican party when GWB initiated 2 wars in a single term after he was elected in 2000. Neither war was justified IMHO by the evidence nor by the reality of international relations.

When Republicans return to their roots I will return to the party.

Matt R. Salmon | June 22, 2010 11:35 PM

Rather than abandon the party, why not help it return to its roots?

Matt Salmon said a number of things that don't square with life as I have experienced it - or with political reality as I have observed it. And I don't think he advanced his case in his first rebuttal. But (in my opinion)there is a kernel of truth in what he's saying, and I give him credit for having the courage to expose his thoughts in a generally adverse forum and to expose himself as an lgbt in an overwhelmingly hostile party. (Though it should be noted that there's a Republican Party in Massachusetts that looks a lot different from the one in Texas.)

I tend to agree with mostmof the criticism set forth above, but I find the derisive tone of much of it disconcerting. If Mr. Salmon perseveres as an openly gay man in the Republican Party, I suspect he will change some people's perceptions for the better and that some of his perceptions will change as well.

Matt R. Salmon | June 22, 2010 11:33 PM

I realize that the majority of republicans stand in opposition to equality, this needs to change. How do we change their minds if we don't try? Why should we just give up because of history?

The party can change. It wasn't always this way. With blanket statements and generalized anger we alienate people.

I know that it is an impossible task for one man to change the minds of the majority, but it has to start somewhere. I'm not calling myself a pioneer by any means, just saying that I want change and rather than leave the party because it doesn't fit for me on one issue (albeit a big one) I will do what I can to change it to be what I want.

As far as the religious right...I think that majority has shrunk...however, they are the money behind the movement and so they make the calls. That must be changed. Those are the minds that may not be altered, but we can reach those who are on the fence.

I don't want it to change, I want it to die. I see nothing of value in things like this.

I am a fan of Science Fiction, and even sold some of my sci-fi work. One of the most interesting elements of sci-fi is "alternate universes." This is different "Earths," where events took place differently, giving us worlds that are different then the one we live in. It is nothing more than speculation, which is why Science Fiction is also called "Speculative Fiction."

"How do we change their minds if we don't try? Why should we just give up because of history?" and "I will do what I can to change it to be what I want." and "As far as the religious right...I think that majority has shrunk."

I like the speculation of alternate universes. However, it still amazes me when I find someone who actually lives in one.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 23, 2010 9:19 AM

Salmons hysterically funny alternate universe and the not so funny alternate universe of those who believe, prayerfully and with all their hearts in the myth of the 'fierce defender' are parallel alternate universes.

Both are based on the fact that some people subsume politics to their need to worship someone else and end up supporting politics they'd normally abhor. Like the Stockholm Syndrome or the battered spouse syndrome its a form of projection used to deflect the discussion away from reality. You can see it in action in the hysterical hoopla of election campaigns.

The hard lessons of mass homelessness, mass unemployment, currently hovering around a 17% Depression level and the economic and personal devastation caused by Obama's wars from Palestine to Pakistan are clearing away illusions and the politics of projection in general.

Take a pledge.

Boycott Democrats on Tuesday, the 2nd of November

Boycott Republicans on Tuesday, the 2nd of November

Rick Sours | June 23, 2010 8:41 AM

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had Republicans like Barry Goldwater who were extremely pro-Gay and viewed being Gay as a non issue?

Chitown Kev | June 23, 2010 10:56 AM

And then we have my home state.

Where until recently, the Republicans were really quite moderate as far as LGBT issues were concerned (I even voted for a Republican for governor; he's in jail now, LOL) and one of the 5 Republicans from my state voted for DADT repeal (Judy Biggert).

But you really need to look no further than the wingnutty turn taken by Mark Kirk (who wasn't bad as far as some gay issues are concerned; I believe that he is still one of the co-sponsors of ENDA) to understand where the Republican Party has been heading, even in Illinois.

Kudo to Mr. Salmon, though, for stepping into the lion's den, so to speak.

@ Matt Salmon:

Thanks for your reply. You said:

"As far as the religious right...I think that majority has shrunk...however, they are the money behind the movement and so they make the calls. That must be changed."

If the RR has purchased the Republican Party, how are you going to change that? Religion isn't going to run out of money for another 40 years.


Matt R. Salmon | June 23, 2010 6:55 PM

Honestly it takes time, people, money and organization.

We have to do it the old fashioned way...start from the grassroots and work up. We can be grateful, however, for modern technology like twitter and facebook that can help spread the work.

Old-fashioned way? You don't have time for that. Those old very conservative Christians are dying. Half of their children are abandoning religion. (Sound familiar?)

I guess it may seem like a useful endeavor, but I don't see how you'll accomplish anything in the near term.

Matt R. Salmon | June 23, 2010 9:24 PM

I never said anything near term. I know it will take time. I think it will take less time than most anticipate, but it will.

And yes, nature will aide in this just endeavor.

Rick Sours | June 23, 2010 12:54 PM

Have been a registered Democrat since the 1960's because I wanted to election individuals who will best represent all the people. Like so many others I am extremely disappointed with the Democrats. There are groups in our society which are extremely anti-Gay; some of these groups are clearly under the umbrella of the Democratic Party. When the next election occurs if I vote, I will simply vote for the individuals who I feel will best represent
all the people.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 23, 2010 3:16 PM

The DNC is an anti-LGBT group that helps run the Democrat Party.

Take a pledge.

Boycott Democrats on Tuesday, the 2nd of November

Boycott Republicans on Tuesday, the 2nd of November

I couldn't be further from being a Republican myself (okay, I know that Alex would argue with that one! ;-)) but I am GLAD to know there are LGBT folks in the Republican party trying to hold the party accountable.

That said,

What do you do when your leaders don't live up to these ideals? In the PROGRESSIVE LGBT movement, we've had a strong campaign to end support of Democrats who are not keeping their promises to the LGBT community. I applaud Log Cabin when they push for greater inclusion in the party, and win support from progressive Republicans like Snowe and Judy Biggert, but what real pressure are you applying to those that actively work against us.

Example: John McCain stands for many of those ideals that you've mentioned, and gay Republicans love him. However, he's been a thorn in our legislative side ever since 2006 and even before and I don't understand the continued justification of supporting him.

I could REALLY get behind LCR (not as a member, but--I guess--as a fan) if they got bold and really called the anti-gay GOPers out on the carpet, and compelled their members to not only stop giving to McCain and other shitty-on-gay-rights Republicans, but actively worked to disrupt their continued reelection to office. It really looked like it was going that way in 2004 when Patrick Guerriero was at the helm. However, I've seen a lot of backsliding since he left, and it seems that LCR is--once again--the anemic, apologist wing of the Republican party.

I hope you're different, Matt. Be bold. Like Guerriero, call your leaders out and demand MORE, and threaten every plausible punishment if its not given. Be a RADICAL in your strategy, and a Conservative in your ideology. THAT is what's really going to change the GOP.

Someone attempting to change the Republican Party reminds me of certain Christians that sit in Church enduring the demeaning and devaluing of homosexuals because of their misguided commitment to some imaginary "greater good." They don't stand up and reject the teachings because they'd be thrown out.

I think it's the same for Republicans. Unless they take a bold stand, they'll continue to sit there and participate in the continued harm inflicted on the LGBT Community.

We need "New" Christians and "New" Republicans. Both of those would be helpful, but as you have pointed out, that will require some courage.

Is this the same Andrew who scoffs at those who demonstrate on the sidewalks outside the white house and interrupt Congressional hearings? Is this the same Andrew who says winning over our friends and neighbors one person at a time is the path to full equality? Now you want to flip flop and have me rise to my feet in church yelling objections but yet accuse me and others of fearing being tossed out? We really must do that brunch sometime.

Meanwhile let me tell you that every single member of my church knows my perspective on homosexuality and I attend openly, regularly and proudly. In my time there much has changed and not by handing the pastor a new marker for him to report new findings in Scriptural enlightenment to the full body of the church. I won't bore you with details. We can save that for brunch.

A passage for you Andrew.... 1 John 2:9-11,
Deena

There is no "flip-flop" Deena. It doesn't take courage to "yell in the streets" or to "heckle the President." Apparently, that just requires $89,000 a year plus travel expenses.

The negative branding of homosexuals as "wrong, sinful and deviant" came exclusively from religion, including your brand - Christians. Religion is the only institution that teaches we are wrong. That is the source of ALL our difficulties.

Simply "welcoming" homosexuals to Church (bring cash) while NOT ending that belief and teaching, isn't progress. It's really just "marketing." As of 2010 1% of US churches are "gay friendly." Insignificant numerically and because "friendly" isn't enough.

Your "perspective" is not the point. Homosexuality is either right or wrong. If you are sitting in a Church that continues to Christian-ly make it "wrong" you are aiding and abetting the enemy. Until that teaching ends we will continue to experience discrimination.

While sitting in Church, like everyone else, you can decide what is more important - our equality or being "accepted" or "tolerated." Courage would make that choice very obvious and yeah, you'd stand up - not only for yourself, but for the rest of our community. I would suggest that Jesus would probably be proud of you.

[Angels sing]

I owe you brunch. After church, of course.

Andrew I said I would spare you the details and you are jumping to wrong conclusions. This is not the place for me to give my full testimony and I am not that skilled with textual constructs. That is why Brunch is a much better forum. I will, however, tell you that there has been no further preaching that homosexuality is wrong since I "stood up ". No I haven't ascended to my feet in the middle of a service and ranted and raved. I also can not testify to what lurks or doesn't lurk in my pastor's heart on the topic.

What I am trying to point out to you is your own approach has merit. On the one hand you are adamant that victory lies in gaining the majority as allies and on the other hand you say get thee away from potential allies by stomping off prematurely. Now surely you realize that changing hearts is not an instantaneous process. It is not done by being haughty and tossing a red markup crayon at the pulpit.

Our brunch is long overdue. And yes, after church services some Sunday would be excellent.

Changing hearts and minds is the only way for us to achieve our full equality.

I'm glad you have taken a stand and I wish more religious people would. Silence kills, even at Church. We shouldn't "tolerate" hate and bigotry, especially in the presence of righteous tolerance.

I would never suggest "stomping off" or "tossing crayons," but I think I know who you're thinking of - those "hecklers." They're just looking for attention, you're looking for results. You are changing hearts and minds.

After church it is.