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.
In 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.