Wednesday night, I trekked up to Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater for an Outfest-sponsored screening of the documentary, “GAY REPUBLICANS.” Had I not had a date, I might have stayed longer to engage the film’s very friendly director Wash Westmoreland.
Let me just say that while the documentary doesn’t present a complete picture of the GOP — or its attitude toward gays, it is, on the whole, a decent — and thoroughly engaging — movie. I recommend it (though with some reservation).
Since we two gay Republicans spend much time defending President Bush, I will focus not on the pro-Bush Republicans in the film, but on the film’s portrayal of two gay Republicans (well, one lesbian and one gay man) who refused to back the president in last fall’s election.
While I disagreed with her choice not to support the president (in the 2004 election), I thought LA’s Carol Newman came across as a sincere woman who truly supported the GOP but was troubled by the president’s support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. In the movie (and in the Q & A at the screening), she expressed a strong commitment to Republican principles of small government and personal freedom. She took the president’s support of the amendment personally and could not support him. It seemed clear she was acting from her heart.
Steve May, however, came across as someone who was grandstanding, mugging for the cameras (he does look good on screen), hungry to be at the center of attention. It seemed he was more interested in being liked by the gay world than in balancing his concerns as a gay man and a Republican. Not only did he disagree with the president on gay marriage, but he also said that conditions in Iraq were worse than even the MSM has portrayed them. A self-proclaimed Republican tends only to say such things when he is pandering to the left. His face lit up when he endorsed John Kerry before a friendly audience. A conflicted Republican does not delight in endorsing the Democratic nominee for President.
I wish the movie had offered a more accurate portrayal of the GOP. It included footage of the state convention of one of the most conservative state parties (Texas), but did not show state parties which have welcomed gay Republicans into their ranks. It could perhaps have devoted a little more attention to the success of Governor Schwarzenegger, the popularity (in GOP circles) of former Mayor Giuliani or even noted conservatives like New Hampshire Senator John E. Sununu and California Congressman David Dreier who bucked the president on the FMA (but still, like your humble blogger, supported his re-election). Or made mention of Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell who recently endorsed same-sex civil unions.
Yes, the evangelicals of Texas are part of our party, but so are the libertarians of the Mountain West, the moderates of New England and the hawks of all regions.
Finally, I wish the filmmakers had shown more gay Republicans, like GP and myself, who support the president while opposing his stand on the FMA. I did approach director Westmoreland after the screening and asked him why he didn’t show a Republican who was conflicted like Carol Newman, but who came to a different conclusion than she. He welcomed my criticism and indicated he was working on a sequel. Let’s make that when he does, he knows about this blog — and its readers.
Meanwhile, if you get the chance, watch the movie and come to your own conclusions.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com