As I prepare to depart for New Orlean to attend the Log Cabin National Convention/Liberty Education Forum National Symposium, I wanted to tell y’all why I’m taking the trip. I’m going to see whether or not Log Cabin had really changed, whether it is an organization of gay and lesbian Republicans committed to building their party or an organization of gay and lesbian Republicans dedicated to promoting the agenda of the various “gay rights'” groups in our nation’s capital.
On the one hand, I have been heartened by Log Cabin’s support of some of President Bush’s initiatives, notably Social Security reform. And by its co-sponsorship last month of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). I join Log Cabin in opposing the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment — or whatever it’s called in its latest incarnation.
On the other hand, In January, Log Cabin signed on to the Unity Statement of 22 “gay advocacy organizations, thus taking the same positions on gay issues as all of these groups, including such left-wing outfits as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) and the Stonewall Democrats.
This morning, a reader e-mailed me an article from Sunday’s Washington Post where writers Mike Allen and Dana Milbank begin their piece, noting “ The Log Cabin Republicans are looking less and less Republican.” LCR’s rhetoric, particularly on gay issues is virtually indistinguishable from that of other gay groups, notably the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
Looking less like Republicans, repeating the rhetoric of other gay groups, Log Cabin doesn’t seem to be making an effort to put forward a Republican vision of gay issues.
So, I’m traveling to New Orleans to listen and to take notes, to sit in on the panels and to see how this organization — and its affiliated education forum — present themselves. I will be talking to participants and perhaps questioning some of the organizations’ leaders.
Having looked over the Convention’s agenda, I am already troubled by what’s in store. There is little time for convention business, no plenary scheduled for delegates to help set the organization’s agenda for the coming year. At this annual gathering of Log Cabin members, the grassroots will have little opportunity to influence organization policy. Delegates won’t be electing board members as they once did. Nor will they be proposing by-law changes or considering resolutions from the floors. The convention does offer an “Annual Review,” but at 8:30 on Saturday morning — when most people will be bleary-eyed or still asleep.
It focuses on “the battle for gay and lesbian civil rights.” Panel topics include “Corporate Diversity”; “Family Fairness,” described as “the best strategy for achieving protection and recognition for gay and lesbian families”; “Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?” (with a speaker, Chandler Burr, who has written extensively about research into a biological or genetic basis for homosexuality); and “Examining the Truth about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” about the “best way to end” the nation’s policy on gays in the military.
While I look forward to Chandler Burr’s talk — and hope to soon see the end of the military’s ridiculous Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy, I regret that there is no panel on how smaller government benefits gays. How the tax cuts have helped us. Or how the president’s foreign policy, in spreading democracy around the world, could help benefit gays and lesbians in other lands.
There is no panel debating whether support for the agenda of most gay and lesbian organizations is consistent with Republican principles. Or to consider the mixed record of this Administration on issues affecting the gay and lesbian community.
I fear that, in putting together this agenda, Log Cabin has forfeited the opportunity to provide a unique voice in the debate on the role of gays and lesbians in American society. Many of these panels sound like ones from conferences sponsored by HRC or NGLTF. The current leadership of Log Cabin, alas, seems too eager to embrace the agenda of these and other liberal gay groups.
But, note that in that sentence, I used the word “seems.” Maybe I’m wrong. I am going to the convention to find out. I’m keeping my mind open. For those of you who support Log Cabin and will be at the convention in New Orleans, those of you who have criticized this blog, please take the time to talk to me, to make your case. I want to hear what you have to say.
A decade ago, I first joined Log Cabin because I hoped it could offer a unique voice on gay issues. I fear it is now no longer doing that. Perhaps I’ll be surprised in New Orleans and find that Log Cabin is taking on the narrow agenda of other gay advocacy organizations.
I believe that Log Cabin makes itself relevant primarily by offering a unique perspective on gay issues. One that MSM does not consider and that most gay organizations do not present.
UPDATE: Log Cabin Political Director Chris Barron has just e-mailed me “another example of unprecedented work by Log Cabin with conservatives.” Log Cabin has joined several conservative groups in “calling on the United States Senate to pass Social Security reform focused on personal savings accounts without tax increases or cuts in future benefits.” Another step in the right direction.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com