Log Cabin Republicans Vote to Withhold Endorsement from President Bush
National Board Announces Log Cabin Will Focus on Supporting Inclusive Republican Candidates for US House and Senate
(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin Republicans are withholding their endorsement from President Bush for 2004. "Log Cabin's National Board has voted to withhold a Presidential endorsement and shift our financial and political resources to defeating the radical right and supporting inclusive Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives," said Log Cabin Board Chairman William Brownson of Ohio. The Log Cabin Board of Directors voted 22 to 2 not to endorse the President's re-election.
"Certain moments in history require that a belief in fairness and equality not be sacrificed in the name of partisan politics; this is one of those moments. The national board's vote empowers Log Cabin to maintain its integrity while furthering our goal of building a more inclusive Republican Party. Log Cabin is more committed than ever to its core mission to build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party. There is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, and that fight is bigger than one platform, one convention, or even one President," said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Patrick Guerriero.
The vote by Log Cabin's 25 member national board marks the first time since the organization opened a national office in Washington, DC in 1993 that the organization has not endorsed the Republican nominee for President. Log Cabin endorsed Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000. Exit polls confirmed that over 1,000,000 gays and lesbians voted for Bush/Cheney in the 2000 election, including nearly 50,000 in Florida alone.
Log Cabin will devote its financial and political resources to elect fair-minded Republican allies to local, state and federal offices. Log Cabin will endorse more than 50 GOP candidates for the U.S. House and Senate. "Every victory by fair-minded Republicans is a victory for the future of our party. We have made it clear that we can either be the party of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani or we can be the party of Alan Keyes and Rick Santorum," continued Guerriero.
"Log Cabin has proudly supported the President's firm leadership in the war on terror. As principled Republicans, we believe in our Party's commitment to a strong national defense and a confident foreign policy. We especially applaud the President's leadership in cutting taxes for American families and small businesses, his belief in free market principles and his compassionate and historic leadership in the global fight against HIV/AIDS," continued Guerriero.
"At the same time, it is impossible to overstate the depth of anger and disappointment caused by the President's support for an anti-family Constitutional Amendment. This amendment would not only ban gay marriage, it would also jeopardize civil unions and domestic partnerships. For six months, the President has made it clear what he opposes. He opposes civil marriage equality; however he has failed to articulate clearly what he supports. Does he support federal civil unions? Does he support domestic partnerships? Does he support tax fairness for gay and lesbian couples? Does he support employment non-discrimination? Does he support hate crimes legislation? Does he support allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly and honestly?" asked Log Cabin Political Director Chris Barron. "An organization's endorsement means nothing if it does not have to be earned."
"Some will accuse us of being disloyal. However, it was actually the White House who was disloyal to the 1,000,000 gay and lesbian Americans who supported him four years ago. Log Cabin's decision was made in response to the White House's strategic political decision to pursue a re-election strategy catered to the radical right. The President's use of the bully pulpit, stump speeches and radio addresses to support a Constitutional amendment has encouraged the passage of discriminatory laws and state constitutional amendments across America. Using gays and lesbians as wedge issues in an election year is unacceptable to Log Cabin," continued Guerriero.
"At the same time that we saw record numbers of gay and lesbian delegates at the Republican National Convention, and at the same convention where we saw hundreds of fair-minded Republicans gather to support Log Cabin and our allies, our party's platform adopted vicious and mean-spirited language that marginalizes gay and lesbian Americans."
Log Cabin's 2000 endorsement of the Bush/Cheney ticket came during an election where the Republican nominee ran a compassionate conservative campaign that avoided culture war issues. After meeting with gay Republicans in 2000, Mr. Bush declared "I am a better man," and welcomed gays and lesbians as valued parts of the American family. The early days of the Bush administration were marked by significant victories-maintaining existing anti-discrimination protections for federal employees, appointing openly gay employees throughout the Administration, a continuing dialogue with our organization, and the extension of survivor benefits to gay and lesbian partners who lost loved ones on 9/11.
Unfortunately these early successes were short-lived. "Last year, a dramatic and disappointing shift occurred rooted in Karl Rove's public acknowledgment that the 2004 re-election campaign would focus on turning out four million more evangelicals who he believed stayed home in 2000," said Guerriero. The President's initial reluctance to amend the Constitution became full-fledged support on February 24th of this year.
Log Cabin has spent most of the year fighting the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment. This fight culminated with a July victory in the Senate when a growing chorus of Republican opposition to the amendment forced the pro-amendment faction to play procedural games to avoid an embarrassing loss. As many as a dozen or more Republican Senators were prepared to oppose the FMA on its merits.
"During the fight over the anti-family FMA, we sadly watched as the President and his Administration leaned on Republican members of the House and Senate to support this divisive and unnecessary amendment. We watched as the President's support for this anti-family amendment emboldened the forces of fear and exclusion to push anti-gay ballot initiatives and legislation on the state and local level. We watched as the radical right works to defeat fair-minded Republicans across the nation. We watched as the Republican Party Platform rejected our Party Unity Plank and included language opposing not only civil marriage but also civil unions, domestic partnerships or indeed any basic benefits for same-sex couples. At a time when courageous gay and lesbian military personnel are helping to win the war on terror, the platform outrageously claims 'homosexuality is incompatible with military service'," continued Guerriero. The GOP platform language continues to target gays and lesbians and fails to present a positive agenda to ensure basic fairness for millions of gay Americans, who pay taxes, serve in the military, enhance communities, and serve in government.
Throughout this challenging year Log Cabin has doubled in size and launched new chapters where none existed. Log Cabin successfully led the fight against the Federal Marriage Amendment with its first ever television advertising campaign, worked with 18 GOP lawmakers in passing hate crimes legislation in the Senate, and continued supporting and educating state and local officials. Log Cabin was proud to be the only gay and lesbian organization to endorse Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for Governor of California. Log Cabin also was proud to see many of its closest allies speaking in primetime at the Republican National Convention. "It is not surprising to anyone at Log Cabin that the President's first real bounce in the polls came after a convention that highlighted inclusive Republicans and focused on unifying issues such as winning the war on terror. Log Cabin knows that the 2006 and 2008 elections will highlight a new generation of inclusive Republican leaders," said Guerriero.
Log Cabin calls on both major parties to return to the issues that unite the American family instead of fueling an unnecessary culture war. Log Cabin also denounces the continued flip-flops on gay and lesbian issues from Democratic nominee John Kerry. Senator Kerry has repeatedly made clear his opposition to civil marriage equality and has supported discriminatory constitutional amendments in Massachusetts and Missouri.
Log Cabin is firmly committed to seeing inclusive Republicans elected in 2004. Log Cabin will continue to oppose and expose any efforts to marginalize gays and lesbians. We also will continue to make it clear that the only way the GOP can continue as the majority party is to reach out to all Americans. Log Cabin also will continue to make it clear that the gay and lesbian community can realize full equality only if it works on building new alliances with conservative and centrist Americans.
"The battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has just begun. We are confident that the politics of inclusion and hope will prevail over the politics of exclusion and fear. History, fairness and common decency are on our side," concluded Guerriero.
Last week, Log Cabin launched a new television advertising campaign to take this fight for the GOP's future directly to the American people. The ad makes it clear that the party has a choice. We can be the party of hope, in the best tradition of Ronald Reagan, by uniting around issues that bring Republicans together, like winning the war on terror; or the party can divide Americans with the politics of intolerance and fear that only lead to hate.