Lott Comments an Insult to Gay Republican Officials, Activists

June 16, 1998 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The nation's largest gay Republican organization said today that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's (R-MS) comments on a cable television show about gays are an insult to elected gay Republican officials and openly gay Republican activists and their supporters across the country.

"Senator Lott has insulted every gay person in the Republican Party," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "It was an insult to Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona, an Appropriations subcommittee chairman in the House, and to the dedicated and loyal gay and lesbian Republican activists across the country that helped the GOP win its majority."

When the Republican took control of Congress in 1994, the New York Times reported that the GOP won 33% of the gay vote nationwide, the highest voting percentage of any minority group in that election. Leading national Republican figures, including Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ), Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R-New York), Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY), Congressman Jim Greenwood (R-PA), and 1998 candidates such as California GOP U.S. Senate nominee Matt Fong have aggressively sought gay and lesbian support in their campaigns, dramatizing a growing split in the Republican Party over the gay issue. And with the presence of openly gay Republican elected officials like Kolbe and a number of local and state officials around the country, the pressure on the party from the inside will intensify.

"Doesn't Senator Lott realize that the American Psychological Association put this issue behind them 25 years ago?" Tafel said. "One of his Senate colleagues needs to pull him aside and remind him that he is not the majority leader of Mississippi – he's the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. Whether it's ignorance on his part or blatant pandering to James Dobson and the radical right, it's wrong and it will cost the party if it continues."