Gay conservatives plan to battle Bush
February 27 2004 12:00 AM ET
Gay conservatives are so angered by President George W. Bush's support of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage that they are launching their own protest in swing states that are key to Bush's reelection bid, including Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Ohio, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The gay political group Log Cabin Republicans is considering a grassroots voter campaign to be broadcast on television and radio that would cater to conservatives, moderates, and independents. Their message? The White House is "playing politics" with the Constitution. "A constitutional amendment is a call to arms for gay conservatives," Patrick Guerriero, Log Cabin's executive director, which is planning its annual convention in Palm Springs in April, told the newspaper. "A lot of gay conservatives who have been extraordinarily loyal will not remain silent. This is a breach."
Guerriero recently visited Missouri and Ohio to assess the political climate and talk to activists. In the past year he has traveled to 26 states and 87 cities to prepare for the largest presence ever of gay conservatives and their allies at the Republican national convention, which will be in New York this year.
"The feeling is, if you want a cultural war, you'll get it," he told the Times. "We don't want history to record that we stood silent when our president and our party tried to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution."
Some gay conservatives who work in the Bush administration or who hold political office say they feel a special sense of betrayal. They remember when Bush met with them and when vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney--who has an openly lesbian daughter--talked of leaving this issue to the states.
"The day word came out that he was going to support a constitutional amendment, my phone was ringing off the hook, with straight Republican friends saying, 'He just lost my vote,' " Rebecca Maestri, a lesbian activist who works on Iraqi redevelopment issues for the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the Times.