View From the Hill

Gay conservatives took center stage in Washington this week with the launch of GOProud, a Log Cabin convention, and marriage-equality endorsements from almost-first daughter Meghan McCain and former McCain strategist Steve Schmidt.

BY Kerry Eleveld

April 16 2009 11:00 PM ET

OK, let's give hate
crimes a pass. It's not expected to be a particularly heavy
lift in Congress and a number of people subscribe to the idea
that our laws are already punitive enough for people who
perpetrate violence.

But employment
nondiscrimination? What a loss -- for a Republican who knows
the issue inside and out -- not to be lobbying GOP members of
Congress on behalf of LGBT people who work in 30 states across
the country with no legal protections.

I know a number of gay
Republicans and their ongoing struggle revolves around a
question of whether they should be gay first or conservative
first. GOProud's 10-point federal legislative agenda reads more
like a group that has taken conservative principles on issues
like tax reform, free-market health care reform, and privatized
Social Security and found positive outcomes for gay people
within those arguments. "Don't ask, don't tell" is perhaps
the only pro-gay agenda item they list that might upset the
conservative apple cart. (I am purposely excluding transgender
issues here because there is no mention of them in their
legislative agenda.)

On the positive side,
Barron said that as e-mails from about 500 new members poured
in this week -- he noted a "surprising" number of
them came from women. As a female journalist who spends most of
my time covering politics in rooms that are 85%-90% male, I
welcome any group that finds a way to bring more women into the
fold.

In fact, I welcome any
group at this juncture that can grow the number of pro-gay
conservatives. But I fear that Charles Francis is correct --
the movement doesn't have the bandwidth to support two GOP
groups. And if pro-gay activists are going to support any group
-- financially and otherwise -- I want it to be one that leans
toward being gay first and conservative second. Otherwise, as
Francis said, what's the point?

Tags: Politics

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