Gay Conservatives to Tony Perkins: We Agree, Sort Of

A full-page ad running in The Tampa Tribune says that marriage is a conservative value, and that’s exactly why it should be available to same-sex couples.

BY Julie Bolcer

August 29 2012 9:43 AM ET

The Log Cabin Republicans and Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry will try to reach people opposed to marriage equality at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday with a full-page newspaper ad that speaks their common language of family and freedom.

The ad in The Tampa Tribune asks the politically influential crowd visiting town this week to support allowing same-sex couples to marry because doing so is “directly in line with the core ideals and principles of the Republican Party.” It features photos of same-sex couples and their families.

In a clever twist, the ad begins by acknowledging the commonalities between gay conservatives and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who authored the stridently antigay language in this year’s party platform. The ad quotes his own platform language, which said, “The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation."

“We agree,” the ad continues. “That's why Log Cabin Republicans and Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry believe that government should stop denying marriage licenses to committed gay and lesbian families. As conservatives, we believe that the freedom to marry is directly in line with the core ideals and principles of the Republican Party. Family values means valuing ALL families.”

Jerry Sanders, the Republican mayor of San Diego, makes similar points about the compatibility of marriage equality and conservative values in a TV ad running the Tampa area this week. Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign sponsored that spot.

The newspaper ad also mentions a complimentary brunch being hosted at the convention Wednesday by Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a newly formed group, in partnership with the Log Cabin Republicans. The program will include a speech by Andrew Langer, president of the Institute for Liberty.

Gay conservatives plan to be visible at this year’s convention despite the platform language, arguably the most extreme to date with calls for a federal marriage amendment and endorsements of the Defense of Marriage Act and the state ballot initiatives to ban same-sex marriage. Advocates and delegates in Tampa report feeling energized, and say the platform contrasts progress evident in polling, a growing group of influential straight allies, and the evolving national conversation. 

See the ad below.

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