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Moderate Republicans express solidarity with gay group at convention

Moderate Republicans express solidarity with gay group at convention

Several prominent moderate Republicans on Sunday met with the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans to express solidarity and encourage Log Cabin to fight the party on gay rights issues. At a reception in Manhattan on the eve of a party convention poised to take a forceful stance against same-sex marriage, New York governor George Pataki, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and former Massachusetts governor William Weld urged Log Cabin to stand fast against a Bush-backed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. "I am a believer that what makes America and New York great is its inclusiveness and willingness to let everybody be who they are, and I will always stand for that regardless of whether it's politically correct or not," Bloomberg said. "I don't think we should ever use the Constitution to drive wedges between us. New York City is open to everybody, and you will see that this week." The show of support heartened members of Log Cabin, who are irate over a platform that they consider a repudiation of gay rights, the Los Angeles Times reports. The group, which is threatening to withhold an endorsement of President Bush, has scheduled what it calls a "major announcement" for Monday. Some believe they could be garnering the necessary support from six state delegations to take their fight for a more inclusive party platform to the convention floor. The platform committee last week not only rejected a "Unity Plank" proposed by Log Cabin and two other groups, it drafted language supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment and calling for the outlawing of all legal recognition of gay relationships. But party leaders insisted they are not antigay. The platform committee, chaired by Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, included language declaring that Republicans "respect and accept" people within the party who have deeply held and sometimes differing views. But that did not satisfy the gay and lesbian leaders gathered here, the Times reports. Nearly 50 delegates and alternates to the convention are openly gay, according to Log Cabin, and this is the largest number ever. Some say they are torn over whether to vote for Bush in the fall, though they are pledged to support him this week. That was not the case four years ago at the Republican convention in Philadelphia, when GOP gay activists viewed Bush as friendly to their cause. An estimated 1 million gay voters backed Bush in 2000. "I want the George Bush of 2000," said Jeff Bissiri, a delegate from Los Angeles. He declined to say whether he would vote to reelect the president.

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