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Republicans Endorse McCain for President

Log Cabin
Republicans Endorse McCain for President

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Pointing to his decision to break from the Republican majority and speak out against a federal amendment banning same-sex marriage, the Log Cabin Republicans on Tuesday officially endorsed John McCain for president, Log Cabin president Patrick Sammon announced at the Republican National Convention.

Pointing to his decision to break from the Republican majority and speak out against a federal amendment banning same-sex marriage, the Log Cabin Republicans on Tuesday officially endorsed John McCain for president. Log Cabin president Patrick Sammon announced the endorsement to a little over 200 attendees of the Big Tent Event at the Republican National Convention.

Log Cabin had indicated that gay marriage would be a hot-button issue for the group this election season, and Sammon later told The Advocate that McCain's opposition to a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was enough to warrant an endorsement.

"Senator McCain stood with our community during its most critical attack in the last 10 years," Sammon said, referring to the Federal Marriage Amendment, "something it would have taken 100 years to fix in our Constitution. And Senator McCain paid a political price for that. He is distrusted by social conservatives in part because of his vote against the amendment. So we thought it was important to show our support for him because he stood with us."

Log Cabin's board of directors voted 12-2 in favor of the endorsement, and Sammon said he had "no illusions" that many LGBT activists would disagree with the decision. "It was not a rubber stamp. There was a lot of good discussion over the recent months -- a lot of soul-searching, a lot of honest deliberation," he said.

Sammon noted that LCR's membership largely favored the endorsement and added that he deemed it a strategic imperative for the gay community overall. "There's a 40% to 50% chance John McCain will win this election and I think it's important to have a strong voice that goes in and makes the case for him to support the issues that we care so much about. The fact is, John McCain is no George Bush on these issues." LCR endorsed then-Governor Bush in the 2000 election but declined to endorse him for reelection in 2004 based largely on President Bush's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment.

While McCain has said he supports the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and he advocated for passage of his own state's marriage ban in 2006, he has said that a federal ban on gay marriage is "un-Republican." In 2004 he broke from the Bush administration and condemned the proposed amendment, saying he felt the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was a more appropriate measure.

McCain's vice-presidential pick, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, a Christian conservative, has also gone on the record as saying she is against same-sex marriage and for defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, adding that she supported passing the state's constitutional marriage amendment in 1998.

She has, however, received some credit from gay voters for vetoing a law that would have denied health care and retiree benefits to the partners of gay state employees, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Palin vetoed the law based on a recommendation from the Alaska attorney general that it was unconstitutional. But she indicated that she did not personally support extending domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples and backed a state amendment to repeal the Alaska supreme court's decision.

Sammon acknowledged that Log Cabin Republicans disagree with some of Governor Palin's positions, but added, "A lot of social conservatives were pressuring her to sign that legislation and she vetoed it, which had the effect of providing domestic-partner benefits." He also said Palin has not used gay issues in her campaigns in order to get elected in the same way that politicians like Mitt Romney have. (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

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