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Patrick Sammon

Patrick Sammon


The last couple of years have been challenging, to say the least, for the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans. President Bush came out in favor of a federal ban on same-sex marriage, forcing the group to issue a "nonendorsement" for president in 2004. And Log Cabin's leader, Patrick Guerriero, left to run the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gill Action Fund last September.

Former TV reporter and longtime Log Cabin member Patrick Sammon, who was given the helm in December, says his group can make a difference in Washington's new political landscape, where for the first time in 12 years his party knows what it's like to be a minority.

Do you think gay Americans are better off with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate? Some issues will be considered by this Congress that weren't considered in the past, but there are a lot of issues that impact people's daily lives, and not all of them are related to gay rights. I'm not big into speculating. The reality today is that we are going to have some votes on [pro-gay] bills, and Log Cabin is committed to getting some Republican support for those bills.

Some have said that former president Gerald Ford's passing in December marked the end of the moderate Republicans. Do you agree? I don't think it would be accurate to say that his death is symbolic of a broader disappearance of moderate Republicans. You have seen the growing frustration in the party among many members about the tilt to the right on social issues. Social conservatives are largely responsible for what happened last November.

So how does Log Cabin fit in now? We have a good relationship with Republican organizations across the spectrum. We worked with Senator [Tom] Coburn's office with trying to move forward reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act. We worked with some conservative organizations in advancing and supporting reform efforts in Social Security that actually would have provided benefits for LGBT people.

How do you feel about the recent antigay flip-flops by presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and John McCain? Anytime candidates, whoever they are, aren't bringing voters around a hopeful vision, I think it's a mistake. It is going to be a long presidential campaign and we are going to be watching closely, and we are going to be talking with candidates and campaigns on a range of issues that are important to our community. At the end of the day we will stand up with integrity and do what's right.

Do you think there will be more or less discussion of gay issues in 2008? It is quite difficult to predict what might happen between now and 2008. I would like to think they aren't on the front burner, but it is really tough to determine what kind of world events might happen or what events specifically related to our community might come up that would make it more or less of an issue.

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