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Log Cabin Republicans

From Academic Kids

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A Log Cabin Republican poster, with the typical use of Abraham Lincoln

The Log Cabin Republicans is a political organization in the United States, consisting of gay, lesbian and bisexual supporters of the Republican Party.

Contents

History

The name of the organization is a reference to the first Republican President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin. The organization features a portrait of Lincoln on its website and other publicity material. The name has been criticized by other gay and lesbian rights groups because it does not specifically identify the organization as being for gay men and lesbians.

Log Cabin was founded in 1978 in California, as a rallying point for Republicans opposed to the Briggs Initiative, the first attempt to restrict gay and lesbian rights through a ballot measure. The Initiative, which was defeated, would have prevented gay men and lesbians from being public school teachers in California. Among those Republicans who opposed the Initiative was former Governor Ronald Reagan, later President.

Since 1978 Log Cabin has expanded across the United States and has 68 chapters in 37 states and the District of Columbia. It claims to have thousands of members but does not release membership figures. It has a staff of lobbyists in Washington, D.C., holds an annual convention, and raises funds which it donates to Republican officeholders and candidates whom it considers sympathetic to gay and lesbian rights issues. Its Executive Director is Patrick Guerriero.

Agenda

The Log Cabin stresses its loyalty to the Republican Party. "We are loyal Republicans," its website says. "We believe in low taxes, limited government, strong defense, free markets, personal responsibility, and individual liberty. Log Cabin represents an important part of the American family-taxpaying, hard working people who proudly believe in this nation's greatness."

But Log Cabin also dissents from conservative Republican views on matters relating to gay and lesbian rights. "We also believe all Americans have the right to liberty, freedom, and equality," it says. "Log Cabin stands up against those who preach hatred and intolerance. We stand up for the idea that all Americans deserve to be treated equal-regardless of their sexual orientation."

Log Cabin supported the election of George W. Bush at the 2000 Presidential election, but has since been critical of many actions (and inactions) of the Bush Administration. In particular, Log Cabin strongly supports the right of same-sex couples to be legally married. "Civil marriage equality will benefit society by encouraging stable relationships, strengthening the institution of marriage and providing important protection for gay and lesbian families," Log Cabin says.

Accordingly, Log Cabin Republicans have condemned Bush's support for a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in all states, although they have tried to avoid criticizing Bush by name, preferring to attack the influence of the "radical right" on the Republican Party.

"The radical right has drawn Republican leaders into a culture war as the 2004 election approaches. With polls against them, the radical right has responded with more desperate rhetoric. They're using fears about gay civil marriage in their effort to engineer a public backlash. Scare tactics have failed in the past. They will fail again. That's because most Americans understand the meaning of freedom. It is not reserved for the select few. We all have the right to freedom and personal liberty."

The great majority of gay and lesbian rights activists are Democrats, or have political views to the left of the Democrats. They are frequently strongly critical of the Log Cabin Republicans, calling them "Aunt Marys" (a gay equivalent of "Uncle Toms"). A contributor to the gay newspaper The Washington Blade wrote in March 2004: "Patrick Guerriero of Log Cabin is a sell out and a traitor to the gay community. It’s pretty sad for Log Cabin when the Republicans don’t want them and they are not respected in the majority of the gay and lesbian community."

Similarly many social conservatives and Christian evangelicals in the Republican Party refuse to recognize Log Cabin as part of the party, and many Republican office-holders refuse to meet with them or respond to their initiatives. In March 2004, for example, Kansas senator Sam Brownback said that Log Cabin's activities in support of same-sex marriage were "hurting the party they claim to support." He commended Bush for what he called "his bold and principled stand in support of a constitutional amendment protecting marriage."

In May 2004 the Republican Party's North Carolina state chairman Ferrell Blount said that he would not allow the Log Cabin Republicans to purchase a booth at the party's State Convention. "I reviewed what the Log Cabin national Web site was advocating and promoting," said Blount, "and in my opinion, it is diametrically opposed to the values of the North Carolina Republican Party ... As state party chairman, I support the definition of marriage as being a union sanctioned by God between a man and a woman. That is what the Republican Party talks about in its platform and will talk about this weekend."

On September 8, 2004, the Log Cabin Republicans chose to withhold endorsement of President Bush in the upcoming election on the grounds of his support for the same-sex marriage ban.

See also

External links

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