Republican Homosexual Advocacy Group Won't Endorse Bush for Re-election

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - A Republican homosexual advocacy group has decided to withhold its endorsement of President Bush for re-election and instead "shift" its financial and political resources to "defeating the radical right."

Instead, the Log Cabin Republicans' National Board voted 22 to 2 to support "inclusive" Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, marking the first time since the group opened its national office that the group has not endorsed a Republican nominee for president.

"Certain moments in history require that a belief in fairness and equality not be sacrificed in the name of partisan politics; this is one of those moments," said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Patrick Guerriero, in a statement.

"The national board's vote empowers Log Cabin to maintain its integrity while furthering our goal of building a more inclusive Republican Party. Log Cabin is more committed than ever to its core mission to build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party," Guerriero said.

"There is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, and that fight is bigger than one platform, one convention, or even one President," he added.

The move was just what the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force had hoped for.

"Taking such a principled stand and being so direct in saying why is risky, gutsy and courageous," Matt Foremen, executive director, and Rea Carey, deputy executive director, said in a statement.

"We urge all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Republicans to support Log Cabin and its extraordinary Executive Director Patrick Guerriero as they fight to take their party back from the forces of religious and political extremism," they said.

"Every victory by fair-minded Republicans is a victory for the future of our party. We have made it clear that we can either be the party of [California Gov.] Arnold Schwarzenegger and [former New York Mayor] Rudy Giuliani or we can be the party of [Illinois U.S. Senate candidate] Alan Keyes and [Pennsylvania Sen.] Rick Santorum," Guerriero said.

Guerriero's group has "proudly" supported the president's "firm leadership" in the war on terror, in cutting taxes, his belief in free market principles and his "historic leadership" in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

"At the same time, it is impossible to overstate the depth of anger and disappointment caused by the President's support for an anti-family Constitutional Amendment. This amendment would not only ban gay marriage, it would also jeopardize civil unions and domestic partnerships," said Log Cabin Political Director Chris Barron.

"For six months, the President has made it clear what he opposes. He opposes civil marriage equality; however he has failed to articulate clearly what he supports," Barron said.

"Does he support federal civil unions? Does he support domestic partnerships? Does he support tax fairness for gay and lesbian couples? Does he support employment non-discrimination? Does he support hate crimes legislation? Does he support allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly and honestly?" he asked.

"An organization's endorsement means nothing if it does not have to be earned," Barron concluded.

"Some will accuse us of being disloyal. However, it was actually the White House who was disloyal to the 1,000,000 gay and lesbian Americans who supported him four years ago," Guerriero said.

Guerriero said his group's decision was in response to the White House's "strategic political decision to pursue a re-election strategy catered to the radical right."

"The President's use of the bully pulpit, stump speeches and radio addresses to support a Constitutional amendment has encouraged the passage of discriminatory laws and state constitutional amendments across America. Using gays and lesbians as wedge issues in an election year is unacceptable to Log Cabin," he added.

Guerriero said during the Republican National Convention, the party's platform adopted "vicious and mean-spirited language that marginalizes gay and lesbian Americans."

The Log Cabin Republicans praised the Bush administration for earlier "significant victories" by maintaining existing "anti-discrimination protections" for federal employees, appointing openly homosexual employees throughout the administration, a continued dialogue with the group and the extension of survivor benefits to homosexual partners who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 attacks.

But those successes were "short-lived," the group said.

"Last year, a dramatic and disappointing shift occurred rooted in Karl Rove's public acknowledgment that the 2004 re-election campaign would focus on turning out four million more evangelicals who he believed stayed home in 2000," said Guerriero.

"During the fight over the anti-family FMA [Federal Marriage Amedment], we sadly watched as the President and his Administration leaned on Republican members of the House and Senate to support this divisive and unnecessary amendment," he said.

"We watched as the President's support for this anti-family amendment emboldened the forces of fear and exclusion to push anti-gay ballot initiatives and legislation on the state and local level," Guerriero said.

"We watched as the radical right works to defeat fair-minded Republicans across the nation. We watched as the Republican Party Platform rejected our Party Unity Plank and included language opposing not only civil marriage but also civil unions, domestic partnerships or indeed any basic benefits for same-sex couples," he added.

Guerriero also expressed disappointment with the administration's stance on homosexuals in the military.

"At a time when courageous gay and lesbian military personnel are helping to win the war on terror, the platform outrageously claims 'homosexuality is incompatible with military service,'" he said.

Log Cabin Republicans opened its national office in Washington, D.C., in 1993. It endorsed Bob Dole in 1996 and then-governor George W. Bush in 2000. According to exit polls, over 1 million homosexuals voted for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in the 2000 election, including nearly 50,000 in Florida alone.

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