By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Let us deal with this reality: The Republican Party is the majority party in Texas and the nation. Those of us who founded LCR knew that day was coming, and we wanted to make sure there was a voice of reason within the party to champion common sense. It is a noble cause and one that should be supported by all elements of the gay and lesbian equal rights movement. And the cause remains noble despite the odds.
Admittedly, LCR's Achilles' heel is the natural but deadly tendency to want to be "accepted" by the Republican Party. LCR must be wise enough to reject any leadership that is itself so partisan as to put party unity above what is right and just.
The real problem faced by the gay and lesbian equal rights movement on all sides is leadership's unwillingness to tolerate anyone who isn't politically correct, whether it's the traditional bias liberals have against conservatives or, regrettably, vice versa. The movement, each element unto its talents, must learn to embrace all factions and go forth against the real enemies: ignorance, bigotry, and complacency.
Robert Wade Brown
As a lifelong Republican and a gay Republican before Log Cabin existed, I found this past week's article to be superficial and shallow. It focuses on the problems in Texas while ignoring the successes at both the local and national levels.
Being a gay or lesbian Republican is not easy; but, the same could be said of gay Catholics, Southern Baptists, and any of a variety of gay and lesbian minorities. We at least understand the problem of bigotry and are willing to deal with it within our own party.
In the article, you have a quote from Paul von Wupperfeld about wanting to be a part of a party that is good for gay and lesbian people. The last time I saw him was in January 1996, when he and Andy Smith attended a Log Cabin dinner meeting. At this meeting, each of us spoke about which candidates we were supporting for President. Paul and Andy urged us to vote for Patrick Buchanan for president, hardly a friend of any gays or lesbians. This shocked the members in attendance, and it was the last time we saw them.
The article mentioned the endorsement of former Sen. Robert Dole for President in 1996. This was a hotly debated subject within Log Cabin, with each member in the country voting on this subject. The vote in Texas was not to endorse Sen. Dole; however, the vote nationally was to endorse the senator in his bid for the presidency.
You mention an unnamed Republican political consultant in Austin who claims Log Cabin is losing support among moderates. I think the opposite is true. If you look at the recent vote by the U.S. House on the Hefley amendment, 63 Republicans voted with Democrats to stop this anti-gay legislation. Also, the shabby treatment by the Texas Republican Party has backfired. We are gaining support one precinct at a time, which is the only way to win this war for the soul of the party.
The radical right represents only one-third of the total Republican primary vote in Texas. Several of their prominent candidates, including Tom Pauken, were defeated in the March 1998 primary. The radical right can be beat, and the big surprise is that Log Cabin may end up providing the leadership for the unorganized majority of Republican voters in Texas.
The article misses a great opportunity to discuss the Log Cabin Republicans and how they work in the Republican Party and with other Republicans. Log Cabin does not work with the religious right element in the GOP. We encourage our members to become precinct chairs and attend their neighborhood and county Republican conventions, all for the purpose of making the GOP a Big Tent party that advocates its historic commitment to equal opportunity for everyone. How is this "pledging allegiance" to the vicious portions of the GOP platform?
The Texas Republican Party is currently dominated by religious conservatives who hold disdain for free enterprise and individual rights. Sadly, these individuals freely oppose and persecute Governor Bush, Senator Hutchison, and any other elected GOP official who does not kowtow to their moral agenda.
Mainstream Republicans must stand up for what is right. It is almost the 21st century. Our society is sophisticated enough to stop treating gays and lesbians as second-class citizens. This was the point of our rally during the GOP state convention in Fort Worth last June.
President, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas