Immediate Past RNC Party Chair Gillespie gets asked about Place of Gays in the GOP
Rich Tafel explains:
After his formal comments Ed engaged the audience in period of informal question and answer. One question was about immigration. Gillespie told the story of his first generation immigrant father from Ireland. He explained that this experience made him a proponent for immigration, though he described this issue as the most divisive in the GOP.
I knew there were deep divisions among Republicans on this issue, but I was surprised that he described it as the most divisive issue.
The theme of inclusion continued when Charles Francis who runs the Republican Unity Coalition asked the next question. The RUC was created in 2001 with hopes of becoming a gay straight alliance in the GOP.
The RUC surprised many Republicans when they declined to endorse Bush in 2004. Two Administration appointees of the group publicly refused to support the President and one resigned from his appointment in protest.
With that background it wasn't surprising that Francis asked about the place of gays in the GOP citing the record number of gays who voted for Bush. Gillespie gave a very thoughtful answer explaining that there was a place for gays in the GOP. He explained that he didn't support gay marriage based on his Catholic faith and asked rhetorically if
gays can respect his belief that gay marriage was wrong in the same way that he respects gays who believe it is right. Gillespie likened this issue to the abortion issue in the GOP.
Gillespie went on to explain that the GOP needed to reach out to all groups if the Party is to become a majority party. Ed stated that many gays were not single issue voters on gay marriage who voted for the President because they agree with him on many other issues other than gay marriage.
Then "TedB" in the comments mentioned the Lloydletta post of Frank Ricciazzi's account of how the relationship between the Bush campaign and Log Cabin Republicans unraveled.
Jan 17, 2005
Lloydletta posted an excerpt from Frank Ricchiazzi on a Bush campaign's withdrawl from engagement with the LCR so to campaign to the Evengelicals. How does this compare to Mr. Gillespie's comments? Was it a short-term brazen 'ploy' just for the election-season...or a signal that the enstragement will continue indefinitely? Especially in-light of Bush's 'abandonment' of FMA for the present. Seems like a lot of mixed signals.
Ted: Frank's take on the Bush team is one I've heard repeatedly from my many friends in the organization. It doesn't match up to the reality of conversations I had with Bush people throughout the campaign though. I'm not sure what experience Frank is basing his view of things. Politics surely played a role, but my sense is each side feels the other shut the door. Rich
Frank's basing his view of things from the perspective of Log Cabin Republicans staff. Clearly the RUC who Rich mentioned were also blindsided when Bush came out in support of the FMA.
I remember years back during Bush's first presidential campaign that Rich had many uncharitable things to say about Charles Francis. This was when Charles organized a group of gay Republicans (leaving Rich out) to meet with Bush. Jake Tapper covered the division within Log Cabin Republicans about this one.