Social conservatives are firmly in control of the Republican convention. Some of the groups that had dissented in the past--such as Ann Stone’s Republicans for Choice--are not visible at this convention. The only vestige of the Republicans’ more tolerant past is the Log Cabin Republicans, the organization of gay Republicans. But instead of actively dissenting from the Republican platform--which backs state laws against gay marriage, and opposes gay adoption and the participation (in any form) of gays in the military--and pressuring John McCain to repudiate it, the Log Cabin Republicans have closed ranks behind the nominee and the party.
At a luncheon yesterday at St. Paul’s University Club, the organization enthusiastically endorsed McCain for president without voicing any dissatisfaction with the party’s drift. “Senator McCain has long had a friendly relationship with the Log Cabin Republicans,” president Pat Samuel told the crowd of several that filled about two-thirds of the table in the cavernous hall. I asked Jimmy La Salvia, the director of programs and policy, about the organization enthusiastically backing someone who had supported anti-gay marriage initiatives and was currently backing the initiative in California and who had chosen a vice president known for her anti-gay views. “McCain is not George Bush,” La Salvia declares. “He hasn’t made gay marriage into a web issue.” When I asked him about the platform, he demurred. Gay Republicans were making progress “in small steps,” he acknowledges. And what about Palin? “She says she has gay friends,” La Salvia tells me..
Correction: The president of the Log Cabin Republicans is Patrick Sammon.
--John B. Judis