Though some have called his lifestyle a contradiction, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans Patrick Guerriero discussed the reality of being both gay and Republican at a Calhoun College Master’s Tea Wednesday.
In his talk, Guerriero said the Log Cabin Republicans are not endorsing President George W. Bush’s reelection because of Bush’s support of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. During the past two years, Guerriero toured America, advocating three main issues which he talked about at the tea — the right for recognition of gay, stable, monogamous relationships, the right for all gays to openly serve in the military and the ability for gays to openly participate in their churches.
The Log Cabin Republicans are the lone conservative voice in support of gay rights, Guerriero said. While Guerriero said there has been a contentious relationship between most gays and conservatives, he said he has personally found many conservatives in Congress and in the heartland of America receptive to gay issues when approached in a friendly and open manner.
“One conservative congressman from Texas told me, ‘You are the first person to talk to me about this stuff that wasn’t screaming at me,'” he said.
Guerriero said the future for advancing gay rights is hopeful as families across America, including Vice President Dick Cheney’s, are changing. Most Americans are fair-minded, not to the far left or far right of the political spectrum, he said.
Guerriero predicted the upcoming presidential election will be the last where gay rights will take center stage, because he said in the future being gay will become a non-issue.
“It will soon be impossible to use gays and lesbians as a wedge issue,” Guerriero said.
This year’s election marks the first time since the Log Cabin Republicans opened their offices in Washington, D.C. that they will not endorse the Republican presidential candidate.
“I was the one person responsible for asking the president not to amend the Constitution,” Guerriero said. “Hearing the announcement [of the amendment by the president] was a kick to the stomach. It was one of the toughest days of my life, professionally.”
Although hopeful that the United States will become more open to gays in the future, Guerriero said during the last few days of campaigning, the use of gay issues for political leverage will intensify.
“This will probably be one of the ugliest weekends in American politics,” he said.
Some audience members said they were curious to hear how it is possible that Guerriero supports both gay and Republican issues.
“I want to see how he will reconcile the obvious conflict of interest with his group and the Republican platform,” Anna Lvovsky ’07 said.
But some students said the talk left them more receptive to the possibility that conservative ideals are not incongruous with homosexuality.
“His approach to sexuality issues from a conservative ideology of non-interventionist government policy was very interesting,” Bill Fishel ’08 said.