To Be Gay. To Be Republican.

May 7, 2014 in inQueery

Ron Paul supporters protest outside the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Jayel AheramEyebrows are raised, conversations are stalled, and looks are given when the topic comes up. As if it were a paradox that shouldn’t exist, the matter of gay republicans has been meet with either joyful glee or intense ire. One thing that is certain is that gay republicans often face a myriad of issues that come from both their own political party and their social circles as the overall climate slowly changes in favor of LBGT rights.

One detail that needs to be understood before examining the platform of being a gay republican is just how many there are. A figure to ascertain this was reported by the New York Times in November 2012; they reviewed exit polls which saw 22% of LBGT voters supporting Romney over Obama in the 2012 presidential election. While the Times article saw the LBGT vote as a crucial vote in the race, noting that it filled in a significant 5% bump for Obama, it became clear that the Republican party had failed to cater enough to LBGT-identifying citizens to secure a win for Romney. How could such a large gap in the LBGT demographic arise in the first place? This is an issue that has been addressed over the years in regards to where the two major parties have voted when it comes to legislation promoting equal rights.

One of the arguments commonly used to shape the discourse of being a gay republican comes from the idea that Republicans haven’t historically supported same-sex marriage rights. This was emphasized by Eric Ethington of LBGTQ nation in 2010 as he wrote “As a whole, Republicans hate us. Let me re-emphasize that, the Republican Party hates us. In fact, many of the State Republican Party platforms include provisions stating they want homosexuality criminalized.” While Ethington’s platform may have failed to move LBGTQ Republicans, there is also some support to be found within the party itself for LBGTQ voters.

Seeing a need for an increase in LBGTQ support, the GOP is beginning to realize that the voices calling for increased social reforms are ones they should be catering to if they expect to survive as a party. As of April 2014, the Nevada Republican party dropped statements on marriage from its party platform, making it the second state party in the nation to do so after Indiana’s GOP quietly jettisoned its plank in 2012.” What effect this has on voters who support marriage equality remains to be seen, but with other Republican figure-heads such as Dick Cheney also voicing support for changes in existing legislation, the issue of being a gay republican turns from one of clashing social ideologies to one of conflicting political positions.

As the social positions of both Democrats and Republicans shift in favor of marriage equality, it can only bring about positive changes in the political landscape. LBGTQ voters shouldn’t have to feel limited by an antiquated position on a social issue that is threatening to both pigeon-hole a substantial number of votes, and discount the entire platform of the GOP. At the same token, being a gay Republican becomes an easier idea to imagine when the party you support isn’t one that is wanting to actively restrict, or ban civil liberties that were promised when this country was founded.

J.J. Medina is a Writer at InQueery.
You can follow J.J.’s personal and business ramblings on Google+