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Purportedly pro-LGBT civil rights conservative org GOProud endorses Romney

I happen to personally like some of the folks at GOProud, even though I completely disagree with its focus on economics over civil rights for LGBTs. The bottom line is that the LGBT community needs to have adequate representation in the GOP overall to advance our rights, but  it should not come at the expense of self-respect when choosing to endorse a candidate who has sided with the virulently anti-gay forces in the GOP.

GOProud is not just passively endorsing Mitt Romney, it will “commit significant resources” to work for his election, despite this candidate’s promise not respect or expand the individual rights of taxpaying LGBTs by getting in bed with the likes of the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council. GOProud’s press release in full:

(Washington, D.C.) – Last night, the Board of Directors of GOProud – a national organization of gay and straight Americans seeking to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights – voted to endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) for President.  “The Board of Directors of GOProud voted to enthusiastically endorse Governor Romney’s candidacy for President,” said Lisa De Pasquale, interim Chair of the GOProud Board of Directors and the former Director of CPAC.  “GOProud is prepared to commit significant resources to help make Mitt Romney the next President of the United States.”

In the 2010 midterms, GOProud was the first organization representing gay Americans to run television ads against Democratic candidates.  The GOProud ad was praised by Frank Luntz as “one of the best of the cycle.”

“Most gay Americans – like their straight counterparts – are not better off than they were 4 years ago,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud Executive Director.  “The truth is that gay people are living in the disastrous failed Obama economy too.”

“President Obama and his friends on the left want this election to be about divisive social issues, because the President’s record on jobs and the economy is indefensible,” continued LaSalvia.  “At this critical juncture, we need a President with the experience and expertise to turn this economy around.  Someone who knows how the free markets work – former Governor Mitt Romney is that candidate.”

“Not only does President Obama not understand how the free markets work – he is openly hostile to free market capitalism,” said LaSalvia.  “President Obama’s repeated attacks on Governor Romney’s private sector record underscore this President’s fundamental lack of understanding of how our economy works.  Instead of demonizing free markets, President Obama should be focused on creating an economic environment that encourages free market investments and creates jobs.”

“It is clear that the ‘hope and change’ of candidate Obama in 2008, has been replaced with ‘jealousy and envy,’” said LaSalvia.  “Obama’s divisive attacks appeal to the absolute worst in Americans.”

GOProud is the first and only organization representing gay Americans to endorse Governor Romney’s Presidential bid.  “The truth is that this election is too important to wait or to sit on the sidelines,” continued LaSalvia.  “We plan on spending every day between now and November working to make Obama a one term President.”

“For far too long, the gay left in this country has been allowed to dictate what they believe qualify as ‘gay issues.’  We think that jobs, the economy, healthcare, retirement security and taxes are all ‘gay issues,’ and on every single one of those issues, Mitt Romney is light years better than President Obama,” said LaSalvia.

The GOProud endorsement was not, however, a unanimous one.  Two members of the GOProud Board voted against the Romney endorsement.

“We don’t agree with Governor Romney on every single issue – indeed with disagree strongly with him on his support for a federal marriage amendment and we have urged Romney publicly to take bolder and more conservative stances on tax reform, entitlement reform and spending,” said LaSalvia.  “Given the vote on our board, obviously not everyone in our organization will agree with this endorsement, and we respect that.”

“While I voted to endorse Governor Gary Johnson, and will continue to personally support his campaign, I understand and respect the decision of the GOProud Board,” said Christopher R. Barron, GOProud co-founder.  “I appreciate the thoughtfulness the Board of Directors of GOProud put into this decision.”

GOProud will commit significant resources to electing Mitt Romney President.  GOProud will also have a large presence at the RNC in September, where they will hold their annual Homocon event.

An organization like GOProud could decide to sit out and not endorse, or select another candidate (which, as you saw, Chris Barron did). The Log Cabin Republicans has not announced an endorsement yet. One has to decide whether it’s that important to be in the tent with members of a party who have no problem socializing with you in private (or even public social events) and whose agenda includes crapping on you via policy, and kicking you out of conservative event sponsorship.

There are plenty of conservatives on the side of LGBT rights — take Ted Olson,former US Solicitor General under President George W. Bush and lead attorney with David Boies in challenging California’s Proposition 8 in federal court. He wrote the eloquent “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.” His support allowed many conservatives to come out of the closet in favor of LGBT rights.

Despite that conservative argument here, Mitt Romney doesn’t support marriage equality (and he cannot even articulate what rights he’d deny lesbian and gay couples with “civil unions” in order to keep marriage heterosupremacist).

As I noted last week, a laundry list of pro-LGBT “Cinderella Crumbs”, or policy changes/executive orders that can be undone by the next president, and given Mitt’s fealty to the haters, it’s likely he’d undo as many as he could to placate the far right. GOProud’s decision, at least in its statement, just ignores this as a possibility.

And it’s a false argument to say that protecting and advancing civil equality is more important than creating jobs, health care or any number of issues on the table.  It’s the fact that Romney has promised a specifically anti-LGBT agenda. If he had been benign on the matter, then we’d just disagree about who would best fix the economy or address health care, etc. This is about asking what level of anti-gay rhetoric and promises rise to the level of unacceptability that an organization like GOProud would withhold an endorsement. Calling for our extinction?


Reaction from National Stonewall Dems:

“It takes a lot of chutzpah – and not a small amount of delusion – for a gay organization to find room to endorse a staunchly anti-LGBT candidate like Mitt Romney,” said National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jerame Davis. “Not only has he gone on record repeatedly stating his anti-LGBT positions, he’s put his bigotry in writing. Last year, Romney signed the National Organization for Marriage’s anti-LGBT pledge that, among other things, calls for a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in addition to McCarthy-style investigations of the LGBT community.

“That alone should be enough to deny any candidate an endorsement,” continued Davis. “Apparently GOProud is more interested in toadying up to the GOP establishment and making excuses for their bigoted behavior than they are in pushing that party forward on LGBT equality. It’s sad, really, when you think about it: there are two gay conservative organizations on the national scene and neither seems willing to stand up to the anti-LGBT hatred in the Republican Party.

“Gay conservatives deserve better representation and should demand a retraction of this endorsement and demand that the organizations that represent them never compromise their integrity for partisan politics.”

* Here you go: LGBT rights advances under President Obama that President Romney could undo

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding