A gay GOP group has issued a "qualified endorsement" of Mitt Romney for president. Log Cabin Republicans announced the endorsement on Oct. 23, the morning after the final presidential debate between Romney and Barack Obama.
"The decision to endorse is the right one for our members, our community, and for the nation as a whole," said LCR executive director R. Clarke Cooper. "Despite our disagreement with Gov. Romney on the issue of marriage, on balance it is clear that in today’s economic climate, concern for the future of our country must be the highest priority. We are Republicans, and we agree with Gov. Romney’s vision for America in which success is a virtue, equal opportunity is ensured, and leaders recognize that it is the American people, not government, that build our nation and fuel its prosperity."
National Stonewall Democrats, an LGBT Democratic group, was quick to react. NSD executive director Jerame Davis said, "The Log Cabin Republicans have proven once and for all that they are not an organization aligned with the LGBT movement. They are a Republican front group bumbling their way into fooling LGBT voters that it's OK to support a party that would legislate us back into the closet."
The lengthy explanation from Log Cabin began with a review of LCR's stated purpose: "Log Cabin Republicans work within the GOP to make the conservative case for pro-equality policies and legislation. Since Log Cabin’s founding in the late 1970s, we have believed in a simple idea: building a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party requires Republicans reaching out to Republicans."
LCR, which already has made a series of endorsements in U.S. House and Senate races, said, "The freedom to work without fear of discrimination, the freedom to serve in our nation’s military, and the freedom to marry are all issues of vital importance. As we considered our endorsement decision, we did not degrade these issues as irrelevant, nor did we overlook the harm that is done to the Republican brand when our standard-bearers appear to be caught up in an outdated culture war."
The group condemned anti-LGBT aspects of the GOP platform but said "we are still able to cheer the vision for America which was presented in Tampa, where success is a virtue, equal opportunity is ensured, and leaders recognize that it is the American people, not government, that build our nation and fuel its prosperity."
LCR said Obama failed at job creation, pushed an expenseive and intrusive health care bill, presided over a credit downgrade and also a national debt that has topped $16 trillion.
"If LGBT issues are a voter's highest or only priority, then Governor Romney may not be that voter's choice," LRC said. "However, Log Cabin Republicans is an organization representing multifaceted individuals with diverse priorities. Having closely reviewed the candidate’s history and observed the campaign, we believe Governor Romney will make cutting spending and job creation his priorities, and, as his record as Governor of Massachusetts suggests, will not waste his precious time in office with legislative attacks on LGBT Americans."
The organization said it is confident that a Romney administration will not reinstate "don't ask, don't tell," the anti-gay policy that both Romney and Paul Ryan said they supported. LCR also said it can work with Romney on workplace discrimination legislation. "And," stated LRC, "for those people who point fearfully to potential vacancies on the United States Supreme Court, we offer a reminder: five of the eight federal court rulings against DOMA were written by Republican-appointed judges. Mitt Romney is not Rick Santorum, and Paul Ryan is not Michele Bachmann. Otherwise, our decision would have been different."
The statement went on to say that "after long consideration, weighing input from our members and chapters, and dialogue with the Mitt Romney campaign and the candidate, the National Board of Directors of the Log Cabin Republicans have elected to issue a qualified endorsement for Governor Romney for president."
Another GOP group focused on gay issues, GOPRoud Inc., endorsed Romney earlier this year. LCR, earlier in the year, had said if it endorsed in the presidential race, it would not do so before the national convention in late August. When LCR released a series of congressional endorsements but nothing on the Romney-Ryan ticket, there was speculation that the group would not make an endorsement in the race.
Davis, of Stonewall, said Log Cabin's "endorsement of Mitt Romney isn't just shameful – it's insulting. Mitt Romney stands for nothing positive for LGBT people. He supports a federal marriage amendment – which was a reason for Log Cabin to refuse to endorse George W. Bush in 2004. He supports McCarthy-like investigations into our community for evidence of 'harassment of Christians'. He opposes the repeal of DOMA. He opposes ENDA. He's even said things as basic as the right to visit your sick or dying loved one in the hospital is a 'privilege' and not a right."
Earlier this month, before the second debate, Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz said, "Romney likes to portray himself as a compassionate figure who would never want to discriminate against anyone, but his policies point to just the opposite. Mitt Romney advocates against issues that impact virtually every area of an LGBT person’s life – from their ability to marry the person they love and start a family, to ensuring they can’t be fired from their job simply because of who they are, even down to making it more difficult to address bullying in schools."
HRC endorsed Obama for re-election early in the campaign cycle.
Numerous other LGBT groups also have endorsed the president. So has the Wisconsin Gazette.
On the Web…
The Log Cabin endorsement:
Note: This report will be updated with reaction.