Many of my blogging friends are conservative. And, although some of my conservative friends and colleagues are strongly in favor of gay rights and promoting the notion of marriage for all (such as Ted Olson), irrespective of sexual orientation, many are not.
Let us first stipulate: reasonable minds can disagree on the topic of gay marriage. After all, our very liberal president, Barack Obama, states that he is not a supporter of gay marriage. Nevertheless, what I believe we should not do is assume that gay people are "less than". If conservatives and Republicans want to win more elections and be able to implement the principles that are important to them, then they need a "big tent." Conservatives who happen to be gay should not be turned away at the door. At this year's CPAC convention, however, that is exactly what happened. Margaret Hoover explains.
This year, GOProud, an organization that I support, is conspicuously excluded from all formal participation despite co-sponsoring the convention for the last two years.
GOProud represents gay conservatives and their allies and I’ve been honored to serve on the Advisory Council for the last two years.
Unlike me, GOProud takes no position on same-sex marriage, nor has it supported any controversial liberally gay-right’s positions.
GOProud has instead argued that gays are natural conservatives, and that limited government, free-markets, and maintaining a strong national defense are principles that serve all Americans, including gay Americans.
Some conservative groups believe that a person cannot be both conservative and gay.
They believe that traditional lives cannot be led by those who have not traditionally been accepted by society.
They have confused the principles of freedom-- tenants to which conservatives willingly subscribe--with a person’s sexual orientation, a characteristic trait over which an individual has no control.
This lack of distinction, and the prejudice that follows, represent the most despicable impulses in American politics.
There are two reasons why conservatives should not turn out gay people. First and foremost - it's simply morally wrong. I am not saying that "being gay" isn't morally wrong (although I strongly believe this.) I am simply saying that we cannot reject people because we do not agree with everything about how they live their lives.
And secondly, we should not be rejecting the gay community for this important reason: it's a helluva lot harder to win elections without them. I truly know many gay people who embrace many of the same conservative and libertarian principles that I do - yet they cannot bring themselves to vote for candidates who essentially are telling them "you are not a worthwhile member of our society."
I have long thought that as more and more time passes, more of the bigots among us will no longer be with us. There is evidence that youth, even strongly religious youth, are far more accepting of gay people and gay marriage than earlier generations.
I submit that we should not wait. Let us create more of a Reagan "big tent" and allow all those who cherish values of liberty, free enterprise and personal responsibility to enter.