President of Duke College Republicans Forced Out After Fellow Students Discover He’s Gay

Justin Robinette, the Chairman of the College Republicans at Duke University, was impeached last week for “conduct unbecoming of a person in a position of leadership” according to the Daily Tarheel.

Robinette The paper reports: "Carter Boyle, the new chairman of the chapter, said Robinette disrespected members of the board, deliberately ignored members of UNC’s College Republicans, did not attend events and used the organization’s funds for personal use."

Robinette, however, says he was forced out because fellow students found out he was gay.

Said Robinette: “Comments were made directly to me and my executive board before and after the meeting concerning my sexual orientation, calling me a supporter of the faggot center, calling me ironic, calling me disgusting."

The Daily Tarheel adds:

"Cliff Satell, former vice-chairman of the university’s College Republicans and president of the Duke Conservative Union, said he attended the meeting as a neutral observer. He said both sides were at fault, but he was appalled at the way the impeachment was carried out.

'There was no debate, no opportunity for rebuttal,' Satell said. 'It was clear back room deal-making had been done.'

Although several members of the organization’s executive board knew Robinette was gay, executive director Samuel Tasher found out only the weekend before the meeting took place, Satell and Robinette said.

'The fact that it went from a few people knowing to a lot of people knowing was a catalyst to his impeachment,' Satell said. 'If he wasn’t gay, he would still be chairman.'

Boyle, the new chairman, said Robinette’s sexuality wasn’t linked to the impeachment.

Boyle said Robinette used the chapter’s funds to buy Polo shirts and wrote them off as incidental purchases in February.

'He threatened to eliminate us from the board,' Boyle said. 'He treated us like second-class people.'”

Said Satell to the Duke Chronicle: “It was premeditated. It was set in stone before anything happened. These people, all of them, voted three weeks ago to re-elect Justin. And during the three weeks where it was discovered that he is gay… the next meeting that was held… he is impeached.”


  1. Strepsi says

    Note to Justin and to all “gay Republicans” — the official Republican position is that being gay is “conduct unbecoming of a person in a position of leadership”.

    The Republican party is anti-gay. Period. You can be a gay conservative just fine, but you can not have any sort of self-respect and be a gay Republican.

    You just can’t.

  2. says

    He was insulted by being called “ironic?” Seriously? After all of the vitriol of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Hannity, that’s what passes for insults in the young republican camp? Talk-radio and Fox News in 20 years will suck…

  3. canddieinnc says

    Robinette should send them a thank you note. The Duke club just saved this fool from years and years of being in the closet. Hey guy, don’t you get it? They really hate you.

  4. DougChgo says

    They called him “ironic”?! What does that even mean (in this context, that is)? Is it Millennialspeak or something)?

  5. Zach says

    Why don’t the Republicans save time by simply banning gays outright? They can include it in that loyalty oath that they have circulating.

  6. walter says

    just another example why all gays should do as i did leave the repuklicans. they don’t want us. logcabin and goproud are all just kidding themselves. the few things you may have in common with them is not worth your self views do not equal life and freedom. the repuklicans don’t want us and have proved it over and over. the repuklicans don’t believe in human rights for anyone other than them shelves

  7. Rolph says

    He’s at Duke, wearing Polo shirts. Almost bet Mummy & Daddy got him in, a family heritage thing. Daddy was a young Republican, and he’s following in those footsteps to keep his tuition paid.

    However, his Republican brothers just saved him from the future bathroom stall/sleeping with a page/crotch grabbing the colleagues- incident that would someday have certainly derailed the career of this future Republican lawmaker would have been headed towards.

  8. Eugene says


    “They called him “ironic”?! What does that even mean (in this context, that is)?”

    He’s like raaa-eee-aaaain on their wedding day? :-)

  9. says

    Sorry, I’m glad. Maybe now he understands why the rest of us aren’t republicans! time to re-think what you’ve been taught, buddy.

  10. Ben says

    He’s cute, but I can’t muster up any sympathy whatever for a gay Republican. Oxymoron.

  11. Jack M says

    You can’t be gay and in a position of leadership? You can if you’re a Republican member of Congress – happens all the time.

  12. Rob West says

    Well, later in life he will thank them.
    Republicans like the Catholic Church don’t want us.
    I went to parochial school, went to mass before classes every day, except Saturday, about church, I still enjoy the architecture.
    When I was a young boy, we knew to be wary of Priests and what they might do with young boys, it was understood and brushed aside.

  13. Eugene says


    “He’s cute, but I can’t muster up any sympathy whatever for a gay Republican. Oxymoron.”

    I agree. Gay Republicans – as well as gay Christians – deserve no sympathy.

  14. bunker says

    If this hadn’t happened he’d probably have ended up unhappily married with 2.5 kids and living a lie while running for public office.

  15. Terrance says

    Oh, look at him, he’s adorable…! He looks like a puppy; part of me wants to adopt him — though I suppose him referring to me as a “tax-and-spend liberal” could get a little boring after a while.

    It always amuses me when young people adopt conservative Republican viewpoints (quite frankly, it’s an ‘old folk’s’ party); even more so when those same young people discover that that their adoptive conservative Republican viewpoints manages to get themselves excluded just because they’re homo..!

  16. says

    “You can’t be gay and in a position of leadership? You can if you’re a Republican member of Congress – happens all the time.”

    Sure — for self-loathing closet cases like Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, David Drier

  17. jomicur says

    “conduct unbecoming of a person in a position of leadership”???

    What, exactly, does “leadership” in the Young Republicans consist of, then? Did he not give good enough blowjobs?

  18. MichaelB says

    “…calling me a supporter of the faggot center, calling me ironic, calling me disgusting.”

    I don’t know if he supported the “faggot” center or not but it’s pretty clear that the other two charges are accurate.

    DOUGCHGO, the word “ironic” is often used to note incongruity, as in “gay Republican”. This situation would fit that usage perfectly.

    As far as “disgusting”, it seems clear that most Republicans consider gay people to be disgusting and I would bet that most gay people consider being a Republican, especially a gay Republican, to be disgusting.

    So that just leaves in question whether or not he supported the ‘”faggot” center’.

  19. Johnny U. S. Marine says

    Republicans, they’ll gladly take your money, and your vote, they just won’t take you(unless it’s in the bathroom at the airport). What’s ironic is “gay Republican(ie: Larry Craig)”, “gay Christian(ie: Ted Haggard)”, “dumb ivy leaguer(ie:George Bush)”.

  20. J.P. says

    What’s outrageous to me is the level of self-denial by Robinette. Was he under the assumption that once his Republican group had to confront the reality of his sexuality they’d take him to a bathhouse and all have some brotherly fun? Oh Bitch, please. Wake up, Robinette. They HATE you and people like us. Hopefully he’ll be able to see the poor decisions made by his intense self-loathing. Sad.

  21. Nathanial says

    Boyle said. ‘He treated us like second-class people.’

    Yeah, and I just bet he managed to do that with a straight face, too. Friggin’ arsehole doesn’t know the *meaning* of “second-class people”. And these freaks have the nerve to be calling someone ELSE “ironic”.

  22. says

    Poor lamb. It must be a shock to realize that the vast majority of republicans think we’re disgusting.

    It’s best that he learned it sooner rather than later.

  23. yeahisaidit says

    Man, after reading these comments I hope each and every one of you will help head off the Repugs during this years mid-term elections…What? All I hear about is how the dems will be slaughtered…I can at least hope can’t I?

  24. Dan says

    I’m not sure if we’re reading a different story but he was out to some people on the exec team.

    So he’s out. But just not saying it. So not sure if he would’ve gone down the married root.

    Gay Conservatives need to start their own groups in the US.

  25. Gabe R L says

    As someone closely associated with Duke University I am appalled at this story happening.

  26. arch says

    I went to an elite university here in the UK and became involved in the debating union for fun, I had and have no great political views.

    I enjoyed most of my involvement in the debating union. There inevitably were also a lot of student politicians involved in the debating union. I learned several things about the sort of students who get involved in party politics :

    1. There are a lot of closeted gays in al the parties, but especially in right ming parties. In fact it was a bit of a joke at uni about the number of closeted gays in the young conservatives, even they laughed about it, quite a few have come out since.

    2. Student politics especialy on the right wing involves a lot of back stabbing – it is where they learn how to shit on each other to use latewr in their political lives.

    3. These people do not have any compunction about what they do to get on, accordingly I have little sympathy for grown up politicians who seek sympathy when it all goes wrong later in their careers (especially those on the right who are normally more vicious even at uni.)

    4. I experienced first hand how nasty these kiddy politicians can be when I stood for a post in the debating union, a gang of conservative students organised a totally disproportionate smeer campaign to discredit me. Since then I have always viewed all politicians with distain and caution.

    Hopefully this young man has learnt his lession, right wing political types are not nice and in truth have lesser souls than the rest of us. If this young man gets the hell out of any future involvement with right wing party politics his life will be richer and happier.

    He might even be able to spend his talents helping in local politics which in the US actulally has the ability to change things.

  27. Travis says

    Douche bags.

    I think this actually doesn’t even represent where most young republicans are these days on gay rights.

    I think it speaks more to the fucktards at Duke. What a bastion of overrated, pretentious, WASPy, atlanta suburb, boat shoe wearing hand jobs…

  28. BRAIN says

    This proud gay-man cannot muster the energy to express any sympathy for this fool, or for anybody that belongs to the Log Cabin group.

    Being in bed with Republicans is “nearly” equal to sleeping with Hitler!

  29. John says

    He is the victim of a witch hunt.

    I want to get that unequivocal condemnation of the Duke GOP executive board’s behavior out of the way quickly because it needs to be said.

    But, like many here, I am finding it difficult to get too pissed off over an arrogant white man getting hoisted on his own petard. It is worth noting that only a few weeks ago the man was organizing tea parties questioning the legitimacy of Obama, railing against Hispanic immigration, and what not. One cannot openly support racism and then expect that other forms of hate – like homophobia – won’t creep in at some point. Mr. Robinette’s dismissal is unacceptable in principle. But it is also not anything I would lose sleep over.

  30. danny says

    poor Justin – I think you are all being unnecessarily harsh. He has the right to make dumb decisions and learn from his mistakes just like everyone else. None are born perfect.

    I myself was raised Republican in a very conservative household. It took a minute for me to shake that crap off, but I did, because I realized that the Republican Party’s views did not match my own personal views and that the views I was holding on to only to keep myself socially safe in that circle weren’t going to make me happy. It can be a little difficult if you’re raised in an environment where you have little to no exposure to the other side.

    Justin’s realizing that the Republican Party’s interests don’t lie with him. This will hopefully cause him to re-evaluate the conservative’s stance on a few other key issues. Point is, give the kid some slack. Seriously, if he were to read these comments, he’d probably conclude that the liberals are just as cruel as the conservatives. And guess what? You’d be proving him right.

    Live and let learn.

  31. says

    As someone who went to Duke, I can so absolutely believe that this is happening exactly as it is happening. My former partner went to Oberlin, where they taught people how to think. My “Duke Experience” was that the rich, privileged kids ruled, and they were not interested in intellectual debate. Of any kind.

    Wake up, kid; see what your world is made of.

  32. Robert in SF says

    I don’t think we have all of the facts in this case. It could be they really did impeach him as a result of his impropriety and he is using the claim of bias against gays in his own defense.

    I think he should make the case that they don’t have any evidence of the charges, or he should explain any circumstances around the charges. If he can deflect the charges with enough credibility, then we can move on to his claims, which the neutral observer quoted here seems to support.

    However, this situation may be more complicated than we will know. He could have been targeted for impeachment because he is gay, and the formerly overlooked improprieties were finally being held against him. In other words, both sides may be right.

    The gay<>member of the Republic party stance doesn’t mean anything really, since it seems that everyone defines the Republic party according to their own standards/precepts. So maybe he was a member to get them to a place of their supposed origins, government involved less and less in personal liberties and more in national defense. But the party seems to have been co-opted by the “Religious” Right and social conservatives (read: social restrictives) and not small-government types.

    We don’t know….

  33. Gry says

    I can never muster sympathy for Uncle Toms, and only a gay young Republican would misappropriate funds to buy freakin’ polo shirts.

    The real perversity here: he’s leaning on minority status/unfair dismissal after gladly bowing to a party philosophy that claims it doesn’t have to abide by equal rights legislation.

    Now is the time to look inward, Two Face.

  34. Julian says

    If you are following your story online and happen to stumble upon these comments, know that there ARE groups of people who will accept you as a human being. Do not take the comments of the bitter queens on this website to be an indication of anything – they represent the conservative mindset a lot more than the liberal mindset. How? They are filled with irrational hate and condemnation towards anyone who doesn’t fall exactly in line with how they view life. They do not represent the gay community at large and they certainly don’t represent the liberal community. They represent a small minority of gays who are so starved for social interaction that the only way they can get it is through the comments page on Towleroad.

    Keep going, Justin. Keep learning and expanding yourself. Education will elevate you above all of the Republicans who would exclude you simply because you are gay, as well as all the liberals who would exclude you simply because you were once Republican.

  35. Chris says

    @Eugene There are all sorts of Chrisianity. Some very liberal and welcoming denominations (UCC, Episcopalians, even Evangelical Lutherans) please don’t lump every Christian together. You wouldn’t want every gay person lumped together, you shouldn’t do it either. Episcopal Bishops Gene Robinson and Mary Glasspool (who are gay) would deserve “no sympathy” either if people listened to you.

  36. BCNKC says

    Since when does “deliberately ignoring college republicans at UNC” get you impeached at Duke? I’m confused!

  37. ChristopherM says

    People at Duke behave like douchebags? College Republicans behave like douchebags? Quelle surprise.

  38. Eugene says


    “There are all sorts of Christianity.”

    By the same logic, there are all sorts of Republicans. Some of them support gay marriage and pick openly gay running mates (the Massachusetts story). If you really believe that we shouldn’t lump people together, we clearly should support Justin, not condemn him for joining the group.

    On the other hand, we can acknowledge the fact that pro-gay Republicans make the entire party stronger (including its anti-gay members). Similarly, even pro-gay Christians legitimize the foundations of Christianity (including its anti-gay branches).

    Both viewpoints seem to be valid.

    “You wouldn’t want every gay person lumped together, you shouldn’t do it either.”

    I’m not buying this comparison. Republicans and Christians are self-selecting ideological groups. No one is born a Republican. In effect, they lump themselves together, and we surely can judge them on the basis of their loyalty to predominantly anti-gay organizations/ideologies.

  39. Jamesstone says

    Being gay and being a member of the Republican party is kind of like being Jewish and being a member of the nazi party!

  40. Callie says

    If he hadn’t been outed and ousted, he’d be sitting there at the head of a friggin campus Republican club, suppressing gay and minority campus activities, promoting the Right Wing agenda, sponsoring Ann Coulter brunches, etc. I say leave the traitor to the wolves.

  41. Blue Devil says

    Justin’s impeachment was in the works well before he came out and absolutely nothing changed afterward. He was impeached for being incompetent, embezzling money and neglecting his duties as chair. There is no proof other than Robinette’s allegations that there were any anti-gay remarks or sentiments within the Duke CRs and the fact that I know and have worked with these people means that I can confidently assert that there simply is no bigot conspiracy within the club.

    The fact is that Robinette is running for a position on Duke’s student government and he knew that his campaign would be toast once word got around that he was impeached for stealing and poor leadership. Thus he concocted this homophobe story and is using the gay community to help paint him as a victim and attempting to escape the repercussions of his actions.

  42. Tony says

    When you remove homophobia from the Republican Party what remains is gender bias, racism, classism. I am finding it difficult to have any sympathy for this guy.

  43. art says

    Rude awakening… sorry, but a bet this guy like every gay republican goes by my politic is not my sexuality, blah, blah, blah.. but I bet he is a gay man first now.

  44. LincolnLounger says

    Hate on Republicans all you want, but the fact is that the gay community is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party. As such, our agenda is ignored, and our support and money is taken for granted. We have boxed ourselves into a corner. Gay Republicans should be encouraged, not savaged by a bunch of toxic queens. It seems those who beg for tolerance are the least likely to give it.

  45. Bryan Harrison says

    Lucky for this kid they bounced him now. It’s much better to take it on the chin in college and rethink being a Jew for Hitler than find yourself a middle-aged Senator passing toilet paper notes in highway rest stops.

  46. majii says

    It’s time for the republicans to come clean and admit that one’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with one’s ability. Many of them are in the closet and need to liberate themselves. All of this posturing and denial is disgusting when most of us know that a lot of them are gay. There’s no shame in being gay. To me, it’s just like I happened to have been born African American. I have no problem with it. The problem comes when others make a conscious decision to discriminate against those who differ from themselves. I have never believed that a just God doesn’t love every one of his children, including me with my dark complexion. This group has wronged this young man mainly because it could do it and get away with it. May they live to reap the bigotry that they sow. Karma is a mean old b!tch.

  47. TANK says

    Yeah, when a gay republican acts all shocked and indignant about how closed minded, stupid and bigoted his fellow republicans are, it’s white noise. “I had no idea that you nazis didn’t like JEWS! Why I never…I’ll take my business elsewhere post haste, thank you very much! I’m so offended..rabble rabble rabble!” It’s like david frum imploring his party to drop the crazy before it’s too late…it’s funny only when you realize that he’s a part of the problem.

    Fuck this kapo! Why can’t they all stay in the closet where they belong?

  48. John in Boston says

    There are ‘Closeted’ Republicans and Democrats. There are openly gay Republicans and Democrats. There are ahole, corrupt, Republican and Democratic frauds. There are also decent and honorable people in both parties.

    The machines and powers that be behind both parties are at the end of the day one and the same.

    True believers always amuse and often frighten me.

  49. Derek says

    –“They called him “ironic”?! What does that even mean (in this context, that is)?”–

    Why assume they know what the word “ironic” means? Having grown up Republican one can only imagine how resistant they must be to “book-learnin’,” and they certainly aren’t likely to be interested in anything their college instructors have to teach them, except maybe how to sucker poor people into signing predatory mortgages. They probably think “ironic” is another word for “gay.”

  50. Dakotahgeo says

    OMGod!!! How 18th Century of the Repugs! Next they’ll be rending their hoop skirts while reciting the Apostle’s Creed!

  51. chichi says

    Welcome to the world of Republican Americans! A bunch of hypocrites! Am sure there are more gay, bible toting hypocrites hiding. Like the fool that hired a gay escort and had sex with him. You Republicans are fool of s..t!

  52. Terr says

    The haters on here are quite a shock since they’re considered “open-minded.” Gays are alive and kicking in the Church and the Republican party (GOPride).