2012 Election | Mitt Romney | News | Ron Paul

A Snapshot Of Iowa's Gay Conservative Voters

LGBTiowaTraveling around Iowa to cover today's caucuses, Washington Blade journalist Chris Johnson met up with some often overlooked voters: young gay men willing to confess Republican-leanings. Well, five of them, anyway.

"I come from a farming family, so it’s conservative or Catholic," said a 21-year old, Bryan Pulda. "Our personal views are more reflected in the Republican candidates.”

Ryan Schrader also traced his political leanings to his family, saying, “I come from a very conservative background myself. My family is very conservative Baptists." Like Pulda and so many other Iowa voters, Schrader's faith also influences his political preference. In this case, Ron Paul. "His views are more towards letting the people, which would be all of us, make the decisions to shape our country."

Another gay Paul supporter, 21-year old Dereck Plagmann, pointed to the candidate's calls for strict constitutional originalism, "I think it’s something that we’ve definitely drifted away from."

"We need to get back to it basically," he said. "Other presidents, everybody’s trying to make changes to it. They’ve lost focus on what really made this country, and what made us who we are.”

Mitt Romney is also getting some love in Iowa. CJ Peterson, 21, tells Johnson he's impressed by Romney's emotional evolution since his last campaign in 2008. "If you compare the YouTube videos from ’08 to now, he seems a lot less robotic and choppy and nervous," he explained. "I think he seems a lot more relaxed, and almost presidential, ready to be a leader.”

So, why would openly gay men support candidates like Romney and Paul, neither of whom have stellar records when it comes to equality? Pulda says he supports the GOP, yet no specific candidate yet, because he has worries other than inclusion. "I would find it almost selfish for me to go out and say, ‘I vote for this person simply because they want same-sex marriage,'” he explained. “There are so many more problems in this country affecting more people than just me.”

I guess that's fair enough, but then one has to ask themselves whether the Republicans have all the answers on corporate regulation, global warming or other issues as important for the nation's future. Clearly these men think they do, and many other LGBT people probably do, too. But isn't voting for someone based on their religion just the same?

It is worth noting, however, that none of these men showed support for the most anti-gay candidates, including Rick Santorum, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, so clearly there is some LGBT interest afoot.

In other gay election news, Google interviewed Johnson to get his perspective on Iowa, the race as a whole and where the GOP stands on LGBT equality. Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. How, oh how, can you be both gay + GOPer? How can you support any current Rethuggist presidential candidate when none of them have YOUR best interests in mind?? How can you live with yourself by supporting a party, a platform, a candidate that would rather see you and others like you deep in the closet - out of sight and out of mind??? Conservative GOPer gays...as hard as I try, I just don't get them.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jan 3, 2012 1:24:39 PM

  2. More ignorant Iowa bashing in 3...2...1...

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 3, 2012 1:25:04 PM

  3. So they're traitors, basically. Not sure where the logic is in thinking it's "selfish" to desire equal rights???

    Posted by: JD | Jan 3, 2012 1:25:39 PM

  4. Corn 24/7. This is what happens.

    Posted by: uffda | Jan 3, 2012 1:27:17 PM

  5. What a group of real charmers. A real cross-section of America. So glad the vote is in their hands!

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jan 3, 2012 1:28:48 PM

  6. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ It's all about the money. They don't care if they are treated unequally, as long as they can protect their inheritances and bank accounts.

    Posted by: Tracy | Jan 3, 2012 1:30:32 PM

  7. So boys, when do you become men? When do you stop being your parents, and switch to being from them but your own person? When do you start, and stop, questioning? If you choose this for yourself, well, I guess it's your business. But believing that your rights are unimportant and have less value; believing that you are less deserving of respect and equality, is worth questioning.

    Posted by: TJ | Jan 3, 2012 1:33:36 PM

  8. I've heard the phrase spoken by many Republican gays,

    "I feel more comfortable being gay around Republicans than I do being Republican around gays."

    One only needs to read comments on threads like these to see why miopia is in the eye of the beholder.

    "It is worth noting, however, that none of these men showed support for the most anti-gay candidates ... so clearly there is some LGBT interest afoot." You write this condescendingly like expected them to be mentally retarded, but found out they weren't.

    Posted by: Cinesnatch | Jan 3, 2012 1:35:51 PM

  9. Ummm, note to these fools. The GOP just doesn't want marriage equality, they want you dead.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Jan 3, 2012 1:37:10 PM

  10. I'm not inclined to say that one cannot be both gay and conservative, but these guys just reflect some flawed logic.

    "I come from a farming family, so it's conservative or Catholic." What? There are no liberal Protestant farmers? How does he feel about moderate Episcopalians?

    "His [Ron Paul] views are more towards letting the people, which would be all of us, make the decisions to shape our country." The gay Iowan who said this is somewhat accurate, at least when it comes to Mr. Paul, but I think he would change his tune about people power when the population centers on the coasts - i.e. where most Americans live - start insisting that all Americans, even conservative gay Iowans, live by their values and social mores.

    In the end, these guys reflect a socially myopic view that only sees the world from their very limited vantage point. Of course, I could be wrong and they could have traveled the world and immersed themselves in other cultures and ideas in order to broaden their perspective - but I'd bet they haven't.

    Posted by: Frank | Jan 3, 2012 1:38:34 PM

  11. There's a huge difference between saying "I vote for this person simply because they want same-sex marriage" and saying "I vote for this person even though they want to destroy my family, impose their religion on my freedom of religion, and negate my civil rights."
    And those are just the national party platforms!

    Boys, NONE of the candidates (save perhaps Romney) are constitutional originalists, as they want to CHANGE the constitution to make new laws (or preserve laws like DOMA) that are unConstitutional!

    FInally, I do not get the "Way I was raised" argument -- you can not say that and be gay. You can not.
    If you want to act the way you were raised, then repent, marry a woman or become a celibate priest.

    You can not have your cake (or c*ck) and eat it too.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Jan 3, 2012 1:41:11 PM

  12. These guys need to grow up. Just because you born on a farm, come from a religious family, or from a family that votes Republican doesn't mean you have to act like a robot and vote for a candidate whose political party would sentence you to jail or prison if given the chance.

    Posted by: homer | Jan 3, 2012 1:46:15 PM

  13. Sometimes right-wing political stances are the only things that parents and their gay children can share. It's sad.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jan 3, 2012 1:50:05 PM

  14. I have no doubt the church impacted the view of these young men, considerably.

    The farmers I know, both gay and str8, all care deeply about global warming, health care, fiscal prudence, as well as equal rights. The only republican farmers I know are those who own or manage large corporate type farms and who care less about the land they pollute through excessive runoff and running family farms off the map than the money they can make.

    Iowa has many wonderful sensible people, both gay and str8, hopefully Chris Johnson was able to find and interview them, too.

    Posted by: Fred | Jan 3, 2012 1:52:08 PM

  15. these gays are traders. they are disgusting and should be shunned.

    Posted by: dc | Jan 3, 2012 1:58:49 PM

  16. Boys: you are never going to make your parents or your communities happy. Stop trying.

    And if you do truly believe in Republican principles...well, there's nothing nice to write here, so I'll let you fill in the blank. (Hint: it's about your intellect and your moral fiber.)

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jan 3, 2012 2:02:15 PM

  17. It can be very draining to know that some of our worst enemies end up being gay people. These are five perfect examples. Their reasons for selecting their candidates are selfish at best. Grow up and follow your own convictions, not your parents.

    Posted by: Toutwest | Jan 3, 2012 2:12:36 PM

  18. Towleroad readers are self-selected for their homosexuality being of great importance to them.

    There are lots of gay people out there for whom being gay is not the 1st or 2nd or even 3rd most-important aspect of their lives.

    That some Republican candidates are appealing to folks for whom being gay is not the most-important thing in their lives, should come as no surprise, and should not cause consternation.

    Posted by: Chris | Jan 3, 2012 2:12:47 PM

  19. "Peterson said he wouldn’t support a candidate who would make social issues a 'central tenet of their campaign.'

    'I’m a Republican, but I’m not stupid,' Peterson said. 'If they want to use those issues as a wedge to get voters to support them, I’m not really attracted to that.'"

    Bless. Your. Little. Uneducated. Heart.

    You see, it doesn't matter if President Romney would jump up and down and clap his hands while signing anti-gay bills like Santorum or Bachmann would... the ink on the bill is the ink on the bill. A law is a law. They'd sign it; they'd enforce it.

    They truly don't understand how government works. And if I hear one more person say that Ron Paul is a constitutional originalist, I'm going to dust off my Con Law book and beat them about the head with it.

    Posted by: Paul | Jan 3, 2012 2:17:06 PM

  20. I managed to become a huge liberal despite having Republican parents, and since then two of my four brothers have too. The other two don't vote, which is probably for the best...

    And even my parents have been volunteering for more liberal causes, such as protesting/arguing for more humane rules for the inmates they tutor at the local women's prison. Most of whom suffered sexual abuse or were used as patsies by their boyfriends in drug deals. I don't think that 15-20 years ago they would have agreed that the US justice system is racist. They do now.

    My point is, your upbringing means nothing in these matters. Think for yourself.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 3, 2012 2:17:30 PM

  21. Gay leftists at towleroad never disappoint. How do you go through the day being so hateful and intolerant? These threads are the worst anti-gay propaganda out there.

    Posted by: AG | Jan 3, 2012 2:24:23 PM

  22. These Iowans should be careful of what they wish for.

    Posted by: Tintin Malfoy | Jan 3, 2012 2:26:21 PM

  23. It always fascinates me when I hear anyone thats not a multi-millionare say that they have more in common with the republican platform. So they believe in shipping jobs overseas trashing our enviroment hooking up huge corporations and screwing over the average person on the street? Because no matter what the repubs say when it all gets boiled down to it unless your shoving huge sums of cash in their pockets they really don't care about you.

    Posted by: Akula | Jan 3, 2012 2:32:51 PM

  24. It think what bugs me the most about these people is that they are enjoying the rights that were made possible by the work of liberals and they don't seem to comprehend or appreciate that. Conservatives have not, in any way, been at the forefront of the LGBT equality movement. If not for liberals, these gay Republicans wouldn't be able to live openly and enjoy the rights (even if they are incomplete, thus far) that they do.

    If they feel more comfortable being gay around Republicans than being Republican around gays, I think that's for a good reason. Namely, LGBT activists have worked for decades to create space for gay people. Republicans, almost without exception, have opposed such progress. It is therefore understandable that most gay people would be unfriendly to gay Republicans. And maybe, just maybe, gay Republicans sense that there's something dissonant about being gay and Republican.

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | Jan 3, 2012 2:37:07 PM

  25. You'd think someone coming from an Iowa farm family wouldn't oppose welfare...

    Posted by: BobN | Jan 3, 2012 2:38:23 PM

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