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Georgia GOP Elects First Openly Gay State Treasurer, Doubles Down On 'Religious Freedom' Bill

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It would appear as if Georgia’s GOP is having something of an identity crisis. SB 129, yet another "religious freedom" bill that would condone discrimination against LGBT people, failed to fully make its way through the state’s legislature earlier this year. Following last weekend’s statewide GOP convention, however, Georgia’s Republican legislators seem to have rallied around a “new” vision for future versions of the bill sporting more or less the same language. 

While the Right’s continued pursuit of institutional discrimination masquerading as religious freedom is troubling, the recent election of a gay man to Georgia’s Republican leadership is raising even more eyebrows.

Mansel McCord has been chosen as Georgia’s first openly gay GOP state treasurer and, in an interesting twist, he was nominated by Josh McKoon, the Republican state senator who authored SB 129. 

“You need a man of unimpeachable integrity. You need someone who understands the complexity of campaign finance law,” McKoon said of McCord. “And you need someone who has been dedicated to the conservative movement for decades.”

It’s unclear whether or not Georgia’s Republican congress was aware of McCord’s sexuality before voting him into his new seat. As the Georgia Voice points out it’s possible that people mistook Debbie McCord, another Republican politician on the ballot, for his wife, further confusing matters. 

Log Cabin Republicans Issue Statement Welcoming Bruce Jenner as a Transgender Republican


In what was perhaps the biggest shock during Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer last night, the 65-year-old former Olympian revealed he's actually a Republican.

"I've always been on the more conservative side," Jenner said when asked his thoughts on President Obama being the first president to say the word "transgender" in a State of the Union address. Jenner also said he would absolutely ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner to help champion trans issues, saying he thinks "they'd be very receptive to it."

Log Cabin Republicans National Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo issued the following statement following the revelation:

LcrAs the nation’s only organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies, Log Cabin Republicans congratulates Bruce Jenner in the tremendous courage he demonstrated tonight, being true to himself both in terms of his personal identity as well as his political identity. There is a home for you in Log Cabin Republicans — as there is for all lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender conservatives and straight allies.

The Washington Post notes that a 2014 Gallup poll found 21% of LGBT Americans are Republican or lean Republican. 

And in case you missed Jenner's interview, you can watch in full HERE

Log Cabin Republicans Accused Of 'Bullying,' 'Shaming' Their Way Into Western Conservative Summit


Earlier this week, we reported that the Log Cabin Republicans had been denied a booth at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver this summer.  

After a media firestorm, the Colorado GOP has attempted to quell the controversy by inviting Log Cabin to share its booth at the event — a major conservative conference put on by Colorado Christian University and its Centennial Institute think tank. 

Not surprisingly, rather than apologizing for their bigotry and stupidity, organizers of the summit have responded by trying to play the victim. From The Denver Post

Party Chairman Steve House, who took over in March, made the announcement Thursday afternoon, one day after a firestorm over the snub by summit organizers to the Log Cabin Republicans.

"We're fine with the Colorado Republicans sharing some table space at the summit with all their affiliated groups. We're not fine with the shaming and bullying pressure tactics of Log Cabin Republicans' national office," said summit chairman John Andrews.

I was unable to find any specific examples of bullying or shaming by Log Cabin Republicans National. I did find a long thread of comments in support of LCR on the summit's Facebook page, as well as a few tweets like these: 

The bottom line appears to be that the Colorado GOP — along with many rank-and-file Republicans — has come to realize that alienating LGBT people and their allies is no longer in the party's best interest. But the religious right wing of the party, as well as most of its presidential candidates, have not. Of course, they're still willing to take Log Cabin's votes and money: 

"I hope the state party's sensible approach gives the local Log Cabin folks more reason to sign up" as delegates to the summit," Andrews said.

"We want to be fair to them if they'll be fair to us."

And by being "fair to us," Andrews presumably means not trying to stop them from bullying and shaming LGBT people. 

California GOP Tells Log Cabin Republicans 'Get Out Of The Back Of The Bus,' Votes to Formally Recognize Gay Group


In a move that drew comparisons to Rosa Parks and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the California Republican Party voted this weekend to officially recognize the Log Cabin Republicans. 

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Log Cabin Republicans, a 38-year-old organization that had unsuccessfully sought a charter from the state party several times in the past, received the formal imprimatur on a 861-293 vote at the party’s biannual convention in Sacramento.

It is among the first gay groups officially sanctioned by a state Republican Party.

Brandon Gesicki, a delegate from Carmel who supported the effort, said the vote showed how much the party in California has changed in recent years.

“It would have been the complete opposite 15 years ago,” said Gesicki, who also turned in a proxy vote from former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado supporting the recognition. “The fringe does not control the party anymore. We truly are a big tent once again.”

The victory for Log Cabin in California comes on the heels of the national group's exclusion (then re-admittance) as Conservative Political Action Conference sponsor this year. 

The LA Times reports that despite the decision to charter Log Cabin, the California GOP platform still includes anti-LGBT language: 

John Briscoe, president of the socially conservative California Republican Assembly, pointed to Log Cabin’s support of same-sex marriage.

“I have a hard time understanding how we’re going to charter an organization that’s in opposition to our platform,” he said during the debate.

The party’s official platform says homosexuality is unacceptable.

“We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption,” the platform says.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while some social conservatives like Briscoe voiced strong opposition to the decision, the vast majority of those attending the state GOP convention supported it. 

And, many said, their inclusion was long overdue.

“We’re Republicans,” said Brandon Gesicki, a longtime GOP strategist. “We’re not East Germany.”

“Get out of the back of the bus,” said Scott Wilk, Republican Assembly Caucus chair to the Log Cabin group at the close of the debate. “You deserve a seat.”

Watch the announcement of the group's charter, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Log Cabin Republicans Will Now Be Allowed To Participate In CPAC Alongside All the Anti-Gay Nuts


Amazing what can change over a weekend. Just last Friday we were telling you how the Log Cabin Republicans had been denied participation - yet again - in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. According to Edge Boston today, however, that stance has been reversed and not only have the LCRs been allowed to attend, but have even been invited to speak on a panel titled "Putin's Russia: A New Cold War?" and will take place this Saturday, February 28th at noon.

Edge snarks:

Among the many right-wing luminaries scheduled to speak at this year's CPAC are: Sam Brownback, the pig farmer turned governor of Kansas who recently stripped LGBT state workers of employment non-discrimination protections, Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon turned professional Obamacare basher who compares marriage equality advocates to supporters of bestiality and pedophiles, and half-term Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin who is well, Sarah Palin.

The only way the party will change is when that change starts coming from within. One has to offer a certain amount of respect to a group that's willing to meet with the fanatical dogmatic lunatics that comprise far too much of the Republican Party and threaten to rot it completely from the inside out when the rest of us would rather - and justifiably so - completely wash our hands of them.

GOProud was never, ever, ever - like, seriously? omgwtflolno - going to affect any kind of positive change within the Republican Party, so quixotic as it may be, here's hoping that LCR getting their foot in the door is something that helps eventually move the GOP to a party of educated politicians from the circus of crazy-eyed, dominionistic, hateful, paranoid nutbags that it has become.

CPAC Excludes Log Cabin Republicans As Sponsors For Third Year In a Row


For the third year in a row, the Log Cabin Republicans have been excluded as sponsors for the Conservative Political Action Conference, arguably the year's biggest event for the Republican Party. Maybe they're still sore over that Politico ad from a few years ago asking the GOP to please not be so anti-gay, a sentiment repeated last summer by political strategists? 

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union which is CPAC's sponsor, said that the reason that LCR was excluded was because they simply didn't apply to be sponsors. Also, that LCR is timid and insufficiently conservative, whatever that means.

AngeloLCR executive director Gregory T. Angelo (right) counters Schlapp's claim with a paper trail of emails from himself to ACU executive director Dan Schneider - all of which went unanswered - explicitly requesting to be sponsors of this year's CPAC.

Most likely, the reason for the exclusion is the very conclusion that Angelo has come to:

CPAC has a problem allowing any formal recognition for organizations affiliated with gay people. That is the only logical conclusion to come to.



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