The phenomenon of conservatives supporting gay rights, or conservatives being gay themselves, is hardly a new development. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has stated that he believes the matter to be purely a state-by-state issue, and that "freedom means freedom for everyone" while openly embracing his daughter Mary's homosexuality and even acting as father of the bride at said daughter's wedding. In 2010, the gay conservative group GOProud earned plaudits from Ann Coulter and Andrew Breitbart. Glenn Beck himself has said gay marriage is not a threat to America:
"Do you believe gay marriage is a threat to the country in any way?" O'Reilly asked.
"A threat to the country? No, I don't," Beck said, laughing, adding mockingly, "Will the gays come and get us?"
Beck quoted Thomas Jefferson: "If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?"
Moreover, in more recent years, many conservatives - most of them coming from younger generations - have openly touted their willingness to accept gay marriage as an incipient reality in America. Witness this video by the Young Conservatives for Freedom to Marry:
So it should surprise very few people that the Republican National Committee has decided to take a good long listen to one of the few gay conservative groups in America while drafting its 2012 platform - namely, the Log Cabin Republicans. The Washington Blade reports:
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said Tuesday a team from his organization will be credentialed to attend the platform committee meeting, which will take place the week of Aug. 20 in Tampa, Fla., prior to the start of the convention.
“Just looking at the 2008 document, Log Cabin has gone through and we’ve noted language in there that’s either directly unhelpful, or seen as anti-gay, and have marked it for deletion,” Cooper said. “We’ve also found language that could be strengthened to be more inclusive. That said, there’s going to be a completely new document. It’s not as if they’re taking the ’08 document and just updating it.”
Cooper said the group has already identified language in the 2008 platform that it will push to remove in the 2012 document, including language related to marriage. Under the heading “Preserving Traditional Marriage,” the 2008 platform endorses the Federal Marriage Amendment and affirms passing same-sex marriage bans through state initiatives.
Gary Howard, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, confirmed Log Cabin’s involvement in the platform process, but also said other organizations, including social conservative groups, will take part.
“As has been the practice in previous years, the Platform Committee Staff maintains an open door policy and welcomes input and suggestions from outside groups,” Howard said. “This year the staff has heard from hundreds of different groups as they presented their views on the Platform, this includes suggestions submitted by the public at-large at the gopplatform2012.com website. The Log Cabin Republicans reached out to the RNC to share their ideas as well. Additionally, the Platform Staff hosted meetings with dozens of social conservative groups to emphasize the importance of keeping the GOP’s commitment to traditional marriage.”[...]
At the Republican convention, Log Cabin is hosting four events throughout the week along with other LGBT groups: a welcome reception with the local Log Cabin on Aug. 26; an event for openly LGBT Republicans seeking political office with the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund on Aug. 27; a brunch for “Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry” with the organization Freedom to Marry on Aug. 29; and a closed press event honoring congressional Republican allies of the LGBT community on Aug. 30.
This move, especially coming as it does in the aftermath of the controversy over Chick-fil-A, is likely to have some socially conservatives observers worried. At the same time, there is no guarantee that any of the groups involved in this drafting process will get their agenda through to the platform. Moreover, based on the Log Cabin Republicans' website, it does not appear that this group has a particularly radical set of commitments, relative to other, more liberal gay rights groups, such as the Human Rights Campaign.