The Dallas Morning News, June 3, 2004
SAN ANTONIO, TX -- A group of gay Republicans brought to President Bush's back yard Thursday a TV commercial opposing the constitutional gay-marriage ban that the president has endorsed. Appearing at the Texas Republican Convention, where their group has been denied space in the past, leaders of Log Cabin Republicans also pledged to fight GOP members who use the gay marriage issue to divide voters.
"The radical right wanted a cultural war, and now they have it," said Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the national group. "We simply will not remain silent during this election year if gay and lesbian families are being used as wedge issues." Guerriero said gay and lesbian Republicans have supported President Bush's other policies, including the war with Iraq and his tax cuts.
As Log Cabin Republicans made their pitch, a party committee recommended that the state make it a felony for a government official in Texas to license or perform a same-sex marriage. The party's Permanent Platform Committee, then the full convention, will consider that and other recommendations.
"I don't understand them," Houston delegate and Platform Committee member Norman Adams said of the Log Cabin activists. "They are probably attracted to the party because of our stand against increased taxes and other issues. But we believe that marriage should be between a natural man and a natural woman."
The platform is a largely symbolic collection of principles that sparks disagreement even within the GOP. In the past, elected officials have distanced themselves from positions such as withdrawing from the United Nations, taking back the Panama Canal and returning to the gold standard.
The 30-second ad that Guerriero unveiled Thursday features Vice President Dick Cheney's response to a question about gay marriage during a 2000 vice presidential debate. Cheney, whose daughter is a lesbian, said the issue should be decided by the states. Cheney has since said he defers to Bush's position on the issue.
Guerriero said the television spots, which are airing in nearly a dozen other states, would run in San Antonio and "be viewed by delegates when they returned to their hotel rooms."
"We have a lot of work to do in states like Texas," Guerriero said. "Shame on Republicans who promote intolerance." The Texas Log Cabin Republicans have longed complained about intolerance from their fellow party members.
Andy Hendricks, the group's Texas president, said Log Cabin has again this year been barred from having a table or booth at the convention. And though about 24 convention delegates are Log Cabin members, he said, many other gay Texas Republicans have chosen to remain silent about their sexuality and related issues.
"Choosing a path of fear and intolerance, instead of freedom and fairness will put the Republican Party of the wrong side of history," he said.
Republicans on the Platform Committee said they want to change the gay-marriage plank, which currently specifies only that marriage should be between a man and a woman, to send a message to Texas and the rest of the nation. They stressed, though, that they don't want to see clergy prosecuted.
"Pastors can't legally marry anyone without a license," Adams said.