Log Cabin Republicans today announced its endorsement of Sen. John McCain for president in a 12-2 vote. The group announced the decision at its “Big Tent Event” during the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.
"On the most important issue that LGBT Americans faced in the last decade — the federal marriage amendment — Sen. John McCain stood with us. Now we stand with him,” said Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon. "Sen. McCain is an inclusive Republican who is focusing the GOP on unifying core principles that appeal to independent voters.”
“Sen. McCain showed courage by bucking his own party’s leadership and the president—twice voting against the amendment. He gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, calling the amendment ‘antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans.’ He paid a political price for his vote,” said Sammon.
Sammon said that the group's members nationwide overwhelmingly support McCain's candidacy.
“Our board and staff members have spent recent months getting input and feedback from our members. The consensus among our members is strongly in favor of an endorsement because of his inclusive record. Our members also support him because he’s a maverick; a trait most recently on display with his decision to select Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.”
Sammon stated that McCain is a different kind of Republican who "knows the politics of fear and division will damage our Party and our nation so he’s focusing the GOP on unifying core principles such as limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense.”
“We have honest disagreements with Sen. McCain on a number of gay rights issues. Log Cabin will continue our conversation with him and other Republican leaders about issues affecting gay and lesbian Americans. We will speak out when there’s disagreement—either during the upcoming campaign or when John McCain is President,” said Sammon
Sen. McCain has had a long and friendly association with Log Cabin Republicans, dating back to the organization’s opening of a national office in the mid-1990s. “Sen. McCain has always shown a willingness to reach out and engage in dialogue with Log Cabin, while considering all sides of an issue,” said Sammon. “We know that will continue when he is President.”
“Progress in the fight for LGBT equality requires support from both Republicans and Democrats,” said Sammon. “Log Cabin’s endorsement of Sen. McCain will ensure our community has a strong voice making the case for gay rights to John McCain when he is President.”
According to the organization’s bylaws, Log Cabin endorses only Republican candidates. Log Cabin Republicans endorsed then-Governor George W. Bush in 2000, but declined to endorse President Bush in 2004 — largely over the president’s push for a federal anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and his decision to use gay people as a wedge issue in winning re-election.
“I expect Sen. McCain will receive strong support from gay and lesbian Americans,” said Sammon. “LGBT people are not single-issue voters. Gay rights issues are a critical part of the equation, but so are many other issues impacting our daily lives—foreign policy, the economy, jobs, energy policy, health care reform, and taxes. Gay and lesbian Republicans believe Sen. John McCain is the most qualified person to lead our country.”
The Human Rights Campaign disagreed with the group's endorsement and released a statement on their Web site shortly after the announcement.
"John McCain claims to be a maverick who breaks with his party, but on matters of LGBT equality, he's shown that he's anything but. He actively campaigned for a constitutional amendment that would have banned marriage and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples in his home state of Arizona. He went so far as to appear in television commercials for that campaign, is now supporting an amendment to strip marriage equality from California couples and has said that he would vote for a federal marriage amendment if laws already banning marriage equality were to be struck down by federal courts. Sarah Palin has also supported bans on marriage and even domestic partner benefits in Alaska. The Republican Party, McCain and Palin's party, has declared in its platform that they want to pass the federal marriage amendment. Their party's platform also calls gay and lesbian Americans unfit for military service, supports policies that would allow faith-based organizations to deny us jobs and services using federal dollars, and attacks judges who acknowledge our equality under the law. The Human Rights Campaign endorses mavericks on both sides of the aisle- neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin is among them," said HRC President Joe Solmonese.