This is a great year to be alive, isn’t it? We have seen tremendous changes taking place all across the world that benefit our community. We now have two states that totally recognize gay marriages. Numerous states, counties, and cities including Salt Lake City have recognized our unions as something of value. And for the first time in history both presidential candidates are on the same side of the gay marriage debate: that its legalization should be up to individual states and the courts. In fact, there is a very large absence of any discussion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues this year. Neither party has been gay-bashing. In fact, both presidential candidates have welcomed the support of their respective gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political caucuses.
What a change this is from elections of the past where our community has been the scapegoat of those seeking a strong conservative base — namely the Republicans. Even here in Utah, we have had very little negative discussion of gay issues in any campaign. And this past year saw a number of laws proposed that support various areas of concern to our community, and a couple of them passed. This happened in a Republican-dominated legislature, and thanks in no small part to our Democrat legislators.
Unfortunately, within our community this attitude of openness and fairness seems to be headed in the opposite direction. For the first time, Equality Utah has decided that they are no-longer a “non-partisan” organization. They are now the voice of the Democrats in Utah and by their own admission have decided to put all of their efforts into electing only Democrats to offices within the state. While I applaud their desire to be more effective in supporting gay issues, their recent actions are a sad commentary on what “equality” really means within our community. It is all too indicative of the attitude that most people within the gay community have towards Republicans.
While I totally agree that the Republican Party, in general, has been the bane of our community for years, nationally and locally, this behavior is no excuse to ostracize members of the Republican party within our community, or Republicans who support the needs and issues of gay people, especially in such a “red” state as Utah. If we are ever to achieve our goals of equality, respect and fairness we must become involved in both political parties and promote the equality and respect we all want within our own family. Neither party, by itself, can succeed in changing the attitudes and the laws that affect us. And with such an overwhelming Republican majority in all areas of state and local governments, we need good, strong Republican supporters to reach our goals.
Even here in Utah we can bring about change. Right now we have one of the most gay-supportive governors in our state’s history, as well as a very supportive attorney general. What other governor, Democrat or Republican, has ever invited any official gay organization to sit down and talk about our issues, or invited us to their home for a private reception? Governor Huntsman invited the Log Cabin Republicans do to just this. We did not ask for this invitation. And Log Cabin reached out to all of our friends and what we thought were our allies, including Equality Utah, to join us in that historic event. We included both Democrats and Republicans to build bridges within our community and our local and state government. And most of the Board of Equality came – and then turned their backs on us afterwards. We still have no explanation why, except that they apparently only want to support Democrats. Isn’t that what the Stonewall Democrats are supposed to be doing?
Equality Utah is, by their own admission, supposed to be a non-partisan, “equality based” organization that supports all candidates of any political party who are willing to help bring about positive change within all branches of government. Unfortunately, because of their new position, only two Republican candidates even bothered to spend time with them in discussing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, and only one of those even got a mention in their official endorsement announcement. And he is not only a supporter of these issues, but a real live member of our community. We have the opportunity to elect an openly gay Republican to the state legislature this year, and Equality Utah has chosen to support a non-family member over one of our own, just because he is a Republican.
Utah Log Cabin Republicans is on a quest to help bring true equality to this state and to our local counties and cities. Most true Republicans believe in individual rights, limited government and freedom from laws that restrict us from being who we are. We are grounded in support of the constitution and don’t believe in amending it at every whim. In fact, California and Massachusetts owe the fact that they recognize gay marriage to the very conservative, Republican-appointed, constitutionally-based judges who sit on their supreme courts. It will be those same constitutional judges in the US Supreme Court who will eventually bring about the national recognition of gay marriage. And it will be fair-minded Republicans here in Utah who will eventually be able to abolish the anti-gay marriage amendment to our state constitution. Democrats, alone, will not bring about these changes.
We will be announcing our Republican endorsements for candidates across the state within the next couple of weeks, and there are many fair minded Republicans seeking office this year. We have a list of candidates and are currently interviewing them. If you have a supportive Republican candidate in your neighborhood, please ask him or her to contact us. We would like to visit with these candidates and get their take on our organization’s issues and goals. We will be give our endorsed candidates all the support and encouragement that we possibly can. We need your support to succeed. Come join our efforts to promote true equality here at home.
Melvin D. Nimer
President, Utah Log Cabin Republicans