Despite the traditionally perceived alliance between the LGBT community and progressive or “liberal” politics, some people are thinking the time might be right to attract LGBT folks to a more conservative point of view.
Melvin Nimer is one of those people.
Nimer, himself an openly gay man, is president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a caucus in the Republican Party made up of people who identify as both LGBT and political conservatives. He thinks the time may be right for some people to make a rightward shift in their political identification and voting patterns.
“People come up to me and say, “I really am Republican, but I just can’t vote that way all the time,” Nimer says.
That’s because the social-equality issues that have fueled LGBT political passions have been so much a part of political considerations; social issues have overridden other concerns, Nimer says.
But now, with Utah’s antidiscrimination law (SB296) passed last spring and the issue of marriage equality pretty much moot with this summer’s Supreme Court decision making it legal nationwide, Nimer says perhaps other issues may begin to be a priority and cause people to take a closer look at conservatism.
“There’s parts of political philosophy that people get lost in,” Nimer says. “Social issues don’t belong in government in the first place. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand that. I’m a fiscal conservative, and the Republican Party and Republican philosophy generally is the fiscally conservative one. That’s why I’m a Republican.”
Yet when it comes to the social issues, “We’ve been able to open doors within the Utah political framework,” Nimer says. Having LGBT voices on both sides, but saying the same thing, helped move things like SB296 along. “You can stand on your hands and yell and scream and shout all you want to from the outside, but people aren’t going to listen to you unless you are on the inside,” he says.
Nimer was voted president of the Log Cabin Caucus last June, when caucus leadership was reorganized. Nimer also served as president from 2008-2012, and has been a member of the board for the past three years. Nimer is the president and owner of New Start Business Services Inc., a small business accounting and tax practice. He is also co-owner of Air Sim Corp, an aviation training company. He has served as treasurer of the Salt Lake County Republican Party for the past two years.
With him were elected Jeffery Cahoon as vice president, Natalie Parkin as secretary, and Frederick Luchycky as treasurer. They will all serve two-year terms.
“One of my goals right now is to reinvigorate the caucus and get people involved again,” Nimer says.
Log Cabin Republicans of Utah meets the second Monday of each month (except July and December). Meetings are open to anyone who is interested.
For more information, contact Nimer at [email protected] or 801-657-9611.