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RNC 2012: Florida gay Republicans welcome GOP convention

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Sunday, August 26, 2012

TAMPA, Fla. — Undaunted by an impeding hurricane that led to the cancellation of the first day of the Republican National Convention, gay GOP leaders in Florida hosted a welcoming event Sunday for convention participants interested in a more LGBT-inclusive Republican Party.

Heads of three chapters of the National Log Cabin Republicans — those from Tampa Bay, Miami and Broward County — held the event at the Rusty Pelican in Tampa, along with leaders from the national organization — including Log Cabin executive director R. Clarke Cooper — as a prelude to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., leading to the anointment of Mitt Romney as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

Attendees expressed support for Romney as the Republican standard-bearer in the presidential election despite the candidate’s lack of support for LGBT rights and positions such as support for a Federal Marriage Amendment banning same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Michael Key, Washington Blade

Jim Pease, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Tampa Bay.

Jim Pease, president of Log Cabin Republicans Tampa Bay, was among those who professed support for Romney because of the candidate’s business experience and conservative fiscal policies.

“I’m glad to see someone who has a good business background and I think this is what we need,” Pease said. “In my opinion, we’re headed toward a cliff with the accelerator on the floor. We need to slam on the brakes, do something, make a right-hand turn because we’re headed toward a cliff the way it is.”

Asked whether Romney’s opposition to LGBT rights was troublesome, Pease replied, “If we go over the cliff economically, gay rights is going to be the least of our problems.”

Mimi Planas, co-chair of Log Cabin Republicans of Miami, said she’s voting for Romney because she isn’t happy with the economy and thinks he will manage the country’s economy better than the Obama administration.

“I’m gay and get that whole thing, but I also have other things in my life,” Planas said. “There are one-issue voters that only care about that. I’m not one of those people. There are many issues that we got to look at. We got to look at national defense, we got to look at the economy, the spending, so many different things. Yes, that’s one issue and we’d like that to be different, and one day it will be.”

Attendees came from across the country. Rich Weissman, 58 and a gay Portland, Ore., Republican activist, said he came to the Republican convention for the first time to generate support for marriage equality within the Republican Party.

“I feel that the times are such today that people like me who are conservative, who believe in Republican values when it comes to things like the economy, when it comes to things like health care, jobs and those issues — but who are gay — need to speak up and become part of the party and change the way in which the party looks at critical, critical LGBT issues, and that’s why I’m here,” Weissman said.

Among the ways that Weissman he’s speaking out is “simply being” at the convention while talking to lots of other attendees to “assure that organizations like Log Cabin have a significant, significant presence.”

Weissman, who’s Jewish, married his partner one-and-a-half years ago in Portland, Ore., in a ceremony officiated by a conservative rabbi. Weissman said he considers himself married, even though Oregon doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

Event attendees were as dismissive of the party platform as they were of Romney’s lack of support for LGBT rights. The document was recently revealed to include language that limits marriage to one man, one woman; attacks the Obama administration for failing to defend DOMA; criticizes judges who rule in favor of marriage equality; and endorses a Federal Marriage Amendment.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. a self hating bunch arnt they…

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:08pm
  2. were the ywelcoming thier destruction? the GOP wants you in cages and concentration camps

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:08pm
  3. Traitors…. Every one if you !!!!

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:10pm
  4. Sadly, these are Very confused people. This would be like Me attended a Klan rally, or a Neo-Nazi march…with the hopes that they will be more inclusive one day. Riiiight!

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:14pm
  5. Ugh. God help us. Anyone who is gay or female that supports these homophobic misogynists I take as a personal attack. If they have their way, these rethuglikkkans will send us back to the middle ages.

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:19pm
  6. I’m sorry, call me a selfish Un American,but I won’t ever say that I’d be willing to sacrifice the fight for Equality in order to put someone “more fiscally responsible” in charge. The US is going to be in debt until the day I die whether R or D is POTUS…I’d like to actually be able to marry the woman I love instead of being “domestic partners” until that day! I can’t fathom being willing to stand up and support a party that loathes you and makes it known they dont even want you at the party!

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:19pm
  7. Gay Repubs is as sickening as repub women!

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:23pm
  8. i know we have to worry about other things but i think equality is just as important as the economy and all the others and we deserve our equality now we shouldnt have to wait till later. the LRC need to learn romney is not the man they think he is. hes a tax dodger draft dodger and a fake

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:25pm
  9. Ugh, Anna ^ just saw today one of my good friends “liked” Paul Ryan’s page! I think I was actually a bit bummed when I saw that…same as my sentiment above, how could someone be so “Patriotic” that they are willing to throw their own liberties under the bus?! Sigh….

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:32pm
  10. Not to mention that in 38 states you can be fired just for being gay. I don’t get it.

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:33pm
  11. I almost chose to become a member. I thank god my eyes are now Open!

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:58pm
  12. There are a lot of conservatives who are gay, and that is fine. However, I don’t understand why anyone who is gay, would welcome the GOP. Considering many of its leaders, have made harsh comparisons to child molesters, and polygamists, and work to take away any rights from the LGBT community- it just seems many of them are tying the noose for their own hanging, because these people should not be welcomed by anyone- espc the gay community. They are a political hate group.

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:59pm
  13. Gay Republicans are the same as Jewish Nazis. Oxymoron!

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 10:00pm
  14. WHAT is wrong with those people????

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 10:08pm
  15. To be voting for romney and the evenmore terrifying Paul Rand is totally insane if your are LGBT or a woman who can think for herself instead of thinking like her husband. romney is not a fiscal conservative, he is a fiscal leech for big business and many of the wealthiset people. He has no backbone and flip flops just to please the fundamentalist whackos. Can you imagine what would hapen if something were to happen to him and Rand took over. That is a hell to imagine even worse than Romney. I wish no harm to come to either of these people, but when voting for a president, one must also look closely at the VP. One of the main reasons for VP is to replace the POTUS in case of death. People in the party can see no further than the nose on their face or no further than Norquist wants them to think. Very Scary when your own “family” cannot see that. These people want to go back to government like it was during Teddy roosevelts time. Which I might add, would repeal civil rights and put us back into racism on a grand scale. It seems that most white republicans are so affraid of cultural diversity and religious freedom that they want to put us back to the days that people of color had to ride in the back of the bus and women could not vote.

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 10:12pm
  16. PS as I recall during that time there was much hatred of Catholics also.

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 10:13pm
  17. Two things come to mind here. 1) If you are fiscally conservative but liberal on social issues you may want to take a look at the Libertarian Party. (no, I don’t mean Ron Paul)
    2) I’m glad the log cabin Republicans are working to change people’s hearts and minds. Hating back and forth at one another sure as shit ain’t gonna work. Just saying.

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 10:16pm
  18. The Log Cabin Republicans aren’t going to “change anyone’s hearts”. They are simply denying who they really are because they have issues being Gay. They need to find a shrink to work through their personal issues, not support a political party that sees them as “not good enough”.

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 11:10pm
  19. And Libertarians are just Republicans who are too ashamed to admit it!

    Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 11:11pm
  20. Gay Republicans = oxymoron

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 12:10am
  21. I do not believe Repubs are better for the economy. It seems to be a theme in the above responses that this is about Repubs not wanting only marriage equality.
    I whole heartedly want Marriage Equality, but these people also want to take apart Medicare and Obamacare, which I believe is also wrong.
    It is more than just one issue… You’re not Settling for Obama because of Marriage Equality, it’s many issues!

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 12:18am
  22. Seems like these LCR have their priorities a little out of order. Economy vs. civil rights? Seems like a no-brainier to me. They don’t seem to believe that Romney thinks the are sub-class citizens, but will take their vote all the way to the polling stations. And then what?

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 12:56am
  23. Choosing the almighty dollar over freedom, eh? Well, money ain’t everything…and they’re banking on the fact that because Romney is a business man, he knows what he’s doing. Hogwash!!!

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 12:57am
  24. Gay Republican is an oxymoron, equal to a Black Republician. What closet did you come out of?

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 1:09am
  25. Hypocrites. Way to go money grubbers.

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 3:51am
  26. A bunch of self haters. I will never understand the concept of being a gay Republican. Being part of a party that hates us is not to be understood.

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 4:07am
  27. That makes no sense to me

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 4:07am
  28. Self hating with a deep seated need to “fit in”. Why do the downtrodden seek acceptance from the perpertators?

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 4:51am
  29. I don’t think there is any way to classify someone as a scumbag than their willingness to throw their own family under the bus… For anything. Nothing comes before my family and that is why I always have and always will vote D.

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 5:06am
  30. How could they want to be around people that put them down all the time?

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 9:39am
  31. Excellent thoughts, Madeline! ^^ I completely agree with you! There are so many reasons! I picked “responding” to the man they were quoting in the article for my post…LOL- If I got in all I had to say, my post would be waay to long for FB!

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 10:44am
  32. Somebody always has to be on the other side just to disagree …

    Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 10:31pm