The usefulness of Georgia Log Cabin Republicans
June 12th, 2010
Two Republican gubernatorial candidates in Georgia are playing the ‘Who Hates Gays More’ game. Each is declaring that they are the more conservative because the other momentarily on some issue at some time may have taken anything other than a Kill ‘Em attitude.
Yes, Georgia Republicans are a pretty nasty group of people. But one of the more amusing parts of this battle is also an illustration of how Log Cabin, the gay Republican group, can be useful.
I’m sure that by now some of you have already thought up an angry denunciation of the group, and a few have already typed it. This is not a particularly rare attitude in our community. In fact, last night an acquintance told me, “I hate Log Cabin Republicans! I hate them!” If I respected his opinion, I might have argued, but I don’t give much attention to people who start sentences with “I hate.”
But for those who have a healthy skepticism about Log Cabin, take this story into consideration:
In 2002, Karen Handel was running for Fulton County Commission. Log Cabin approached her and she expressed support for some gay issues.
But that’s all fine and good in Fulton County. Now that Handel is running for a statewide office, she is claiming that she never ever supported domestic partnerships. No sirree, she’s a true-blue homophobe and how dare her opponent suggest otherwise.
But here’s where Log Cabin proves it’s usefulness.
But e-mails sent from Handel’s account in 2002 to the head of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans appear to tell a different story.
“I do support domestic partner benefits, and confirm my position here,” Handel wrote to Marc Yeager on July 29, 2002.
Yeager provided copies of his e-mails with Handel to The Associated Press and several other media outlets.
Handel said the e-mail was actually written by Matt Montgomery, the campaign manager in the Fulton County race, and that it misstated her position.
“I never had any kind of idea or feeling that I was communicating with someone other than Karen,” Yeager told The AP.
Handel, he said, also told him in conversations that she supported domestic partner benefits. He’s convinced her position on the issue has changed with her political aspirations. Fulton County is home to a large and politically active gay community. Voters that are critical to winning a race there can be a liability in a statewide contest.
There are other organizations with other partisan alliances who would have looked at the situation and said, “oh, but she’s actually more supportive in private so we’ll cover for her.” We see that all the time with certain segments of Gay, Inc.
But I appreciate that Marc Yeager and Log Cabin Georgia did not. They approached her in a Republican setting, got her on record, tied it down in email, and exposed her hypocrisy when she tried to backtrack. And that is something that really only a gay Republican group could have done.
And I like it when our community says, “hey, we’re not going to be used.” And the obsession with who is more bigoted than the other can only drive independents and moderates – assuming such a thing exists in Georgia – away from whoever wins the primary.