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Bush Meets With Gay Leaders, But Not LCR

Gay Republican Group Snubbed Once Again

NGLTF Asks: Will Gathering Change Policy?

Compiled By GayToday

gwbushsmile.jpg - 7.00 K Gov. George W. Bush Presumed-GOP presidential nominee Gov. George W. Bush met with gay leaders late last week, but leaders from the gay Republican group pushing for such a meeting were told they weren't welcome. But following the meeting Bush's staff indicated the Log Cabin Republicans would be invited to future briefings.

“Gov. Bush is looking forward to discussing how we can work together on our common goal of implementing a compassionate conservative agenda,” says Scott McClellan, spokesman for the Bush campaign.

LCR Executive Director Richard Tafel appeared to accept the good-faith gesture in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “The campaign has, through back channels, talked to the chairman of our board and sent more positive signals that this is the beginning of a number of meetings,” he said. “That changes the concern we had.”

But gay leaders on the left side of the political spectrum still have concerns about Gov. Bush's intentions. Virginia Apuzzo, interim political director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, first expressed concern that LCR was not invited to the meeting, then challenged Bush to prove his meeting with gay leaders would make a difference in his policies.

"It appears self-evident that the Log Cabin Republicans should be at the table," Apuzzo said. "However, the real issue is not so much the who but the what. Of most concern of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is not who is in the meeting, but what the results are."

Appuzo went on to criticize Bush for his support of "don't ask, don't tell" and his statement that he would not knowingly appoint and gay or lesbian to his administration.

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Related Sites:
Log Cabin Republcians

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

GayToday does not endorse related sites.

Relations between the Bush campaign and the gay community have been strained since the primary season kicked off last year. In November, Bush went on NBC's Meet the Press and said that he would not meet with Log Cabin Republicans because it would be “pitting one group of people against another.” Bush's main rival for the GOP nomination, Sen. John McCain, did meet with LCR leaders and was attacked by Bush for that during a debate of CNN's Larry King Live.

The April 14 meeting between Bush did include several prominent gay politicians, including former Rep. Steve Gunderson; Plattsburgh, NY Mayor Dan Stewart; Washington, D.C. City Council Member David Catania and alternate GOP delegate Carl Schmid.

“It's extremely significant because it's the first time that the nominee of the Republican Party has met with a group of gay Republicans,” Schmid said. “I think the important thing is talked about and not exactly which people are in the room.”

But even after the meeting, Bush reiterated his old stances on gay issues, including gay marriages. Still, he left the door open for policy changes. “I want the Republican, conservative Republicans to understand we judge people upon their heart and soul, that is what the campaign is about. And while we disagree on gay marriage for example, we agree on a lot of other issues and it's important for people to hear that.”

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