Gay Republican Group Snubbed Once Again
NGLTF Asks: Will Gathering Change Policy?
Compiled By GayToday
“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.”
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.”