The California Republican Party convention this weekend was devoid much drama until Sunday. A vote on whether the Log Cabin Republicans would be officially chartered as a Republican volunteer organization elicited excitement and furor. The Log Cabin Republicans are a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Republicans, won the delegate vote overwhelmingly 861 to 293. It wasn’t even close, which begs the question, “why not just change the bylaws?”
There have been news stories recognizing that in order for the Log Cabin Republicans to make any change within the Party structure, they knew they needed the Republican Party to formally change or remove the CRP bylaw that excludes groups advocating for “certain lifestyle preferences or orientations” from holding a position within the party.
Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, opposed the charter vote. She said it was a violation of the CRP bylaws. Grove asked CRP Chairman Brulte to go through the process of changing the bylaw excluding groups which advocate for “certain lifestyle preferences or orientations” from holding a position within the party, prior to voting on creating the charter. “The only thing I ask is this body stand on the rules we’ve supported for two decades that say there is a process to change the rules and the bylaws,” Grove said several times during the debate.
CRP Chairman Jim Brulte repeatedly said he had followed the CRP rules, and had forwarded the Log Cabin Republican’s application to the party volunteer organizations committee. Saturday, the committee voted unanimously to allow the charter request receive a vote by delegates.
Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, also opposed approval of the charter. Morrell recollected a quote from Ronald Reagan on the challenge to the California GOP moving to the political center: “We must not compromise our political principles for political expediency.”
“What we do here today, ladies and gentleman, matters,” Morrell said. “Because as California goes, so goes the nation.”
Proponents of the charter said the Log Cabin Republican groups have been stalwart supporters of important Republican races and causes for many years, including mobilizing volunteers to walk precincts in important Senate District 14 election and reelection to get Andy Vidak elected to the state Senate.
“Log Cabin Republicans are blocking and tackling every day to protect our freedoms. If you believe in rule of law, vote ‘yes,'” said Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Los Angeles.
Log Cabin Republicans
Founded in San Francisco in 1977, the Log Cabin Republicans membership has grown significantly over the years. Because Log Cabin Republicans are more socially liberal than the GOP base Republicans, many at the convention said they felt the push for a charter was being orchestrated by more liberal party members and leadership, and could undermine the Party platform.
“The significance of getting chartered is we will be an official recognized volunteer organization by the Republican Party,” said Charles Moran, chairman of California Log Cabin Republicans, and a well-known gay GOP political consultant in Los Angeles.
Log Cabin Websites Down or Disabled
GOP delegates and media were unable to Google “Log Cabin Republicans of California” prior to the vote, as all of the California Log Cabin Republican official websites were down during the convention.I was told the national website was down as well. A final Google search could have easily clarified the platform of the Log Cabin Republicans.
Late in the day Sunday, some of the websites were back up and running.
Here is what Wikipedia says about the Log Cabin Platform, with links back to official Log Cabin Republican websites:
LCR acts under the statement: “We are loyal Republicans. We believe in limited government, strong national defense, free markets, low taxes, personal responsibility, and individual liberty. Log Cabin Republicans represents an important part of the American family—taxpaying, hard working people who proudly believe in this nation’s greatness. We also believe all Americans have the right to liberty and equality. We believe equality for LGBT Americans is in the finest tradition of the Republican Party. We educate our Party about why inclusion wins. Opposing gay and lesbian equality is inconsistent with the GOP’s core principles of smaller government and personal freedom.”
On social issues, LCR either dissents from socially conservative Republican views or is neutral. On matters relating to gay and lesbian rights, LCR advocates for same-sex marriage, tax equity for domestic partner benefits, and the permanent repeal of the estate tax. The LCR website also contains an ‘Equality Map’ giving information on state laws in areas from employment discrimination and relationship recognition to hate crimes protections and anti-bullying laws.
LCR takes no official position on abortion.
On the issue of national defense: “Log Cabin Republicans believe in a confident foreign policy and a strong national defense. As the world’s sole military superpower, it is vital that the United States remain ready and able to shoulder its responsibilities in the global arena while standing as a beacon of freedom. Log Cabin Republicans call attention to the cruel and abusive treatment of gays and lesbians worldwide, particularly as it coincides with authoritarian regimes renowned for supporting terrorism and disregarding other basic human rights.”
According the Republicans I spoke with at the convention opposed to the Log Cabin Republicans charter, they said they were most concerned with the special interest legislation and changing public policy driven by LGBT issues — particularly in K-12 education policy, and in the state’s colleges and universities.
According to the Log Cabin Republicans website, “We are actively involved in lobbying on legislation regarding marriage equality, tax equity for domestic partner benefits, permanent repeal of the death tax (which particularly discriminates against same-sex couples), and other commonsense conservative reforms.”
One example of significant public policy change was SB 4, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and then-Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, both prominent members of the LGBT Caucus. The bill was coauthored by fellow LGBT Caucus Assembly Members Tom Ammiano, Toni Atkins, Richard Gordon, and Ricardo Lara.
SB 48 went into effect in 2012, and opened the door to changes in the California Education code. The bill added language to Education Code Section 51204.5, which prescribes the inclusion of the contributions of various groups in the history of California and the United States. This section already included men and women and numerous ethnic groups; the expanded language now includes (additions bolded):
“…a study of the role and contributions of both men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups, to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society.”
The legislation also added some requirements with regard to instructional materials, according to the CDE website. (I will have a story about this later in the week)