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I was a gay Republican, once. Back before I came out. That quickly came to an end in 1992 when I voted for Bill Clinton and never looked back. So, yeah, I have *some* sympathy for what gay Republicans are going through. Well, at least some of them.

In my case, it was the early 1990s. Not exactly a hey-day of gay acceptance anywhere outside of NYC and SF (and Key West). Sure, the early 90s were better than the decade before, which was before than the decade before that, but comparing 1992 to today, man what a difference 15 years makes. Back in 1992, no one was talking about marriage or civil unions. Well, okay, *some* people were talking about marriage, but it was a pipe dream back then - a very nice, noble goal that, at the time, was a naive and sure fire way to marginalize the movement as way way way too extreme. Hell, even civil unions were considered wildly unconventional 8 years later during the presidential race in the year 2000. Remember what a hero/wild man Howard Dean was during the 2000 presidential race for endorsing civil unions? Now even George Bush, the current president, says he has no problem with states passing civil union legislation. The landscape has changed in a way I certainly didn't expect to see in my lifetime. I thought maybe, MAYBE we'd get civil unions in my life, and maybe maybe MAYBE we'd get marriage by the time I hit my 80s. Now, we've already got civil unions and marriage in various states, and countries, and it's only a matter of time before they become federal victories at home as well.

I get being a gay Republican when the culture is hostile. And I get being a gay Republican when you're in the closet. Coming out takes time, and it takes major personal growth. You need to learn to love yourself, stop hating yourself and what you are, who you are, in order to come out. It's a process that only BEGINS when you come out. I like to say that when you come out, you're finally at 51% acceptance of yourself. The rest of your life is the rest of the journey to send that 49% into oblivion. But it's not a guarantee. As our illustrious president would say, it's hard work. It's hard work coming out to your parents and your family after years of being convinced that they'd hate you if they only knew. It's hard work dating and being able to settle down into stable emotional relationships after a life of thinking such relationships would never be possible. It's hard work understanding that being gay isn't just a small part of who you are, it *is* who are. And it's hard work coming to the epiphany that pledging your allegiance to people who hate you is seriously messed up.

I worry that far too many people who call themselves gay Republicans or gay conservatives are stuck at 51%. Well, rather, I worry that far too many Republican gays and conservative gays put their party above themselves and their partners and their children. (Eh, Mary?) To them, being gay is an asterisk, an afterthought, to the inner-Republican they really are.

We spent the last 14 years under the rule of an anti-gay Republican Congress. Back in 1996, two years into Republican rule, we lost ENDA, a bill outlawing job discrimination simply because you're gay (yes, it's legal at the federal level and in most states to fire someone simply for being gay), by one vote in the Senate (though it had no chance in hell in Newt Gringrich's House). Even then, the only way we were able to bring up ENDA for a vote at all in the GOP Senate was by promising to bring up the hideous Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) along with it - DOMA was passed the very same day. Then spring forward to October, 1998, the month Matthew Shepard died. Within weeks after Shepard's murder, GOP Majority Leader in the Senate, Trent Lott, killed the Hate Crimes amendment that would have added gender, disability and sexual orientation to the already-existing federal hate crimes law that has been on the books for 30 years now. Then came the Federal Marriage Amendment, another gift of the Republican congress and our Republican president. Our community successfully killed that legislation, and this congress the Republicans aren't even introducing the amendment since, and these are their words, the congress has now gone Democratic and there's no chance of the amendment passing.

But all that wasn't enough to stop the Republican and Conservative gays. We've spent the past 6+ years under the rule of an anti-gay Republican president who has destroyed far too many of our freedoms. Around 23% of gay voters voted in 2000 for George Bush. The same percentage voted for him again in 2004. The Log Cabin Republicans didn't just support George Bush in 2000, they supported the nomination of religious right clone John Ashcroft to Attorney General. This, even after Ashcroft was accused of discriminating in employment against a gay man simply because of his sexual orientation.

These gays, the ones who supported Gingrich, and Bush, and Ashcroft, are the same gays who now have the chutzpah to criticize our community, and our civil rights organizations, for not having a federal legislative victory in over a decade. Yes, the very gay Republicans (oh, I'm sorry, gay *conservatives* - that's PC for "traitor") who put the anti-gay Republican Congress in power in 1994, and kept them in power through January of 2007 - who put President Federal Marriage Amendment in power in 2000 - have the nerve to now ask the rest of us why there have been no legislative successes? Are they high?

No, just seriously stuck at 51%.

(As an aside: To its credit, Log Cabin didn't endorse Bush in 2004, nor did many other prominent Republican and Conservative gays (though many of them are now shining signs of wanting to return to the embrace of their masters). And while their one lone stand in 2004 was nice, and to be lauded, two years with your head out of your ass doesn't give you a very bully pulpit to lecture the rest of us about how much WE'VE done for the community.)

We are two months into the first free Congress in 14 years (aside from the split Senate we had for a very shortly while when Jeffords defected). There are those among us who talk a good talk but have no record of any gay rights successes of their own, who actually put our oppressors in power, and now these people wonder why our oppressors have been so successful at stymieing our success.

To paraphrase TIME: The sell-out of the year is you.

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