Log Cabin Republicans: Conservative Like Me

by Clifford F. Thies

(Winchester, Va., March 4, 1999) --- When we were invited to attend a
meeting of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia, where
Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va.) would be speaking, my wife and I readily
yes.  After spending a pleasant evening with more than 50 like-minded
individuals, we went home glad to have met so many dedicated Republican
activists, who were certain to help the party win elections this fall.

        Until I saw a report in the Washington Post that the Family
Research Council
had criticized Congressman Davis for appearing before a "radical
organization," I had categorized that evening as simply another normal
gathering of Republicans concerned about taxes, transportation, education,
reversing the growth of government.  I was puzzled: Who were these
Certainly none of the people my wife and I met.

        Some people have bad misconceptions about homosexuals in the
Party.  They mistakenly think, for example, that Republicans who are
homosexual want to advance a nebulous "homosexual agenda," meaning to
the homosexual "lifestyle" onto everyone else.  This is nonsense.  What
and lesbian Republicans want is the same as what most other Republicans
simply for the government to get out of their lives.

        The talk of those gathered at the meeting was the typical talk you
would find
among Republicans: cutting taxes, Social Security's impending collapse,
improving education, the impeachment trial, and, of course, why we didn't
so well in the last election and how we will do better next time.  If you
didn't know already, you would not have been able to figure out that most
the people there were gay or lesbian.  (Another thing about Republicans
are homosexual is that they believe, like most Republicans, that sex is a
private matter and it's best to act with decorum and decency when in

        Republicans have a problem.  Most of us believe that the purpose
government is to enable each of us to pursue happiness as we see fit,
leaving law-abiding citizens alone.  Still, there are some who would have
Republican Party be like the Democratic Party, using the power of
to force their social views onto everybody.  This is why many social
conservatives fit uncomfortably within our party - because while they
the liberal social engineers of the Democratic Party, what they really
is their own form of social engineering, not live-and-let-live.

        Consider the issue of "domestic partnership."  Social
conservatives think the
government should promote the traditional family and prohibit alternative
domestic relationships.  But, most Republicans merely wish the government
not discriminate -- not in favor, not against -- any form of domestic
relationship.  This is one of the reasons why we Republicans are trying to
flatten the income tax, end the marriage penalty, and eliminate the
Social Security payroll tax, because we want to eliminate prejudices
the traditional family.  The logic of this principle is so obvious that
Cabin Republicans can see that our live-and-let-live principle also means
the government should not inhibit other domestic relationships that enable
people to attain personal fulfillment and financial security.

        Consider the issue of drug regulation.  Log Cabin Republicans are
understandably more willing to liberalize our nation's regulation of
That way, sick people can have access to exotic remedies faster than it
the bureaucratic layers of the Food and Drug Administration to determine
"safety and efficacy."  Whether the issue is a fast track for AIDS
or the overwhelmingly popular reform to permit the use of marijuana for
medicinal purposes, gay and lesbian Republicans, like libertarian
are on the cutting edge in terms of both economic thought and compassion.

        The purpose of government is not to control and direct our lives,
but to
empower us to control our own lives by ourselves, based on our own
and values.  It is easy to see why people who think this way, regardless
race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, income class, or other
characteristic gravitate to the Republican Party.

        When he addressed the Log Cabin Republican Club, Congressman Davis
said that
our party should be open to all who share our party's political philosophy
who wish to work for its success.  Our party is, after all, the party of
Lincoln -- and the party of Goldwater and Reagan, too.  As newspaper
Clarence Page recently noted: "Reagan did not win because he joined only
those who bought all of his agenda, but because he pulled together a
coalition of people who agreed with at least part of it."  How true that
and how sad that it is too widely ignored by those who should know better.
# # #
CLIFFORD F. THIES is chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a nationwide organization for libertarians within the Republican Party. He is also a professor of economics and finance at Shenandoah University, and a resident of Winchester, Virginia.