First, congratulations on your upcoming convention and the historic choice of Governor Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate. Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) now faces the important decision of endorsing, or not, the McCain-Palin ticket.
We applaud that LCR supports all Equality Goals, including marriage. We also applaud that in 2004 they had the good judgment not to endorse George W. Bush.
But should LCR endorse the McCain-Palin ticket? See after the jump.
The main argument for an endorsement so far would be because "Governor Palin is an inclusive Republican who will help Senator McCain appeal to gay and lesbian voters" (from a Log Cabin press release).
To justify this statement, her record should be examined in as much detail as possible.
As Governor of Alaska for the past 20 months, and prior as a mayor and council member of a small Alaskan town, Sarah Palin does not have many public statements regarding equality for gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans. We have created a comparison of Palin's known positions on LGBT equality with those of Senators McCain, Obama, and Biden, and we have also listed the specifics about Palin positions on gay rights. From this we know three things about her regarding equality:
1) She opposes marriage equality. Unlike Obama, who says that marriage is between a man and a woman, but who supports the right of each state to define relationships (including civil marriage in California), Palin supported an amendment to Alaska's constitution to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. McCain did the same in Arizona.
2) She vetoed legislation that would have denied the rights of same-sex partners of Alaska state employees to receive health and retirement benefits. This veto is often referred to in order to say she is pro-LGBTQ. In reality, she vetoed the legislation not because of any support for equality, but because the Alaska Attorney General, also a Republican, informed her that the legislation was clearly unconstitutional in view of a recent decision of the Alaska Supreme Court. Palin then went on to support a statewide public referendum (which cost the state between $750,000 and $1.2 million) to ask voters about a constitutional amendment to ensure that partners of state employees would not get these basic benefits.
3) She has stated that she has gay friends. This is used, presumably, to point out her open mindedness and support for LGBTQ equality. As we know, even the most staunchly anti-equality politicians have gay friends and family. Vice President Cheney has a lesbian daughter, Karl Rove had a gay stepfather (whom he adored and considered a father), and Alan Keyes has a lesbian daughter. These individuals have not only friends, but also close relatives who are gay and lesbian. Yet these individuals did great damage to our community and were road blocks to the advancement of LGBTQ equality.
We do not yet know her positions on other Equality Goals (Hate Crimes, ENDA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, DOMA, Transgender Equality, LGBTQ Youth Protections, LGBTQ Parenting Rights). We encourage Log Cabin Republicans to ask for her clear positions on these goals before issuing an endorsement. A simple and quick questionnaire for a candidate's positions on equality is available here.
Those answers will have to be compared to John McCain positions on equality to make a decision. If answers to the questions to Governor Palin are not available in time for the endorsement, then the only real guidance for making an endorsement is Senator McCain's well documented positions, which are anti-equality, and do not warrant the endorsement of a gay rights organization.
A recommendation based on other criteria would damage the reputation of Log Cabin Republicans because it would go against its own mission which states, "We stand for the proposition that all of us are created equal-worthy of the same rights to freedom, liberty, and equality."
Juan Ahonen-Jover, Ph.D.
Ken Ahonen-Jover, M.D.
P.S. Readers commenting on this article: we ask that you please do not attack Log Cabin Republicans. The purpose of this article is to encourage them to follow their own mission and make an endorsement based on the position on equality of the candidates.