Juan and Ken Ahonen-Jover

Open Letter to Log Cabin Republicans

Filed By Juan and Ken Ahonen-Jover | August 31, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: election 2008, GOP, John McCain, LCR, Log Cabin Republicans, Sarah Palin

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.
Founders, eQualityGiving

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.

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Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | August 31, 2008 3:05 PM

Juan and Ken,

I agree with what you say in this letter. I understand the necessity of working with both political parties to build support for LGBT civil rights. Working within the GOP is an important function that LCR can play.

In 2004 LCR made the decision not to endorse President Bush because of his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment. That was a courageous stand to take. Hopefully when all is said and done, LCR will show such courage again and not endorse a candidate who has opposed LGBT civil rights simply because he is the Republican nominee.

John R. Selig | August 31, 2008 3:41 PM

Statement of Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon about Gov. Sarah Palin

“Alaska Governor Sarah Palin can help Sen. McCain win this election by appealing to independent and young voters. She’s a mainstream Republican who will unite the Party and serve John McCain well as Vice President. Gov. Palin is an inclusive Republican who will help Sen. McCain appeal to gay and lesbian voters.”


"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."

She not only supported the referendum about the amendment, she actively pushed for passage of the referendum itself in an effort to deny the benefits.

Do you earnestly think this letter will reach any ears/eyes?

The usual response from LCR's out to "educate" will be "Oh, I had run out of toilet paper, how convenient."

OK, I am a divisive bitch.
I am going to attack the LCR's again.

Palin is anti-gay, unreservedly and unapologetically unless you count her "friends" who must all be LCR's since any of the rest of us would speak up to her in opposition to the damage that she causes to our community...

She is woefully inexperienced, with less than two years governing a state with a population half the size of Muncie Indiana and as commander in chief of a national guard half the size of the Philadelphia Police Department...

And the LCR's, in their insiaiable desire to line their own pockets at the cost of the rest of our well being and their unrelivable hunger to curry favour with our oppressors are trying to sell this anti-feminist to us as something good?

Please, spare me; better yet, spare us all....

I'm beginning to think the LCR folk are going senile. Andrew Sullivan has had this to say about Palin:

But she is a rare Republican governor who signed benefits for gay couples into law, as a matter of constitutional equality. And she has gay friends.

I cannnot locate anything about Ms Palin actually signing into law benefits for gay couples. Even what Sullivan quotes (from a now defunct Wiki entry) said:
While the previous administration did not implement same-sex benefits, Palin complied with a state Supreme Court order and signed them into law.[28] She disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling[29] and supported a democratic advisory vote from the public on whether there should be a constitutional amendment on the matter.[30] ....

Palin's first veto was used to block legislation that would have barred the state from granting benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In effect, her veto granted State of Alaska benefits to same-sex couples. The veto occurred after Palin consulted with Alaska's attorney general on the constitutionality of the legislation.[29]
I don't get it, does not Sullivan have the savvy anymore to recognize that, "She disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling[29] and supported a democratic advisory vote from the public on whether there should be a constitutional amendment on the matter,[30]" means Palin does not support benefits for gay and lesbian couples? The Wiki article on her position now reads quite simply (as of my post):

Palin opposes same-sex marriage[26] and supported a non-binding referendum for a constitutional amendment to deny state health benefits to same-sex couples.[99] Palin has stated that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.[26]

Some people are doing some awfully strange things to justify their own beliefs in the Republican party.

Bah, beat me to it! This is what I get for mixing a drink while I have the entry open to write a comment!


Or great minds....

You asked: "Do you earnestly think this letter will reach any ears/eyes?"

Yes, this letter was sent and received by the highest levels at Log Cabin Republicans.

Let's wait and see whether they endorse McCain/Palin or not. They would have to have significant confirmed pro-equality positions from Palin and then McCain shifting his anti-equality positions to justify the endorsement of a ticket in which the top of the ticket is so clearly anti-equality.

Let's give them the respect to go through their process. But everybody knows now that spinning won't do. It is a really definitive moment for Log Cabin Republicans.

They've had no trouble spinning McCain positively, who is a considerably worse prospect where positions are involved. I'm sure they won't have trouble spinning Palin positively for the sake of rationalizing partisanship.

From America's favorite gay Republican:

This deserves a second note from yours truly. McCain's pick was the most pro-gay move any Republican has made since George H.W. Bush added hate crimes against gays to the national statistical base. I know that's not saying much, but the details are here. Bottom line:

Palin's first veto was used to block legislation that would have barred the state from granting benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In effect, her veto granted State of Alaska benefits to same-sex couples.

Yes, she opposes equality in marriage. So does Obama. And, yes, she's much worse than Obama on civil unions:

Palin said she's not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay, but that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment. Elected officials can't defy the court when it comes to how rights are applied, she said, but she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexual couples.

But she is a rare Republican governor who signed benefits for gay couples into law, as a matter of constitutional equality. And she has gay friends. It's a good day for gay Republicans, and the clear public references to gay rights in all the major Democratic speeches last week shows how far we've come.

LCR's aren't alone.

I think for some beating up on the lcr's comes a little to easily.If one believes that lgbt rights are a universal need then making it political or about one party does a diservice to them.The Republican Party is an embarrassing mess right now not just to those who are lgbt but also to America.I would happily support a fiscally conservative socially liberal Republican party but I admit that is not to be at this time.But John Mc Cain as bad as he is,is still a move away from the far right and might be viewed as a baby step back to the center certainly someone worth trying to engage instead of turning into a steadfast enemy.While he may not be pro lgbt I feel that if he is elected president the tide may not turn back but that he would be less likely to support the on going violence towards us that the Bush administration has turned a blind eye to and maybe even supported by their anti lgbt retoric.The LCR has my respect for at the very least trying to advance are rights into a party that is less than receptive while at the same time being beat down by those they are trying to help.As a T I can say that I certainly don't have any worse feelings for the LCR's than say Barney Frank or HRC by the way anyone feel like helping pull that knife from my back?

When the LCR's try to sell us on someone who opposes partner benefits and whose "executive experience" consists of running a state with a smaller population than Manhattan borough and whose "Commander in Chief" exerience is overseeing force half the size of the Philadelphia Police Department, when they want us to support a party that gave us a fiscal disaster that may be the undoing of the US as a power and lead to catastrophic deflation of the value of the dollar, when they by and large are advocates of throwing the trans-community not only under the bus but out of the LGBT community, when they sugar coat the poison that a Republican Majority's Judicial picks would be presenting to us, then I can have absolutely no respect for their accomadationist and colllaborationist positions.

I am sorry, but I cannot master that kind of intellectual and moral sophistry necessary to respect, let alone embrace, their positions.

They have and can continue to refer to me and to mine as "lefty liberal Lesbians" all that they wish but the incongruity of so labelling a woman whose monetary and fiscal views make Wolfowitz look like a screaming socialist ought to at least give them pause....

Maura my life has been greatly effected by the housing downturn in the last couple of years.I could easily have lost 300,000 or more because of it and have lost a house and probably will have to file for chapter 11.At some point I have to accept some personal accountability for it but I also hold the banking industry as accountable or more.Having worked inside the new and remodel aspects of construction (Tilesetter)I have ran into many in the banking industry inspecting to make sure the work is being completed as billed.These inspections have nothing to do with the quality of the work being performed only to ensure it is being completed (I asked them).Then who continued to loan money as the bubble grew on homes they didn't inspect for quality? The lack of quality construction can be tied to the use of illegals many of whom have less than a third grade education level and those who would use them.Many banks that have made loans to illegals and those who work them should be held accountable for doing business with a person illegally here or persons engage in the criminal activity of working them.Government bailouts of businesses engaged in corrupt or shady business practices must come to an end.Those businesses are just like people they can be replaced hopefully by better smarter ones that can find the right balance between profitability and being a good neighbor.Government bailouts and restructuring send the message it's okay to do bad business at the expense of tax payers and in the worst case you'll be slapped on the wrist for doing it.The other thing that really disturbs me about bailouts it smells of communism and government owning business.

Many banks and their loan departments were stupid, reckless and greedy for the fast dollar/euro. My early career was made investigating such practices (Barings, Drexel).

I am talking about "print and spend" economics in a form where income to the government is by and large irrevelant.

The immigration issue wholly aside, the meta-policies of the US Government are those of a high stakes gambler at Caesars using fake assets to keep the line of credit going.

The world allows the US government to get away with money printed on nothing but a promise.I believe outside pressure needs to be placed on Washington to control deficit spending something that I don't believe the Constitution allows a remedy for other than by vote.Another thing that needs remedied is how we view businesses and there role in society and there influence on government.

I think the odds are about 2-1 in favor of a Nov. victory for McCain/Palin. And I'm afraid that queers and our rights and interests are going to be their blood-sacrifice to the Christianist right when they cannot deliver on their other promises. I have seen absolutely nothing about either of them that indicates they would feel any compunction at using us in this way.

Beating up on the LCR's, the Republicans, The Democrats, the Green party, the Independents etc. is all too easy. Everyone's human and everyone has the right to see reality through whatever rose colored glassed they may choose to wear. Some of the smartest people I know have the most mind bending, backward inclined logic when it comes to politics.
I was born and raised in Michigan. I was born a Democrat and, barring some bizarre twist to the party, I'll die a Democrat. In Michigan the race is supposedly tight. I suspect the the DNC did themselves a disservice when they all but stripped Michigan of its imput in the nomination system. When I meet LCR's, which isn't often, but does happen from time to time, I don't bludgeon them with my opinion on how to vote. I do list off the reasons why McCain and Palin (In particular Palin) are unfit choices for office. In Palin's case, her association with The Assembly of God church is near the top of my list, since my partner of nearly twenty four years has a father who is an Assembly of God preacher. (Yes, having the in-laws over is a treat at our house...Not!) And then having talked of Palin's very firm church related affliations, I ask benignly if they would like her as President should McCain kick the bucket. That particular question has quieted more than one LRC and a couple of McCain supporters in general. McCain was out of his mind to pick someone with so little experience in office when he often looks like he's on death's door himself.
Still, when I state my case, I'm friendly and do not blanche when they bring up their political reasoning. I've learned from many years of experience, you get further in life with honey and not vinegar.

It is hard to educate those whom we attack. If we go after the LCR how can they be expected to listen?

The LCR's are the GLBT equivalent of Black conservatives.

Selling out their own people for their own selfish gain.

We all deserve to have our opinions and our rights, and as Gays and Lesbians we are as diverse as the rest of the population, as an aids activist I wish that LCR would take a step back and look at what the greater good is for all of us. There are many gay people as their are straight who do not have the answer to other Gay & Lesbians best interest. We barely know anything about this woman and in my honest opinion I think the LCR are about as healthy & helpful as an ex-gay-gay.... Does it have to always get as bad as a re-election campaign based in a federal marriage amendment for Log Cabin Republicans to wake up and stop behaving as the GOP's doormat ? Look at the candidates individually b4 blindly throwing support behind someone that say's she has gay friends, and folded under pressure when she utilized her Veto, she wasn't trying to help us. Abstinence only platform - Oh yeah She sounds like our next Gay Diva. Please