Monday, February 16, 2004

Destroying the CAGOP

The California Republican Party is as, or more, loathsome as any in the country. If the Log Cabin Republicans succeed in making inroads into the party they'll cause a complete meltdown:

Several weeks ago, Assembly and Senate Republican political strategists put out a call to GOP groups asking them to recruit candidates for legislative districts where the party needed to show the flag.

It turns out the flag they're showing is rainbow-colored.

The group that recruited the largest number of candidates was the Log Cabin Club, the main gay GOP organization in the state.

At a time when same-sex marriage has emerged as an issue that the national Republican leadership hopes to use against Democrats, 11 Log Cabin Republicans are on the March 2 ballot running for legislative office, seven for the Assembly and four for the Senate.

If they become the party nominees -- and seven are running unopposed in the March primary -- that guarantees the Log Cabin members a seat on the state GOP central committee and the possibility of more seats, depending on how well the candidate runs.

"We want people to have a true choice," said Shane Connolly, 35, a corporate finance manager and a Log Cabin Republican running in the 13th Senate District, a South Bay seat. "We want to send a message that the Republican Party isn't what you may think it is."

It's a message that some Republican leaders are happy to send.

"We are the party that allows for diverse positions on any number of issues," said California Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim, who spoke supportively of the efforts of the Log Cabin members.

"We work it out within the party and have the best person run who holds Republican values," Sundheim said.

But conservatives, a key component of the Republican coalition, say the Log Cabin Club does not represent core Republican values.

"They are a single-issue organization. They would be better off calling themselves the Gay Party," said Randy Thomasson, executive director of Campaign for California Families, a self-described pro-family organization that last week filed suit to stop San Francisco's decision to legalize same-sex marriages.

"It isn't because they're homosexuals that there's a problem," said the Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition. "The problem is with the homosexual agenda to overturn the heterosexual ethic of one man, one woman."

Feel the love.