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    Some get the gravy / And some get the gristle

    Dale Carpenter’s most recent article makes, as usual, a lot of good points. His discussion of the continuum of attitudes among gays in the Log Cabin Republicans is one of those things that are puzzling at first but sound obvious once explained to you.

    Something he doesn’t really address, though, is why “Republican-first gays” would join an organization with “gay-first Republicans” agenda. You don’t need a formal group to be able to socialize and exchange ideas, right? And if you seriously believe that Republican principles are universally correct and thus more important than gay advocacy, wouldn’t you be driving that point home most effectively by being just an active party member whose homosexuality only comes out organically, in the course of interacting with people?

    Maybe that’s one of the reasons that, despite my disaffection with the Democratic Party and frequent votes for GOP candidates, my encounters with gay Republicans have not moved me to change my registration. I understand what people are trying to get across when they say things like, “We should be Americans first and gays second,” but to me that involves falsely isolating gay issues from everything else in life–less shrilly than leftist queer activists do, to be sure, but just as perniciously.

    All real-life political decisions involve prioritizing, and gay issues are just like everything else in that we sometimes have to put other values ahead of them. I don’t see why we deserve congratulations for doing so like everyone else. Well, okay, that’s a bit harsh. I empathize completely with gestures of the I’m-queer-but-I-still-love-America type, and I’ve been tempted to make them myself. But I think that in the end, they just encourage people to believe that our sexuality is something that everything we believe is somehow oriented by. In that sense, if LCR is going to be useful, it’s probably better for it to focus on frankly evaluating candidates and platforms through the single-issue lens of gay advocacy, leaving it to be understood that other, potentially more important reference points exist but are outside its ken.

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