In a move that the Los Angeles Times called “a historic break” the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican group long at odds with the GOP for nearly 40 years, was granted recognition by the California GOP on Sunday.
While at the national GOP level the group is still marginalized, having clashed with organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last month over allegedly being prevented from sponsoring the event, the California GOP is seeking to reverse a losing streak at the ballot box.
While the California GOP measure was not wholly without opposition, the measure passed by the widest of margins, 861-293.
“I have a hard time understanding how we’re going to charter an organization that’s in opposition to our platform” when it comes to same-sex marriage, said California Republican Assembly President John Briscoe, as quoted in the Times.
Gregory T. Angelo, the national executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, is hopeful that other state Republican parties will follow California’s lead.
“State parties are unique and not all of them have a formal ‘chartering’ process like California,” Angelo said in an emailed statement. “For those states that do, we encourage them to follow the California Republican Party’s lead and recognize that Log Cabin Republicans has an important role to play in winning GOP victories nationwide.”
Log Cabin Republicans have long tried to establish themselves in California GOP politics since 1985 despite fierce opposition. The group started with a 400 member club in Los Angeles County and had been chartered by its county central committee for several years while their Orange County Chapter hadn’t been officially recognized by the Republican Central Committee of Orange County.
In 1988, the GOP tried to have the group “de-certified”. The following year, Rep. William E. Dannemeyer tried to place graphic language about homosexual acts into state GOP resolutions (quoting studies on “favorite sexual activities of the average homosexual”). The move was criticized by some California Republicans as obscene and inappropriate.
By 1991, however, the tide had turned for group when state Republicans rejected a proposal that the party is dedicated to a “heterosexual ethic” which was defined as “a man and a woman joined together in an institution called marriage” and by 2001 Republicans in Orange County and elsewhere formed a new alliance to make homosexuality a “non-issue” in the GOP.