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Log Cabin Republicans' Sammon expands on his backing of McCain

by Nick Langewis

Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon, on the floor of the Republican National Convention, further explained his organization's endorsement of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for President despite the Republican Party's anti-equality platform.

"I think Senator McCain is the inclusive leader who can return the to a unifying core principle," Sammon told CNN. "In recent years the party got off track by focusing on divisive social issues. Four years ago, President Bush ran for reelection trying to use gay and lesbian people as a wedge issue by supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment. Senator McCain is a much different kind of candidate, bringing the party together."

McCain "courageously" voted against the 2004 Federal Marriage Amendment, Sammon said, "and paid a price for it among social conservatives."

"I'm optimistic, and Log Cabin is certainly proud to endorse Senator McCain," Sammon went on. "We're not going to agree on every issue, but at the same time he's someone who can bring the party together, and I think, move it in a direction that's more inclusive."

McCain has signed off on the Republican platform, which includes new support for an amendment to the Constitution to bar recognition of same-sex marriages. "Because our children's future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage," the platform reads (Page 53), "we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it. In the absence of a national amendment, we support the right of the people of the various states to affirm traditional marriage through state initiatives."

Asked the anchor: "That doesn't give you pause?"

"Certainly, I disagree with a lot of...the platform, certainly what's in there relating to gay rights, but I think the platform is largely symbolic," Sammon responded. "The day after it's passed, people don't pay attention to it. The important thing is that Senator McCain...opposed that constitutional amendment.

"I'd rather have a candidate that agrees with me than a platform that agrees with me. It's also important to point out that among rank-and-file Republicans, there's much stronger support for gay rights."

Sammon cited a recent CBS/New York Times poll showing that 49% of 854 polled GOP delegates favored some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples. "77% of Republicans," he added, "don't think that a business should have the right to fire someone because of their sexual orientation. 64% of Republicans think that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military.

"Certainly there's a loud and vocal segment of our party, among social conservatives, who are hostile to gay rights, but among rank-and-file Republicans I think there's much broader support for gay rights than people think."

Democrats might have more in common with Sammon on LGBT issues, the anchor guessed, asking: "Why not support Democrats?"

"Well, I agree with 90% of what the Republican Party supports," Sammon said. "I don't think government is the solution to every problem. I think we need an aggressive foreign policy that takes on the terrorists. I think we need fiscal responsibility. I don't think we need government intruding too deeply on health care; I think we need a market-based approach to health care reform...We need businesses to have the ability to...not have interference from government. So, across the board, I'm supportive of Republican issues. At the same time, the Republican Party isn't where it needs to be on gay and lesbian issues. I'm the first to admit that, but I think it's important to work from inside the party to make it better, because ultimately, gay rights will be impossible to achieve unless there's support from both Republicans and Democrats."

Video of the interview appears below, courtesy of GLAAD:









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Originally published on Wednesday September 3, 2008.


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