Video: Gay republicans react to Foley

updated 10/9/2006 4:36:08 PM ET 2006-10-09T20:36:08

The Mark Foley scandal is pitting blue against red in the aisles of Congress, but also creating a dividing line within the GOP.  Some conservative members are seizing an opportunity to push gays further away from their party.

During the 2000 political convention, comedian Chris Rock made a joke that the GOP is like the bar Cheers, except nobody knows his name and nobody’s glad he came.  In some ways, that has also been the experience for openly gay Republicans.

We sat down with Patrick Sammon, the executive vice president of Log Cabin, a group of more than 20,000 gay Republicans.  On the table were the issues of Foley fallout, and coming out as gay in conservative politics.

"The Most": Isn’t it an oxymoron to be a gay Republican?

Sammon: The fact is that one in four gay and lesbian people are Republicans because they believe in limited government, personal responsibility and strong defense and they serve with distinction.

"The Most":But there are some members of the GOP that don’t approve of homosexuality.  Will they use the fallout from the Foley scandal to their advantage? 

Sammon: It’s unfortunate that some anti-gay groups are using the Foley situation to score political points.   Foley’s actions are shameful and his behavior is immoral and unethical.

"The Most":  There are groups out there trying to out gay Republicans because they think it’s hypocritical to hide in the closet.  Do you advocate outing politicians?

Sammon: Log Cabin unequivocally opposes outing because it is motivated by vengeance.  In terms of creating a better environment we are seeing more and more people admitting to that aspect of their life.  In politics it is about ideology and when politicians work hard to represent their constituents their sexual orientation becomes irrelevant for many people.

"The Most": Is it getting easier to be a gay Republican?

Sammon: There are many openly gay Republicans working at different levels of government and as society, in general, and the Republican party is becoming more inclusive all across America, as people are coming out to their families, co-workers and friends and there’s support of gays and lesbians.  They are having their 30th Anniversary this year and have worked to make it acceptable to be gay and Republican.  

"The Most":  Will there be long-term Foley fallout for gay GOPers?

Sammon: The Foley situation is terrible but the fact of the matter is that it is important for the Republican party and the country at large to recognize that there are gay and lesbian people paying taxes and making the community better and working to make the party more tolerant of gays and lesbians.

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