The libertarian Cato Institute’s panel discussion, “Is There a Place for Gay People in Conservatism and Conservative Politics?,” preceded the appearance of Gay rights activists at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Panelists at Cato included Andrew Sullivan, the former editor of New Republic and currently a blogger with The Daily Dish Blog, Nick Herbert, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Conservative Party, United Kingdom, and Maggie Gallaher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage.
Herbert gave a presentation on the UK’s Conservative Party’s inclusion and pursuit of gay rights as part of its political agenda. He noted that “gay people are not the property of the left.” Advocating political expedience, he noted that by embracing the issue of gay right, the Conservative Party has become more reflective of the constituencies that they sought to represent. He emphasized the “need to reconnect politics with a disillusioned public.”
Maggie Gallagher noted that “America remains a unique place.” She noted that unlike the convenience of political expediency advocated by Herbert, the acceptance of gay rights was not a political necessity for America. In addition, she commented that “There’s always been gay conservatives.” While there are multiple models and examples to follow, the final solution will be a “new and uniquely American position.”
In a very impassioned and emotion-filled speech, another Briton, Andrew Sullivan described himself as “openly gay and conservative.” He stated “I’ve always been a Tory, not a Republican.” Sullivan became a conservative “because I grew up in a socialist country.” However, he noted that the Republican Party has become a religious organization “whose soul has been corrupted by power.” Although he favors marriage rights, he disagrees with all hate crimes legislation. He concluded by stating, “We have fought the good fight against forces others can never understand.”
Ed. Same-sex marriage began in Washington, D. C. on March 3, 2010. Opposition to same-sex marriages stretches across ideological and party lines in America. For example, two states which voted for President Obama in the last presidential election—Vermont and California—delivered stunning setbacks to same-sex marriage. Neither state elects many, if any, Republicans, let alone conservatives.