I know a lot of people who find it nearly impossible to believe that any self-respecting LGBT person could ever actively support a Republican candidate or the Republican Party — especially here in Texas where our top GOP elected official is Gov. Rick Perry and the state GOP platform, even in its new and improved form this year, calls for reparative therapy for LGBT people and has been denounced by the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans.
But at the same time, there are LGBT people — there are two LGBT Republican groups in Dallas, Log Cabin Dallas and Metroplex Republicans — who insist its possible to be a proud LGBT person and believe in traditional Republican values. And even though many gay Republicans acknowledge that today’s GOP doesn’t necessarily adhere to traditional conservative Republican values — again, the Texas Republican Party is a prime example — they still believe the best way to change the GOP is from the inside out.
Now Politico Magazine, in its July/August issue, has published a fascinating piece by Timothy J. Berger, called “Inside George W. Bush’s Closet,” in which he talks to several gay men who worked in G.W.’s administration and on his campaign, helping to get him elected to the White House twice.
Steven Levin, who was then a 22-year-old White House advance aide, recalls for Berger the day in 2006, after he had spent a week getting things ready in Sellersburg, Ind., for a presidential visit, that President Bush spoke against an “activist court” ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, adding, “We believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman, and should be defended.” The crowd loved it, but for the young gay aide, “It was like a slap in the face.”
But still, Levine stayed with Bush through the end of his term.
Then there’s Scott Evertz, Bush’s openly gay AIDS czar, who told Berger how people used to make appointments with him just so they could come by his office to pray for him.
Another gay staffer in the Bush White House estimated that there were at least 70 LGBTs on the staff then, some of them closeted, others not. And most of those who worked with or for President Bush describe him personally as a kind, thoughtful man who accepted them despite his public anti-gay statements.
It’s a really good read and it might give some folks new insight into why LGBT people worked for Bush and why so many of them are determined to stay active in the GOP. Check it out.