Log Cabin Republicans announce support for HR 4260

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U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers

Log Cabin Republicans announced today its support for the Ryan White Patient Equity and Choice Act, introduced in March by U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.

The bill, aka HR 4260, is intended to ensure appropriate allocation of funding for the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act program. Tim Boyd, director of domestic policy for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told Dallas Voice in April that the bill would shift funding to account for the rise in infection rates in areas and populations “that didn’t get prevention messages before” especially in the South.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, is one of the co-sponsors of the bill, and Dallas HIV service providers — such as AIDS Services of Dallas (led by CEO Don Maison) and Resource Center (led by CEO Cece Cox) — support the legislation, too.

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said today that HR 4260 would “help hundreds of thousands of Americans with HIV obtain better or first-time care. Furthermore, this bill will continue to fund groundbreaking research that will help eliminate the spread of HIV and save countless lives in the future.”

Angelo said Log Cabin “commend[s] Congresswoman Ellmers for her leadership” on HR 4260 and called on members of Congress of both parties to work together to get it enacted.

Ellmers said she is pleased to have Log Cabin’s support, calling the organization’s backing “an important endorsement [that] speaks volumes for the bipartisan support this bill continues to gain … . I will continue to work with my colleagues to quickly move this bill through the House of Representatives.”

Log Cabin’s press release cited statistics saying there are about 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, but that 20 percent do not know their HIV status and only 40 percent see a medical professional on a regular basis. Another 70 percent “are capable of spreading the virus,” the press released said.

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

Tobacco money funds Log Cabin Republicans, other conservatives

UnknownLog Cabin Republicans received $11,000 from tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. in 2013, more than than the $4,000 the company gave to the Charles- and David Koch-supported Americans for Prosperity, The Center for Public Integrity reported. Reynolds also donated $10,000 to a group that’s been called “a secretly funded arm” of New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez’s re-election campaign. Martinez is a Republican.

I don’t understand the Log Cabin Republicans, and I’ve tried. They’re like the embarrassing cousins the Republicans hope won’t show up for the wedding. The GOP isn’t shy about showing its disdain for the LGBT community, but Log Cabin can’t take a hint and keeps knocking on the door. What’s worse is they support GOP candidates who make a show of gunning for us. They don’t want us to have equality, and they campaign to keep them from us. Still, Log Cabin members hope that if they show up at the wedding in fancy cars, they’ll get to join in the festivities.

Just keep driving around the back and park with the rest of the hired help.

—  Steve Ramos

Tea Party Leader: Republican Party in Florida being taken over by gay ‘thugs’

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Danita Kilcullen

The co-founder of a Florida Tea Party group compared Log Cabin Republicans to gay “thugs” and complained they have taken control of the local party in Broward County and are pushing a progressive platform.

The New York Daily News reported Thursday that Danita Kilcullen wrote the slur in an email early in November as she expressed her displeasure at nondiscrimination legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was up for debate in Congress.

She denounced the bill that would force her to “hire someone with orange hair, body/neck/face covered with tattoos, multiple piercings, or a man in a dress … or for that matter, a demonstrative effeminate male or purposeful butch-looking female,” she wrote, according to an email obtained by the Sun-Sentinel.

Her scathing attack added, “The Log Cabins are the same lobbyist organization that has all but taken over BREC (Broward Republican Executive Committee) … Keep in mind, this is a thug organization with only their own ‘special interests’ in play.”

The message was denounced by Broward County Republican Chair Tom Truex, who complained about the Tea Party splintering the conservative movement with their aggression.

Kilcullen has been active in the local Tea Party effort since its founding in 2009, but has previously courted controversy, when she was arrested in 2011 for allegedly kicking a police officer with a 3-inch stiletto high heel.

The tea partier told the the Broward/Palm Beach New Times the run-in with the law came because she was fighting “injustice” and trying to use the bathroom at the Embassy Suites hotel in Boca Raton.

Police say she appeared intoxicated when she began screaming obscenities at security protecting a private function at the hotel. After a scuffle, police say she resisted arrest and kicked a police officer twice in the chest with her spiky heel.

She pleaded guilty to trespassing and a lesser charge of misdemeanor resisting arrest in October 2011 and was sentenced to 20 hours of community service. Then in 2013, she was accused of racism when she responded to a tweet by R&B singer Toni Braxton after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for Trayvon Martin’s murder.

“I too am embarrassed to be an American when our government and society fail to empower and protect all people,” Braxton tweeted in reaction.

Kilcullen took to her personal Facebook account in a message aimed at Braxton, “Yo, girl, you can’t take America’s justice system? Go be an African!!”

 

—  Steve Ramos

Dan Branch denied being a homophobe, said he has gay family members in ’08

branchdanState Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who has repeatedly emphasized his opposition to same-sex marriage since launching a campaign for attorney general, told a gay GOP group in 2008 that he isn’t a homophobe and that he has gay family members.

Branch addressed Log Cabin Republicans on July 28 at Mattito’s in Uptown Dallas. At the time, Branch was running for re-election to his House seat against Democratic challenger Emil Reichstadt. Branch represents part of Dallas traditional gay neighborhood, and he had come under fire for his anti-gay voting record from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, which backed Reichstadt.

According to a Dallas Voice article about the meeting, Branch told Log Cabin that the fact he may disagree with the LGBT community on certain issues didn’t make him a homophobe.

“I think when someone disagrees, that for me to call them a hetero-phobe would be a terrible thing, so I refuse to play,” Branch said.

—  John Wright

Dan Branch vows to defend state’s right to trample on rights of women, gays

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State Rep. Dan Branch speaks at a Log Cabin Republicans meeting in Dallas in 2008. But don’t expect Branch to address the gay GOP group again now that he’s running for statewide office. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

Republican State Rep. Dan Branch, who represents much of Dallas’ Oak Lawn gayborhood in the Texas House, vowed to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as he kicked off his campaign for attorney general on Tuesday.

“Whether defending our First Amendment freedoms, the Second Amendment right to bear arms or the 10th Amendment’s reservation of power to the states, I will exhaust all available remedies to protect Texas from attacks on our freedoms,” Branch said. “When our federal government fails to protect our borders or fulfill its commitment of emergency relief to communities like West, I won’t stop until the federal bureaucrats are held accountable. And I will fight for our state’s right to protect the unborn and our right to define marriage as between one man and one woman.”

In other words, Branch wants to protect Texas’ “right” to trample on the freedoms of women and same-sex couples.

—  John Wright

Texas GOP lawmaker pledges support for gay rights, says party is changing

State Rep. Sarah Davis

State Rep. Sarah Davis

AUSTIN — Log Cabin Republicans from across Texas met in Austin this weekend to share ideas on the Republican Party’s growing support for gay rights and how they could influence lawmakers in the state to back equality.

Members from Dallas, Houston and Austin chapters attended the first-ever statewide conference, as well as a few people from San Antonio, who decided they would try to start a chapter later this year.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, addressed a group of about 35 people Friday as the keynote in the speaker series.

Davis began her speech by acknowledging the audience’s “courage and the bravery that I think many of you have shown probably spending a great period of your life struggling with your identity and then finally having the courage and the strength of character to come out to your friends and family as a Republican.”

While Davis is not a member of the LGBT community, she said she understands what it is like, recalling when members of the Republican Party looked at her suspiciously when she was the only member of the party to vote against the sonogram bill last session because she believed it was about personal freedom and keeping the government out of the doctor’s office.

Davis said her philosophy is to vote on the basis of personal freedom, individual responsibility and limited government, adding that Republicans allow social issues to cloud their judgment when it comes to those ideals, including placing “what I believe to be inappropriate restrictions on your personal relationships involving two consenting adults.”

—  Anna Waugh

Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas president becomes national officer

Thomas Purdy

Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas President Thomas Purdy has been elected secretary of  National Log Cabin Republicans.

That’s a fast rebound for the Dallas chapter that was decommissioned by the national organization in the fall of 2011 after a disagreement between its then-president and the national group.

A year ago, a newly invigorated club emerged with Thomas Purdy chosen as president. Purdy joined the national board last spring and has now been elected secretary.

At a national board meeting held earlier this month in Las Vegas, Purdy said, board chairman Jerry Katlin encouraged him to run for the position that became vacant at the end of 2012.

Meetings are held quarterly in cities around the country, “so we have opportunities to interact with our chapters across the country,” Purdy said.

He said as a Log Cabin member, he wants to serve as an advocate for freedom and equality of LGBT Americans within the Republican Party.

His goal, and that of Log Cabin,  is “to truly and uniformly apply the conservative principles of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility for all — repeat, ALL — Americans,” Purdy said.

—  David Taffet

Faced with $30K shortfall, National Stonewall Democrats goes ‘on hiatus’

Jerame Davis

National Stonewall Democrats is officially “on hiatus,” Executive Director Jerame Davis said in an exclusive interview with Dallas Voice on Monday.

The organization suspended operations on Jan. 1 but plans a relaunch for 2014.

“A lot of decisions are being made,” Davis told the Voice. “It’s likely our office will be closed for most of this year.”

Davis continues to work as an unpaid volunteer and will use the current office in Washington, D.C., at least through the end of the month.

Local and state chapters will continue to operate normally. Stonewall Democrats of Dallas President Omar Narvaez said his group’s regular monthly meeting is Jan 15. He described the Stonewall as very grassroots, operating from the bottom up, and said locally nothing will change.

In an email to members in early December, Davis warned the organization was facing a $30,000 deficit and might be forced to close if the money was not raised.

Davis became executive director of National Stonewall Democrats in December 2011 and inherited the organization’s debt.

“We’ve never raised enough money out of dues alone to keep the organization going,” he said.

—  David Taffet

Gay GOP group takes out full-page marriage equality ad in Tampa paper

Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry and Log Cabin Republicans will be running the above full-page ad (click to enlarge) in Wednesday’s Tampa Tribune calling on the GOP to support the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples.

Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry teamed to air an ad on TV featuring San Diego’s Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders arguing the case for marriage equality. Find the video here.

The full-page color ad features photos of same-sex couples and their families. It emphasizes that the freedom to marry is fully consistent with principles valued by conservatives — freedom, personal responsibility and the importance of family.

An email from Log Cabin Republicans said the ad comes in the wake of the party’s extreme stance on marriage in its draft platform, which includes support for a federal constitutional amendment banning the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Tony Perkins, the president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, authored the marriage plank, which is expected to be ratified at the convention.

“Gay or straight, Republicans are united in the belief that strong families are critical to a free society,” said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. “As fellow conservatives, Log Cabin Republicans actually agree with Tony Perkins about the importance of family values. The difference is, we believe that the freedom to marry is directly in line with the core ideals and principles of the Republican Party — less government, more individual freedom, personal responsibility and the importance of family.”

—  David Taffet

Gay Republican wins Tarrant County precinct chair race

William Busby, a 20-year-old Republican active in Fort Worth politics, won his precinct race Tuesday night against a longtime chair.

Busby won in South Fort Worth’s precinct 4256. He said he decided to run because the current chair has served for more than a decade and has rarely attended important events and committee meetings in the past year.

While open about his sexuality, Busby said he won the race without his opponent running an anti-gay campaign, despite few gay Republicans being open in his political circles.

“I’m pretty much one of the few,” he said, adding that his stronger presence in the party will help change any anti-gay attitudes. “I think it helps to bring openness to the party.”

Busby is one the few openly gay Republicans elected in Tarrant County, if not the first. And while he won with seven votes in a race that garnered 17 total votes, he said the impact was still important.

Dallas GOP leader Rob Schlein won his North Dallas precinct chair race after beating Homer Adams by five votes.

Schlein said Tuesday night that he was the first openly gay Republican to win contested primary in Texas, but gay Dallsite Paul von Wupperfeld said about a dozen gay Republicans were elected in contested precinct chair races in the early 90s in Travis County.

Von Wupperfeld said he served as a precinct chair in Travis County in the 90s and served on the platform committee in Travis County in 1990 and 1992. He was also elected as a delegate to the GOP state conventions in 1990, 1992 and 1994 and served as the state chairman of Log Cabin Republicans.

Von Wupperfeld moved to Dallas 16 years ago and is now a Democrat. He said Schlein was not even he first openly gay Republican elected in the county, as three men in the 90s were elected in Dallas County – Stan Aten, Keith Pomykal and P.D. Sterling. And while Schlein is the first openly gay Republican elected in at least 10 years, von Wupperfeld said it doesn’t reflect a changing, more inclusive Republican Party.

“The GOP in Dallas County is gone,” he said. “When they take all the hate language out of the platform and stop running anti-gay candidates and campaigns, maybe there’s change. Just electing one gay candidate is nothing.”

—  Anna Waugh