It isn’t just gay Alaskans who are happy with Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket. Even some Hillary Democrats who had been pulling for McCain since their candidate lost are pleased, with one e-mailing me to say that the Republican ticket is one he is “enthusiastic about and I’m honestly surprised by that, having never entertained the thought of voting Republican before (with the exception of Schwarzenegger).” He had been hoping for some time that McCain would pick her.
Gay Republicans who gathered in St. Paul for the Republican convention were happy with the pick. Some were just relieved that McCain hadn’t tapped former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Others were delighted at having a new face from outside our nation’s capital on the ticket.
Calling Palin an “inclusive Republican,” Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon believes Palin will benefit the GOP ticket by “appealing to independent and young voters.”
The pick has even helped make gay conservatives skeptical about John McCain more comfortable with their party’s nominee. Kevin who blogs at Queer Conservative, said it “showed me that he will listen, that he will change his mind if he thinks it’s the right decision. … He won’t be stubborn like Bush even in the face of evidence he’s wrong.”
Like many other Republicans, gay Republicans cite Palin’s reform record and mainstream conservative views as the basis of their support. We like that she took on the corrupt Republican establishment in Alaska and hope she can help John McCain do something similar in Washington, DC. And we like her plucky nature. Sarah Palin is no ordinary politician. We were wowed by her speech at the Republican Convention.
To be sure, we have some concerns about her stands on gay issues. She supported her state’s 1998 constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, barring state recognition of same-sex nuptials.
She’s also said that “she’s not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay,” confirming Eric’s impressions. We do wish she would chastise her church, the Wasilla Bible Church, for promoting the notion that homosexuality is “curable.” I fear, alas, that is not going to happen.
While she is solid on most issues of concern to us as Republicans, she is not perfect on gay issues. But most gay Republicans, like most Republicans, understand that the solutions to social problems do not come from the state. And we know we need reform in Washington, the kind of reform Sarah Palin brought to Juneau.
While John McCain’s “selection of the Alaska governor has energized the GOP’s socially conservative wing,” it has also inspired a lot of gay and lesbian Republicans. It has brought together left-leaning lesbians and Hillary-supporting gay men concerned about Barack Obama’s qualifications with gay conservatives unhappy with McCain’s frequent departures from party orthodoxy.
We see in Sarah Palin John McCain’s real commitment to reform. That is why, despite her mixed record on gay issues, we are excited by her nomination. And I’m delighted that, for this season at least, I can stand on the same side of the political fence with a left-leaning friend with whom I often lock horns.
No wonder I was so excited when I read her e-mail last week.