Confronting the Pride Divide

Blood, Sweat, and Fed Up Queers at the Log Cabin Republican Conference

Despite Saturday night's disruptions of their banquet, and the vaguely besmirching media swirl that has surrounded it, Log Cabiners are more committed than ever to supporting Republican candidates for state and national public office. At the end of their meeting on Sunday, while FUQ activists were still holding press conferences and pacing the sidewalk outside the hotel, Log Cabiners announced the results of a straw poll they had taken earlier in the day among conference attendees in New York City. Senator John McCain was a clear winner with 57 votes. George W. Bush came in second with 43 votes, and Elizabeth Dole brought up the rear with only five votes.

If this weekend's internecine clash between the right and left wings of gay activism is any indication of things to come, gays of all stripes may be in for a rough ride in the next year. Democrats, who, in the last two decades, have virtually taken the gay vote for granted, and who, in 2000, will be leaving gays with a checkered legacy that includes the homophobic "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the Defense of Marriage Act, may be forced to consider the question most gay voters are starting to ask of all candidates, Republicans and Democrats: What have you done for me lately? Republicans, on the other hand, may seem to be warming up to gays, but as the Human Rights Campaign's Stachelberg warned last weekend, gays shouldn't count their chickens too soon. "The tone and tenor of much of the Republican Party and of many Republicans has changed," she said. "There's an acknowledgment that didn't exist before that there are gay men and lesbians in everyone's district across this country. And this is a very positive sign. . . . But we have to be careful not to make too much of that. It's important that we get results."

In a tone that seemed to express both his excitement about the campaign trail ahead, and his sadness about some gay activists' apparent unwillingness to work together, Rich Tafel agreed with Stachelberg. "We've got a long year ahead of us," he said.

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