(Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, when asked if he supports "the Republican Party apparatus" bolstering openly gay candidates, said "I do," unleashing a storm of debate in the GOP. One conservative strategist denounced the episode as a diversion to the real story in politics, the fallout of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
"Some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be," Boehner added, speaking at a press conference this week. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, denounced the move as an unnecessary distraction from the failings of ObamaCare. "What's the purpose of the Republican platform if the party isn't looking for candidates who uphold it?" Perkins asked.
In an email statement to The Christian Post, Perkins wrote that "the GOP's latest sideshow comes at the expense of the party's greatest opportunity: capitalizing on America's disgust for Obamacare." He criticized the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) for allegedly spending money to support "two activist homosexual candidates."
Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes attacked this move as a violation of NRCC donors' freedom. "Our goal is to make certain every individual has the right to express his or her belief, while no one is compelled to support financially or otherwise those who disagree with them," he wrote in an email statement to The Christian Post.
Forbes acknowledged that "the definition of marriage is an issue with widely divergent origins passionately held by both sides," and he accepted that division in the Republican Party as well as in America as a whole. His opposition to the NRCC's financial support of two gay candidates does not come from an attempt to ostracize them from the party, but to make sure donors don't end up giving to candidates they oppose. "We will continue to work to accomplish this goal," he declared.
While Perkins and Forbes disagreed with Boehner, Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, praised the House Speaker's attempt to include gay candidates. "Speaker Boehner gets it: He wants to win," Angelo proclaimed in an email statement to CP. "The only loser in all of this is Congressman Forbes, who has been smoked out as an out-of-touch, intra-party saboteur," he fired back.
Perkins, however, attacked Boehner's position as sabotage. "The real question isn't whether the GOP would support an openly homosexual candidate, but whether it would support an openly homosexual activist who has sought to redefine marriage and undermine religious freedom," the FRC president argued. "At the end of the day, conservatives and homosexual activists cannot coexist in a movement predicated on virtues that pre-date positive law."
According to Perkins, the GOP is selling its soul. "The GOP will throw its support behind any candidate they believe can win, even if it means throwing the party's stated principles overboard," he explained, in response to a statement by Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, chairman of the NRCC.
"Of all the differences between the two parties, this is one of the most significant," Perkins wrote. While Democrats "demand allegiance to their ideology, accepting nothing less than 100 percent devotion to their radical agenda," Republicans are willing to compromise on principle to win, the FRC president argued. "You can't build a bigger tent if someone is sawing down one of the polls."
Speaker Boehner's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment at the time of publication.