(Photo: Reuters/Benjamin Myers)
Log Cabin Republicans, a gay political action group, is in "ongoing" discussions with Mitt Romney's campaign and the Republican National Committee on a variety of issues, said the group's director, which most likely includes same-sex marriage and employment discrimination policies. The group will be meeting over the summer to determine whether to endorse Romney prior to the GOP convention.
"I can't confirm the details of our conversations because they are of a 'private nature,'" the group's Deputy Executive Director Christian Berle told The Christian Post. "We're in ongoing conversations with the Romney campaign and the RNC on the issues that are important to gay Republicans."
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Log Cabin Republicans founder Rich Tafel said that "I think he (Romney) does oppose gay marriage, but the speed with which he jumped on and rode that issue struck me as political." During Romney's 1994 campaign for U.S. Senate, the candidate had written to the Massachusetts chapter of Log Cabin Republicans to voice his support of full equality for LGBT citizens. But after taking office as Massachusetts governor in 2003, Romney said he disagreed with the state's Supreme Court's "Goodrich" ruling, which says same-sex marriage is protected in the state's constitution.
"I disagree with the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts," then Gov. Romney said in 2003. "Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I will support an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution to make this expressly clear."
Multiple attempts to reach Matt Rhoades, manager of the Romney campaign, and spokespersons for the RNC for more details of recent conversations with Log Cabin Republicans were unsuccessful.
While Berle was mum about details of the "ongoing" conversations with the Romney campaign and RNC, one likely issue might be adding openly gay individuals to the Romney campaign staff. Yet on Tuesday, gay activist Richard Grenell, who was helping with foreign policy issues, announced he was leaving the Romney campaign.
"Ric made the choice that he feels is best for the Romney campaign, and I respect his decision," said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Lob Cabin Republicans, in a statement. "It is unfortunate that while the Romney campaign made it clear that Grenell being an openly gay man was a non-issue for the governor and his team, the hyper-partisan discussion of issues unrelated to Ric's national security qualifications threatened to compromise his effectiveness on the campaign trail."
But the larger, more comprehensive issue facing the group, however, may be its willingness to endorse the presumptive GOP nominee prior to the party's upcoming convention in late August.
Romney has said on numerous occasions that he is opposed to same-sex marriage and specific protections for homosexual federal employees.
"We'll be making a decision whether or not to endorse Gov. Romney prior to the convention," Berle said. "An endorsement is something we take seriously, especially for the presidency. Our bottom line is to build a stronger, more inclusive party and that's what we hope to accomplish this election cycle."
Log Cabin Republicans has a history of endorsing the party's nominee with the exception of 2004 when it refused to endorse then President George W. Bush when he was running for his second term.
In an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, then Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Guerriero explained the decision not to endorse Bush.
"This year, despite our loyalty to the party of Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, we have decided, after significant discussion, to withhold our endorsement of President Bush," Guerriero wrote.
According to the group, the primary reason not to endorse Bush was his support of a Federal Marriage Amendment.
"The constitutional amendment would not only ban gay marriage, it would also jeopardize civil unions and domestic partnerships," Guerriero said. "The president's support of an unnecessary and discriminatory constitutional amendment ignores the party's belief in state autonomy and disregards the nation's reliance on federalism. Using the Constitution as a campaign tool weakens our nation's founding document and erodes our party's proud tradition of equality and liberty."
However, in 2008 the group gave its blessings to Sen. John McCain, the GOP nominee, who said he would welcome a review of "don't ask, don't tell" and would establish a national strategy to combat AIDS.
More importantly, the reason may have been the fact that McCain voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment and did not run supporting the measure.