One Equal World

Barney Frank on the Log Cabin Republicans

Posted on: November 5, 2012

Barney Frank has been involved in the U.S. Congress since the early ‘80s. He’s a seasoned professor in the Boston area, has been an assistant to the Mayor of Boston, and at one point was a Massachusetts State Representative. Today, he’s the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. Though his titles have changed over the years, one thing has not: his support of LGBT rights.


In his most recent article for the Huffington Post, “Do the Math: Party Matters in the Fight for LGBT Equality,” Barney Frank addresses those who have, in the past, questioned his partisanship when it comes to advancing LGBT rights. His answer is simple: if you look at the statistics, Democrats have a much better history of supporting LGBT rights than Republicans do.


It may not have always been so—at one time neither party was supportive as a whole to the LGBT rights movement—but today the massive majority of Democratic politicians are supportive of equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation or identity. And while some Republicans, like Ken Mehlman, wholeheartedly support LGBT rights, more than 90 percent of Republicans as a whole oppose same-sex marriage and employment nondiscrimination, including recent presidential candidate Mitt Romney.


Frank offers a scathing critique of the Log Cabin Republicans’ methods as well, and is prepared to back up his arguments. The LCR claim to be a group whose main purpose is to work within the Republican Party to advocate for equal rights for all Americans… but their methods and endorsements are less than ideal, and they’re not very effective, either. As Frank points out, they have a history of endorsing candidates that are underwhelming in their support of the LGBT movement. Some of them have even openly opposed the LGBT movement.


In contrast, in many of these cases, the LCR has chosen to support Republicans with poor track records over Democratic candidates who have openly supported our movement. For a group that claims their main goal is to gain equality for all, that doesn’t seem like a very effective method.


The LCR has rebutted attacks on it in recent days, after endorsing the Romney ticket (which is one of the most anti-gay campaigns in recent history). It claims that by supporting Republican candidates, it can slowly persuade them to support our rights. Frank argues (and correctly so) that this method is completely ineffective. What they ought to be doing is recognizing that they agree with Republicans in other areas and communicating that they will be prepared to support them if they progress and come around on the most basic of human rights: Equality. You don’t convince people to change their ways by rewarding them for bad behavior.


So why do the Log Cabin Republicans think that’s the “best” way to bring the Republicans around?


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