I love how candidates crisscross the state and make a point to engage with voters. I love that voters can sit down with candidates and ask them the questions that we the voters — not the media — want to present.
2011 was a big year for Republicans. We saw leaders emerge and saw candidates drop out. We saw job creation and education being seriously debated, and I felt that the concerns of the American people were heard — for the most part.
What I didn’t hear much of this year was support for marriage equality from the Republican front-runners. I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples and have been vocal about my support, even when it hasn’t always been the popular thing to do in my party.
I heard a lot of rhetoric about gay and lesbian Americans that didn’t fit with what I know to be true and what many Republicans believe. As an evangelical Christian Republican, I know many people who hold conservative values like equality and freedom, but those voices were lost this year. However, I believe in my heart that things are changing. If it weren’t for the loud voices of a few in our party, I do believe more Republicans would stand up in support of marriage equality.
I didn’t always feel that way and my journey toward full support has been a long and intensive one. One of the things that changed my mind on this issue was my children. I used to watch my kids and wonder why equality is a non-issue with them. They love and support their friends, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, gender or religion.
Then I realized that I was tired of watching adults judge each other while my children could embrace the differences in their friends. After all, that is what being a Christian is all about.
What I learned from the 2012 Republican Caucus was this: If we don’t stand together this year, we will lose. What is our party if not the party of freedom? This is a matter of freedom, and I want people to be free. It’s the American thing to do.”