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GOOD LUCK WITH THAT

Behind-The-Scenes GOP Group Pushing For Party Change On Gay Issues

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be getting flak from the likes of NOM for folding on marriage equality, but he’s getting behind-the-scene kudos from a group of wealthy Republicans who want the party to change on the issue. American Unity Fund, founded by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, is focused on moving the party away toward actual acceptance of marriage equality. Christie’s recognition of reality is exactly the type of behavior that they want to see more of – and that they will reward.

“While he didn’t get the policy outcome he was looking for, he was able to navigate this in a way that’s really thoughtful and respectful of the sentiments of a diverse community within New Jersey,” Jeff Cook-McCormac, a senior adviser to American Unity fund, told Buzzfeed. “I mean, he’s a rare guy who’s been able to appeal to people with sincerely held beliefs on both sides of this issue. The donor community are particularly looking for leaders who can unite people, and who can find a path back to winning elections.”

You won’t find Singer and his compatriots on cable news lambasting Republicans for not moving on the issue. Accounts of American Unity Fund’s work always feature the word “quiet” to describe its efforts. And the Fund is looking for an incremental change, not an overnight transformation. It has been lobbying Republicans in Congress to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). To help with its arguments, the Fund has hired Norm Coleman, a former Senator from Minnesota, and former Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, both Republicans. (You’ll note that they didn’t find any hires from the deep south.)

“The Republican image, unfortunately, is one in which we have an empathy gap,” Coleman said. “That impacts us across the board. An issue like this, which is about being against discrimination, feeds into the long-term future of the party. It addresses one of the negatives that we are facing today.”

All of which is true, and in a rational political organization would make sense. But as the government shutdown highlighted, the GOP isn’t a rational organization at present, and the establishment types that understand the Fund’s message aren’t calling the shots. Instead, the party is being controlled by ideological purists, who see compromise as anathema to principle.

Moreover, there’s a libertarian wing of the party that doesn’t believe in government nondiscrimination protections in general. One of the chief enablers of the purists has been Peter Thiel, the openly gay billionaire who helped create Sen. Ted Cruz. Thiel is a believer in unfettered capitalism, and Cruz is a believer in, well, Ted Cruz. Neither of them is likely to be coming to an American Unity Fund breakfast any time soon.

So good luck to the American Unity Fund. .

  • 12 Comments
    • Spike
      Spike

      The repubs sold out to the extreme right christian wing long before they sold out to the Tea Party. The party will never change its opposition to marriage equality as long as their base continues to put God, Gays and Guns at the forefront of party policy.

      Oct 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BJ McFrisky
      BJ McFrisky

      “You’ll note that they didn’t find any hires from the deep south.” Nice. Real nice. Implying everyone living south of the Mason-Dixon line is an anti-gay bigot. Right. Somehow, I suspect the gay communities in Dallas, Atlanta, Raleigh, Memphis, New Orleans, etc, would slightly disagree.

      It’s ironic that Mr. Gallagher doesn’t recognize his statement as itself being bigoted.

      Oct 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • middleagespread
      middleagespread

      @BJ McFrisky: The South has a reputation for a reason. Which of those states has a chance in hell to become gay friendly?

      Oct 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Teleny
      Teleny

      We should NEVER forget our ENEMIES and those who fought so doggedly to have us live as second class citizens. I will never vote for a Republican.

      Oct 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BJ McFrisky
      BJ McFrisky

      @middleagespread: I’m not particularly current in my knowledge of individual states’ reputations on gay-straight issues, but I used to live near Raleigh and Atlanta (both in the last 10 years), and my personal experience among southerners as a gay man has been nothing short of great. The worst insult I ever got from anyone was indifference, and I think we can agree there’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, even Honey Boo-Boo’s hardcore redneck family has a gay relative who’s accepted.

      I suspect the other people who agree with you and Mr. Gallagher have never actually been to the south.

      Oct 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rand503
      rand503

      So — we should all applaud a politician who has made it clear he is against SSM, would deny SSM to his hypothetical gay son, vetoed SSM when both houses in his state goverment and a majority of his state’s constiutents approve of it, and he declined to appeal a ruling that everyone knew he was going to lose anyway.

      IOW, he’s anti-gay and hates SSM, and he did literally the LEAST he could do by not appealing, and now “he’s our type of guy:” Sure, if the bar is so low that you will take anyone who is not totally batshit crazy, then go ahead and take him.

      But you’re going to have to do a hell of lot more if you think gays or anyone who likes gays will ever vote for a republican ever again.

      Oct 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Icebloo
      Icebloo

      Gay Republicans are such idiots. Here, once again, they prove they have no grip on reality.

      “While he didn’t get the policy outcome he was looking for, he was able to navigate this in a way that’s really thoughtful and respectful of the sentiments of a diverse community within New Jersey,” – so they are trying to say this all went swimmingly for Christie ? He got his obese ass handed to him on a platter.
      He was arrogant and put his own political ambitions ahead of the majority of NJ citizens who supported gay marriage. This whole thing was a shambles for Christie. It proved he is just as out of touch and self-serving as other Republicans and in the end he had the gay marriage decision taken away from him because he couldn’t behave like a professional. Courts had to step in and sort out the mess HE created. Christie was more than willing to waste more taxpayer money to keep gay marriage from happening in NJ so he could save his own career. Oh yes, that’s why gay Republicans like him – he likes to waste taxpayer money just like the rest of the Republican Party ! OK I get it now.

      Oct 23, 2013 at 1:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      This group is just another name for GOProud or the others.

      They are giving Christie Kudos…for what? He refused to sign the gay rights bill, he fought against another one in court, lost and appealed it all the way up to the State Supreme Court where he lost 7-0 and yet this group is still trying to act like Christie did something great?

      Just another cover group whose job is to shill for the GOP and hide their anti-gay sins.

      Oct 23, 2013 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AxelDC
      AxelDC

      Corporatist Republicans put up with the social wars because they thought it brought out social conservatives who would vote against their own economic interests. Now that gay marriage is a losing issue, the Plutocrats don’t want it sabotaging their agenda of top heavy tax cuts and corporate welfare.

      The big question for today’s GOP: how do you get people to vote for welfare for millionaires when opposing gay marriage is a ballot loser and no one has moved the ball on abortion in 40 years?

      Oct 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @BJ McFrisky: said…

      “”I’m not particularly current in my knowledge of individual states’ reputations on gay-straight issues, but I used to live near Raleigh and Atlanta (both in the last 10 years), and my personal experience among southerners as a gay man has been nothing short of great.”
      _______________________

      This would no doubt help explain your knee jerk reaction to automatically defend the anti-gay bigot in most any scenario. Of course your “Friends” down there liked you…you were a “Good Gay” You know, not like those OTHER gays who want things like rights. You were such a nice boy, cut their hair, made their clothes, taught their daughters how to dance, and never once got out of line.

      As for you knowing the south, move down to any town in Mississippi, Alabama or Georgia that is under 30,000 people and then talk to us again about how wonderful it all is. People in Alabama when asked to clear a law against interracial marriage off the state books had an approximately 40% rate of wanting it to remain in the year 2000. To pretend that the South has no bigotry problems is just you once again siding with whomever the bigot is.

      Oct 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BJ McFrisky
      BJ McFrisky

      @Cam: That’s right, I’m a good gay, although I’ve never cut anyone’s hair and I don’t dance.
      And I never stated there was no bigotry in the south—that would be as absurd as saying there’s no bigotry in the north, or the east or the west. There’s prejudice everywhere—even in your town, Cam (I know this because you live in your town and you’re prejudiced against gay men who don’t hate Republicans).

      Oct 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jeff4justice
      jeff4justice

      LGBT equality is as inevitable as the fall of the failed 2-party system.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 5:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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