Senior GOP Spokesman Comes Out: “I’m Gay. Let Me Get Married.”

james_richardson_600“I’m a senior GOP spokesman, and I’m gay. Let me get married,” begins James Richardson, a former spokesman and adviser for the Republican National Committee and Governors Haley Barbour and Jon Huntsman.

The conservative Georgian decided to come out of the closet in hopes of moving the needle on Republican opposition to same-sex marriage, especially in light of Louisiana’s marriage ban having recently been deemed ‘constitutional’ in court.

He starts off by making a rather sad statement:

“For my admission here, I will alienate friends whose faiths regard my sexuality as culturally corrosive.”

We aren’t exactly sure of Richardson’s definition of friendship, but we’re pretty sure that if your sexuality alienates someone, they weren’t truly your friend in the first place.

Then he goes on to explain his decision more, pointing out that:

“Nearly one-third of [recently turned marriage supporters] say they were won over through personal encounters with gay family members or friends, so the potential reward of convincing even one dubious neighbor is greater than the assumed risk of a diminished social orbit. And it’s okay if I alienate a Facebook friend or two.”

There he goes again worrying about alienating his “social orbit.” If I had to worry that much about what my friends thought of me I might start looking for a new table to sit with at lunch. But he’s doing something difficult here, and we applaud the courage.

As one might expect from a conservative political operative, his argument for gay marriage is pretty boring.

We bless our suppers, we pay our taxes, and we own a home in the suburbs. Norman Rockwell would have thought us boring, because, frankly, we are.

Did I say boring? I meant boringly self-aware.

But he does make an interesting fiscal argument that should rouse the ear hair of even the whitest of old conservative men:

“Within just three years of legalizing same-sex marriage, according to a new white paper by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, upward of 1,000 out-of-work Georgians would find stable employment and the state treasury would bank $5.5 million in new sales tax revenue borne of a big gay dowry for an expanded hospitality industry.”

Welcome out of the closet, James. We sincerely hope some of your “friends” are listening, too.

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  • AxelDC

    There goes his career.

  • AtticusBennett

    Notice he says nothing at all about his part in contributing to the anti-gay culture that leads so many LGBT people feeling alienated…..

  • Larry

    The thing is, knowing the people he worked for, there are pictures of “activities” out there. Those that hate the most are fighting to keep their extra curricular activities private. So they need closeted guys like this.

  • mcflyer54

    Of course it’s always good to have an ally but how much damaged needed to be done before he finally came out and fessed up? Seriously now that much of the ground work has been laid (by others) and the courts and popular opinion seem to be rapidly turning in favor of marriage equality, it lots easier to jump on the bandwagon. I guess the best we can hope for is that his actions are not simply self serving and he will actually put some real effort in helping to make thing right for others. If he simply came out because he personally wants to get married that’s pretty selfish in my book. Odds are however, that he was quite likely going to be outed and his public statement was made to blunt and reduce the effects of being outed.

  • AtticusBennett

    what’s up with gay republicans always apologizing for being gay and being oh-so-worried about “offending” the bigots in their lives? newsflash to gay republicans – this is why nobody respects you. not other gay men, nor your fellow conservatives. you’re such wimpy little doormats.

    here’s a dunce saying “let me marry! but if you don’t i’ll still vote for you, and with you, because I don’t really possess integrity” thanks for sharing.

  • ingyaom

    @AxelDC: Does he even have a career? All the post mentions is his former jobs.

  • Cam

    It’s nice that he came out, but:

    If he is still republican, that would mean that he has supported them over the past decade as they became more and more virulently anti-gay.

    No wonder he is so worried about offending the bigots around him, he has been existing in an environment full of people continually telling him that people like him are going to hell.

    As for his statement of ““For my admission here, I will alienate friends whose faiths regard my sexuality as culturally corrosive.”…..No, their faiths don’t regard that, they are simple bigots and using their false claim to piety as a shied against the truth that they are simply hateful bigots.

  • Cam


    He probably came out because his career was over in the party. Probably because somebody found out about his living with his partner.

  • AtticusBennett

    notice how he’s still ASKING permission? ASKING to be respected? newsflash gay republicans – that doesn’t work. you don’t ask for respect. you command it. and settle for nothing less. that’s how you get it. something we liberals already know.

  • EGO

    Well, Jon Huntsman is now supporting Marriage Equality, so let’s hope that James Richardson well help educate the Republicans about what equality is, to keep their religious beliefs to themselves, and to use civil logic to make civil decisions, keeping church and state separate.

  • EGO

    Whoops! Spelling error, “so let’s hope that James Richardson will help” etc.

  • Gigi Gee

    Another conservative comes out. That’s a good thing. I’m glad he did it while he’s still young. I have a 50-year-old friend who just came out to me last month. He’s married, has a kid, and said he won’t come out to anyone else (I’m the only one he’s ever told) until both of his parents are dead. And they’re both very healthy.
    My friend’s not though. Living one’s life in the closet, and lying to your wife everyday, is not easy.

  • Alton

    Fuck this dude. Fuck anyone who works for the enemy for years, then wants to latch onto some of the hard-fought rights we won while fighting people like them and their bosses.

  • NiceNCool1

    He’s hitched his wagon to the enemy. There’s nothing good about the GOP.

  • wpewen

    As one of the senior fellows here (age 56) I’m observing quite a few young white gay guys pledging GOP or Libertarian. After the way was cleared for them by drag queens and other ragtags. For a lot of us from my generation it makes us sick. And I’m white, middle class in background also.
    This seems like the cost of having to play ball with the psycho Southern Christian power structure. My advice to a young gay man-don’t.

  • AtticusBennett

    ironic for a republican…”I’m gay. let me get married”

    how about “I’m poor. raise the minimum wage”

    or “I’m a woman. let me control my own body”

  • ChiChi Man

    Whatev. Privileged boy wants to marry. What about other LGBT issues? What about HIV and AIDS research? LGBT job discrimination? Lesbian wage inequality? Even fun issues like bears and leather fetishes? Like the Cheney spawn, gay Repubs only care about themselves and the issues that affect their spoiled, little lives. Next!

  • mcflyer54

    My money says he was on the verge of being outed.

  • Cam

    @AtticusBennett: said…

    “ironic for a republican…”I’m gay. let me get married”
    how about “I’m poor. raise the minimum wage”
    or “I’m a woman. let me control my own body””

    SO well said. I wish there was a “Like” button for that post.

  • d3clark

    We should really feel sorry for him, he’s just sad. I read the WP article. He doesn’t say that LGBTs are part of the phrase “All men are created equal,” that marriage equality is fair and just, that denying him the right to marry is discrimination. He says that there are over 21,000 same-sex couples in Georgia. He doesn’t point out that those 42,000 people are second-class citizens. No. His case is, “Please, if you let us marry in Georgia, the weddings will BRING IN CASH TO THE STATE’S ECONOMY AND WILL PROVIDE JOBS FOR 1,000 GEORGIANS. His case isn’t about basic human rights, it’s about money. How much money LGBT couples could bring in to Georgia. Sounds like he’s making the case that LGBTs would be valuable to the economy much like slaves were 150 years ago. Sad. Maybe even sadder if he doesn’t realize that he’s placed money before human rights. No, James, stay with the Republicans. You think too much alike. You deserve each other.

  • Boricuaex

    Who cares? I don’t understand, am I supposed to be sympathetic to him? Didn’t he join the GOP of his own free will? So did he ignore all the obnoxious things the GOP have done to gays, or was he in a coma?

    So get married? What am I supposed to say or feel about it?

  • Ian

    I see everyone’s points, and slightly agree with some of them, but don’t feel comfortable stopping right there. I was brought up to always turn the judgement around on myself before announcing it for everyone to hear. I feel kinda sad that most of these posts are negative. Most of us are products of our upbringing and still can’t shake many features of our parents’ moral code. Don’t we all remember coming out? Not many of us grew up where we only had a simple fear of judgement to battle, many of us feared major threats to the structure of our whole lives. I for one grew up in a household which wasn’t allowed to have any popular music (it was satanic), had to sneak watching the smurfs (they were satanic), and where my brother and I could only socialize with our church buddies (they weren’t satanic). Imagine growing up in a world where you feel driven to a career in republican politics. Imagine being all grown up in that world as a public figure representing people who vastly subscribe to the anti-gay way and being gay yourself. Sure, maybe most of the credit goes to the people before him who made the way easier, but it still wasn’t easy for him. What about all the other homos around him who still need to come out? He’s a forerunner making it easier for THEM. I personally thank him for that. Maybe he makes no apologies for being republican, but being republican isn’t just pro-gay vs. anti-gay. My parents voted against California’s prop 8, and also voted for Clinton despite being republican themselves. They weren’t quiet about it either, they acted based on their senses of what they felt was right. If he’s doing the same, why should he apologize for being republican when there is so much more to him than our impressions of what that means? Personally, I want to give him a warm welcome out of the closet first of all because he’s a real person and deserves it, but also so that the other gay republicans out there public or local, DO recognize that IT HAS been made easier by the courageous forerunners including him now, and that they can feel the warm togetherness of the gay community when they do come out. How many others do we think will come out if all they can expect is catty bitches poking fun at their career, who question their motives and how they serve us, and who flat out tell them –big deal, you came out. I did it when it was still hard–. Who wants to join THAT family? Instead we should be fostering an environment that supports Milk’s urges to come out wherever you are, and make it so every person everywhere recognizes that of the people around them that they admire and enjoy camaraderie with and build teams with, many of them are gay and are still the same person they liked and respected before they knew they were gay. That’s is how to change the world’s minds. Make them know us. To come OUT, people need to know they are welcome IN. Anyone else want to help break the negativity and welcome a new family member despite their differences? There’s a reason the flag has all the colors of the rainbow, right?

  • visualjohn

    Sorry self loathing Benedict Arnold- we don’t want you.
    Continue to pass as straight the rest of your life or try Conversion Therapy.
    The rest of us that actually worked for change don’t care to associate with the likes of you

  • Cam


    Do you feel better now?

  • AtticusBennett

    @Ian: if your parents voted for McCain and/or Romney they were voting against YOU. their gay son. don’t get it twisted.

    this guy? what does he want? as long he continues to vote, and support, those who oppose Equality he’s not doing anything worth cheering for.

    sitting silently in his evangelical church every week? that ain’t noble. i came out to my church congregation when i was a teenager.

    it’s great that he’s come out – here’s hoping he now supports a woman’s right to choose, a higher minimum wage and universal healthcare, eh?

    it’s simply not enough to say “hey gays! so, i’ve secretly been one of you for a long time and helped those who have opposed you..but i’m Out! am i forgiven?”

    funny – he doesn’t even ask for forgiveness. or really think about his role in the harm he’s inflicted….

    atonement time. when you’ve worked against us for so long coming out is merely the first step – from now on if he wants to be “accepted by gays” the way he apparently wants to be “accepted by anti-gay republican evangelical christians” he has to understand his role in contributing to a culture of anti-gay prejudice/

    because, what you permit – you promote.

  • SteveDenver

    He is in “appeasement mode” trying to represent himself as “boring” and not at all as terrible or disgusting as his “friends” might thing.

    What a sad place to be.

    When I came out, the best advice I had was: “Offer information, do not seek permission.” He is hoping he can stop people he expects to walk away from doing so.

    Let them go and find “friends” who will support and celebrate you.

  • SteveDenver

    @AtticusBennett: I couldn’t agree more about his “begging” for acceptance. Republicans need to change their minds or get out of the way… and that includes HIM.

  • Chris

    Dear newly out Republican who could have been in the original cast for “Boys in the Band,”

    Now you can start trying to undo the decades worth of damage to your fellow GLBT brethren to whom you have caused so much personal and social harm. And as far as I am concerned, your apologizing to your fellow Repubs means that you’ve added to your debt to humanity. Time to work it — err, get working on it.

    Yours, Chris

  • wpewen

    I agree with clark-there’s a money theme here somewhere, almost always is with GOP now days, I wish him the best, that includes thinking long and hard about the people he is hurting by working for a jerk like Barbour.

  • NG22

    Loving and agreeing with these comments.

    Special shout outs to @Cam: , @AtticusBennett: and @Alton: You guys couldn’t have said it better.

  • NoCagada

    Well, GUESS WHAT? AT the end of the day, you’re a FAG and have been fighting against YOUR own rights and the rights of OTHERS!

  • vive

    How is this surprising? The gay marriage movement is an essentially conservative family-values cause that got its kickstart when right wing gays like Andrew Sullivan started advocating it. He saw it as a way of making gay people acceptable to the mainstream by building a brand that erased those of us who had different ideas of sexual liberation and different understandings of family.

  • Teeth

    Since he calls himself gay and republican, not only shouldn’t he be allowed Marriage, he shouldn’t be allowed people-food.

  • scace

    @AtticusBennett It is obvious you don’t have a clue about the difficulties a young, politically savvy individual from GEORGIA,USA would have to make such a public admission.

    Perhaps it is the snide-ness, and unnecessary sarcasm emanating from the Queerty article writer that has acerbated such ugly remarks. It never ceases to amaze me that when a sincere, positive action is made which may help the GLBTQ cause there is a chorus of negative nabobs diminishing a helpful moment. Shame on the Queerty writer for the many examples of backhanded compliments. You remind me of the shameless publishers of “The Advocate” who refused to support Harvey Milk until all of the heavy lifting had been done.

  • Xzamilio

    @AtticusBennett:Freaking all over it, maan.

    @scace: You think the “difficulties” make up for the reality? It doesn’t… this is someone who aligned himself with the very movement that ran counter to LGBT people, a group he is a part of… a group that he waited until NOW to admit he was a part… a group that the GOP has discriminated against for years while he sat by and watched. Sorry, but men and women like this get NO respect; they are just as guilty as those out there campaigning against us. Hell, some of them are right next to the bigots campaigning against us. Whatever dude.

  • Kangol

    So typical. He works for a party that oppresses people like him, yet wants to benefit from the struggles and victories of people who’ve won rights he might benefit from.

    Conservagays are pathetic.

  • Dxley

    Cute as a button.

  • NG22

    @Dxley: I’m sure he’s just adorable getting screwed by his normal boyfriend in his normal suburban house.

  • d3clark

    The case he’s making here is just for his particular type of “gayness,” the closeted, trying-to-pass, one of the good ole boys. So it’s the argument for the faggot who can “pass” as straight, him.

    From the article: We sat in 100 degree heat, watching the football game with 90,000 of out closest friends.” Yeah, see? We’re macho, like football, hangout with the MAJORITY of straights. We own a house (just like you.) We go to an evangelical church and we say blessings over our supper (just like you.) I have a job (just like SOME of you.) Our life isn’t different from yours it’s even boring! So, see, we’re just like you. He makes an argument that he ans his partner are the same as hetero married couples in Georgia. In some ways they are, in some ways they’re not.

    Additionally look how he crafted the argument. It perfectly suits him: his job, religion, taste in sports, homes, etc. “I’m everyman, just like YOU!” But what he’s done is left out the rest of the LGBTs. No mention of lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, gays who don’t act “straight.” Maybe he’s not interested in them. Maybe he’s just interested in showing how butch he is and that butch gays are OK. The rest of the LGBT community can take a hike.

    No, he’s about money, status, ego, showing that he can still be useful to his political masters who are RepubliCONS.

    You know, even after his statement about coming out and still being a good gay boy, it won’t make much difference at all. Those Georgia bigots, and bigots elsewhere, will see his picture and the word “gay” and these are the thoughts that will continue to go through their minds: “Abomination, butt sex, AIDS, faggot, child molesters, immoral, hell, perversion, not in MY neighborhood!”

    So, probably what you’ve accomplished by doing this article is this. By describing all that you’ve done and all that you are in a positive light that will present you as someone who(hopefully) matches what your compatriots think of as the “ALL American Male” You’ve tried to curry favor with your RepubliCON masters, hoping that they won’t despise you and might continue to offer you jobs. You’re hoping that your evangelical church won’t kick you out. You’re hoping that your neighbors won’t ostracize you. You even throe a bone to the LGBT community when you said that you always supported marriage equality. Of course, supporting it is one thing. Working to get it, contributing financially to it, helping to organize, make phone calls, get petitions signed is entirely different. You can sit in a RepubliCON meeting and whisper, “That gay marriage thing might not be too bad,” and then, perhaps, laugh along with the fag jokes that followed.

    And Jim, did you maybe decide to come out now for a few reasons? Like, you’re getting older, no previous marriages, don’t live with a girlfriend, not dating a woman. And your colleagues and coreligionists were starting to look at you kinda funny. Maybe you decided that, after all of the recent pro-gay decisions (Windsor, DADT, marriage equality in lots of states and more coming, tones of judicial rulings ending gay marriage bans, polls showing more Americans than ever favor same-sex marriage, did you figure that it might be a safe time to come out? That you probably wouldn’t have gotten the ugly on you that Michael Sam got?

    Jim, after being a highly-paid RepubliCON and your bf is probably making enough money as well, did you consider this? That you could leave the Hellhole of Georgia and MOVE to a state where there is marriage equality instead of bitching that you don’t have it in Georgia? You’re one of the fortunate few who has the means to say, Adios, mutherfukkin Georgia, we’re going to (pick one of 21 states) to get married and settle there. Do you know how many people would love to be in that position? Rather than be stuck sitting in a dead ass red state hoping that marriage equality gets passed before the next century?

  • Cam

    @scace: said…

    “Perhaps it is the snide-ness, and unnecessary sarcasm emanating from the Queerty article writer that has acerbated such ugly remarks.”

    Oh yes, lets never forget that the TRUE victim is the guy who aided the party opressing, attacking and stripping the rights away from people JUST LIKE HIM. THEY are the real victims. I mean, my GOODNESS, they have to deal with “Snide-ness” whereas others just had to deal with harassment, attacks, firings, being kicked out of their homes, dying in hospitals without loved ones there, distant relatives stealing children and property because their unions weren’t recognized….I mean THAT is nothing when THIS poor victim has to deal with “Snide-ness”. Let me get him his smelling salts and a fainting couch.

  • AtticusBennett


    Scace, are you a fellow sufferer of gay republican stockholm syndrome? because you’re , rather hilariously, being oh so concerned about “how hard it was for him” – ignoring that he’s a GROWN MAN who for years has been lying, like a pathetic wimpy coward (redundant, as he’s a gay republican, so….) while being a part of the problem.

    sitting “quietly” in his church pew. worrying about upsetting his anti-gay friends. and…what’s that? No cares whatsoever about all the LGBT youth he’s thrown under the bus, and harmed and hurt through his support of the GOP and pathetical refusal to stand up to their bigotry?

    even now, he’s not standing up to it! he’s ASKING PERMISSION to be respected! it’s so freaking’ embarrassing for him

    “You remind me of the shameless publishers of “The Advocate” who refused to support Harvey Milk until all of the heavy lifting had been done.”

    Really? that’s odd. know who reminds me of that? This sad-sack loser GOP spokesman, who is not coming out in 2014 as a grown adult pushing middle-age, while many of us (like, for example, myself) have been Out since we were teens in high school. he’s not done ANY of the heavy lifting. he’s hid in the closet, and now comes out to say “hi i’m a boring person so i’m not like those other weird gays. please, can i marry? if you say no, i’ll still vote republican and join you at church…”

    he’s a doormat.

  • seaguy

    He’s kinda cute but too conservative for me. Probably boring as hell in bed.

  • scace

    @Xzamilio: I can appreciate you views – particularly if you have a Southern “Bible Belt” upbringing. The major issue that has not been addressed is the degree in which James Richardson ACTIVELY participated in the promotion of anti-gay issues. Perhaps he did participate, or perhaps he was silent in measures which actually happened to our gay brothers and sisters. From the evidence presented, I can’t feel that any of his past actions resulted in harming our Community. For Southerners in the U.S., it should not be a surprise that some advocates of gay acceptance would like to work within the establishment to erode anti-gay sentiment. Hasn’t it been shown that the major reason for the acceptance of gay rights has been because people have gained insight from personal experiences with friends and relatives who have made aware the presence of a very nice guy who they find out has a different sexual orientation than themselves? Simply stated, I feel that we should be very happy when an Out person has been added among’st our midst. Especially when in his previous position, he now influences others who may break the chains of oppression and ultimately become huge advocates for our community. Thanks again James Richardson for the courageous action you have taken. I’d love the opportunity to meet you.

  • MountainBoy

    @AtticusBennett: Why are you venting so much anger at him when he just got up the courage to change sides and join us and dump the repuglicans? Better late than never. Way too bitchy about this one guy; if you have a clue, then you know how much he suffered in the closet as he made his own little hell on earth. Welcome him to our side, no matter his history.

  • MountainBoy

    @scace: Very well said, scace, very well indeed. Thank you.

  • AtticusBennett

    @MountainBoy: where does he say he’s dumping the republicans? where does he call out the pervasive anti-gay bigotry in his party and church denomination?

  • E T

    @AtticusBennett: Whoaa. I’m a liberal guy, and I find your assessments to be offensive. You actually sound conservative yourself, espousing that people should pick themselves up by their bootstraps and trivializing how hard it is for people to tell their friends and family that they are gay. And the emphasis on him being a grown man? What’s that supposed to mean? Like all men are supposed to go through a normative coming of age process, or worse, supposed to be patriarchs? And I might not love the GOP but I’d still take an honest Republican over a dishonest Democrat. I’d just prefer an honest Democrat. Putting too much stock in joining one out of two political parties seems pretty fascist to me, good character should come first. The best way to win the culture war is just to be who we are and try to build democratic communities, not to walk in lockstep with a pseudo-democratic alternative GOP.

  • AtticusBennett

    @E T:

    I can dumb it down for you. *AHEM*

    When one sits and silently condones the prejudices of their chosen political affiliates – anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-LGBT, anti-poor, they become a part of the problem. I don’t know what you mean by “I’ll take an honest republican…” – honest about what, SPECIFICALLY? He’s voted and supported anti-gay politicians, for years. NOW – as a grown adult, comes out and refuses to address, specifically, that the reason he’s kept himself closeted is that he’s chosen, as an adult, to surround himself with anti-gay people, in anti-gay groups. silently sitting in his church pew. voting for anti-gay republicans.

    the best way to win the culture war is to have a spine, stand up to be counted, and then CALL OUT the specific factors that kept you closeted to those people. and, to not “ASK PERMISSION” – I’m gay , let me get married? NO. I’m Gay – I deserve the right to marry.

    you’re welcome :)

    • E T

      @AtticusBennett: First, I’m not dumb. That was rude.

      Do you know and/or talk to any Republicans? Because, I intermingle with people I disagree with as a general way of life. I call that liberalism. There are all sorts of honest Republicans, because people are more than their political affiliation. I just believe that they vote poorly. Everybody has their faults :)

      Saying Democrat is Good, Republican is Bad, that’s fascist. It’s the same as saying Republican is Good, Democrat is Bad. Both view the world in dual absolutes, black and white, zero gray area, demanding that everyone around them walk in lockstep, putting collective ideals ahead of free thought. When it comes to voting season I do always heavily recommend voting Democrat, but I wouldn’t shame people if they disagree with me. I’m not afraid of disagreement, or conflict. Democracy is a step toward pluralism and diversity of thought, it’s not a stopping point. That’s how I see it, at least.

      Also, I’ve never seen a person change their mind after reading a comment with caps lock and being called dumb. Your tactics seem crude and unsustainable.

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