The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) is a federated gay and lesbian political organization in the United States with state chapters and a national office in Washington, D.C. The group's constituency supports the Republican Party and advocates for gay and lesbian rights. The organization itself has long been formally committed to both that party and specific issue.
On December 18, 2006, the National Board of Directors named Patrick Sammon as the organization's new President. Sammon also serves as President of the Liberty Education Forum, a non-partisan educational foundation that is associated with Log Cabin. Sammon has been leading these organizations on an interim basis since September 1 and succeeds Patrick Guerriero, who on January 1, 2003, succeeded Rich Tafel as the leader of the Log Cabin Republicans. Guerriero stepped down as leader of the Log Cabin Republicans on September 1, 2006 to lead the Gill Action Fund.
The name of the organization is a reference to the first Republican President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin.
Many of the persons involved in Log Cabin Republicans are also involved in The Liberty Education Forum, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization.
The California organization had initially popularized the "Log Cabin Republicans" name, so the national organization adopted the name as well.
According to their website, the California group initially proposed to name themselves Lincoln Club, but found that name was already in use by another California Republican organization. Thus, an alternate name was chosen that still invoked the memory of President Lincoln: Log Cabin Republicans.
Their website further states, "The GOP rose to power because it embraced the ideals of equality imagined by our nation's founding fathers and ensured by our Constitution. When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a 'new birth of freedom,' was indeed given to our country. Now, more than 150 years later, the GOP has another chance to choose fairness over discrimination, equality over bigotry, hope over fear, and freedom over oppression."
The organization originally featured a portrait of Lincoln on its website and other publicity material.
National prominence during Dole presidential campaign
It was not until August 1995, when the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole returned the group's $1,000 campaign contribution, that it gained significant national attention. The campaign returned the contribution after being asked by openly lesbian columnist Deb Price of the Detroit News about it after she saw it on a public report from the Federal Elections Commission. The campaign sent a written statement to Price saying that Dole was in "100% disagreement with the agenda of the Log Cabin Republicans."
The story took on prominence in the media when it was revealed that before it was returned, the finance office of the campaign had solicited the contribution from Log Cabin, and at the event where it was given, Dole had personally spoken with Log Cabin's then-executive director Rich Tafel about the group and AIDS legislation it was promoting in the Senate, which Dole had agreed to co-sponsor after a meeting held at the campaign's headquarters with Tafel weeks earlier. It resulted in a front-page story in the New York Times, penned by Richard L. Berke, then-chief political reporter for the daily.
As reporters, including Berke, were seeking confirmation of the story before it broke, Dole's finance chairman, John Moran, asked Tafel to not speak to the press, and that Tafel's "steadfastness and statesmanship at this moment will be handsomely appreciated in the long run by the campaign." Tafel refused.
Leading pundits accused Dole of being a "flip-flopper and a hypocrite." Editorials ran in major newspapers, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution and the Times of London, condemning Dole's action, joined by radio commentators Rush Limbaugh and Don Imus. Under the pressure, Dole admitted during an October 1995 press briefing on Capitol Hill that he regretted the decision to return the check, that his campaign was responsible for it without consulting him. "I think if they'd have consulted me, we wouldn't have done that, wouldn't have returned it," Dole said. In fact, Dole was privately angered by the action when he first learned of it, but chose to defend his campaign manager for fear of facing the same problems he had with second-guessing his staff in his failed 1988 bid. Dole later told Washington Post editor and author Bob Woodward that the Log Cabin episode was a "mistake" because the decision to return the check "gets into Bob Dole the person. It's not so much about Bob Dole the candidate. It's the person. Is he tolerant? Does he tolerate different views? Tolerate someone with a different lifestyle?" He added, "This is basic, this is what people ought to know about you. Are you going to just do this because it sounds good politically?"
Log Cabin's leadership met with Dole's coalitions manager to discuss an endorsement after Dole's reversal. Among various items, Tafel demanded there be no gay bashing in the speeches from the podium of the 1996 Republican National Convention, nor any anti-gay signs on the convention floor, in stark contrast to the previous party convention in 1992. He also wanted to see a gay person address the convention, and a public request from Dole's campaign for the Log Cabin nod. On the closing night of the Convention, Stephen Fong, then-president of the San Francisco chapter, spoke at the dais as part of a series of speeches from "mainstreet Americans," but was not publicly identified as gay. Nevertheless, his presence at the podium for the organization and the gay community "was something that would have been unimaginable four years earlier," Tafel later wrote. Two days later, Dole spokesperson Christina Martin told a reporter that the campaign "welcomed the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans." Log Cabin voted to endorse Dole for President, and then-Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour approved the use of the RNC's press briefing room for Tafel, Log Cabin's convention delegates and officers of its national board to announce their decision.
Later in the campaign, Tafel met with Dole's chief aide Sheila Burke, and the remaining demands Log Cabin made for their endorsement were met. In a statement released by Log Cabin, and confirmed to reporters by the campaign, Dole had pledged to maintain an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal workforce, and full funding for AIDS programs. Dole would go on to win 23% of the gay and lesbian vote but would lose the election to Bill Clinton.
The Log Cabin stresses its loyalty to the Republican Party: "We are loyal Republicans," its website says. "We believe in low taxes, limited government, strong defense, free markets, personal responsibility, and individual liberty. Log Cabin represents an important part of the American family—taxpaying, hard working people who proudly believe in this nation's greatness." They take no position on abortion.
But Log Cabin dissents from socially conservative Republican views on matters relating to gay and lesbian rights. "We also believe all Americans have the right to liberty, freedom, and equality," it says. "Log Cabin stands up against those who preach hatred and intolerance. We stand up for the idea that all Americans deserve to be treated equally—regardless of their sexual orientation.
Log Cabin's view of President George H. W. Bush
The 1992 Log Cabin Republican convention was held in The Woodlands, Texas, a Houston exurb. It was the first time LCR had such a large presence of the major national press at a convention. Log Cabin also had 2 open delegates: Martin K. Keller and Frank N. Ricchiazzi. Both delegates were appointed by Governor Pete Wilson of California. The big issue was whether or not LCR would endorse the re-election of President George H. W. Bush. The group voted to deny that endorsement, based on the 1992 Republican National Convention that preceded it in Houston.
Log Cabin today
Since 1977, Log Cabin has expanded across the United States and has 47 chapters and 39 organizing committee in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It claims to have thousands of members but does not release membership figures. It has a staff of lobbyists in Washington, D.C., holds an annual convention, and raises funds that it donates to Republican officeholders and candidates whom it considers sympathetic to gay and lesbian rights issues.
Log Cabin Republicans - California
The California Log Cabin Republicans support Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although he vetoed a controversial bill in 2005 that would allow gay marriage (which would have been the first such legislatively enacted law in the US), he has signed 21 other LGBT progressive bills into law. In fact, according to official records, the Log Cabin Republicans PAC raised $10,000 for "Californians for Schwarzenegger" in 2006.
Log Cabin Republicans were only one of two Republican organizations that were involved as sponsors for Schwarzenegger's 2007 inauguration according to the program brochure.
In February 2008, according to a recent blog by famed Huffington Post blogger Ryan J. Davis, he flew out to Hollywood near the end of February to join a coalition of gay activists led by Log Cabin Republican leaders to lobby Gov. Schwarzenegger & First Lady Maria Shriver to publicly oppose the Family Research Council's Anti-Gay Marriage initiative. According to Davis, one of the group's main organizers, Log Cabin Republican Kevin Norte, wrote on The California Log Cabin blog, "Someone had to fire the first shot. We did. We had some powerhouses there and the message was clear. We were not going away." 
The LCR coalition had a broad base, including; Matt Foreman (Executive Director, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), Damon Romine (Entertainment Media Director, GLAAD), Geoff Kors (Executive Director, Equality California), Charles Robbins (Executive Director, The Trevor Project), John Duran (President, Equality California & then-Mayor of West Hollywood), Charles T. Moran (LCR-LA Chapter President), James Vaughn (LCR CA Director), and the financial sponsors Don Norte (Governor's Committee on Employment for People With Disabilities) and Kevin Norte (LCR CA PAC Board of Directors). On April 11, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger came out officially against the Initiative at LCR's National Convention.
After the California Supreme Court ruling recognizing same gender marriages on May 15, 2008, LCR's Kevin Norte wrote an opinion piece in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise of Los Angeles on May 21, 2008 (also posted on the group's blog) that called the initiative to stop same gender marriages into question. Norte questioned whether the California Supreme Court's ruling on the Same-sex marriage in California cases which found several constitutional rights under the California Constitution to permit such marriages and that it changed the dynamics of the process because he argued that it was originally an initiative and apparently the signature collection process informed voters that the initiative would not change current law. The facts and circumstances are now different because the Court recognized the right to marry as a (1) right to privacy in marring the person of your choice, (2) right to free speech/fundamental right to marry, and (3) equal protection. He pondered whether those constitutional rights could be simply abolished by a voter initiative or should the amendment be removed because a constitutional convention would have to be held to remove fundamental rights.
The legal analyst explored the topic further in another expanded article in the Met-News on June 17, 2008 (again also posted on the group's blog), the first full day gay marriage became legal in California. The legal education piece was entitled, "Election Law: How One Legally Might Remove a Ballot Initiative Prior to an Election." Norte pointed out that the language of the initiative was flawed and out-dated due to recent events. The legal anlayst concluded that one could legitimately argue that the Court order the "California Secretary of State, to remove the proposed 'Limit on Marriage' Constitutional Amendment Initiative [Proposition 8] from the November, 2008 ballot."
On June 20, 2008, the pro-same-gender marriage parties file a Writ of Mandate in the California Supreme Court in San Francisco. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Bonb Elko reported that the coalition filed a writ to seek removal of the initiative. The grounds state in the writ petition were similar to those discussed in both the May 21, 2008 and June 17, 2008 articles authored by Norte but failed to reference the official reporter pages of the case. Norte's second article contained the proper citations.
2008 Presidential election
In September 2008, the group voted to endorse the John McCain and Sarah Palin ticket in the 2008 presidential election. LCR President Patrick Sammon said the most important reason for their support was McCain's opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Most socially conservative Republicans have distanced themselves from the group; however, in 2004, Log Cabin made allies with other liberal GOP groups such as Christine Todd Whitman's It's My Party Too, Ann Stone's Republicans for Choice, The Republican Majority for Choice, The Wish List, Republicans for Environmental Protection, and The Republican Main Street Partnership. In the last several years, these groups united to do political combat with social conservatives to re-assert the role of centrists and traditional conservatives in the Republican party. Christine Todd Whitman spoke at the LCR convention in 2005 and appeared at an LCR event in Cincinnati in 2006.
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