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Q & A: Patrick Sammon, (Log) Cabin Fever
by Andrew Davis
2007-06-06

This article shared 4510 times since Wed Jun 6, 2007
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Since being named national president of the Log Cabin Republicans in December, Patrick Sammon has traveled numerous times across the country in an effort to enlighten those in the general Republican party about those who happen to be gay and in the GOP. Sammon, a former broadcast journalist, recently talked with Windy City Times about everything from Mitt Romney to those in the LGBT community who dislike gay Republicans.

Windy City Times: What are the goals of the Log Cabin Republicans?

Patrick Sammon: The Log Cabin members across America are working to create a more inclusive Republican party and they're working to educate Republicans about why equality is so important for gay and lesbian Americans. Fundamentally, equality will never be achieved without more Republicans voting for it, and so it's critically important to have good, loyal Republicans within the party to educate others about the issues. Also, we need to stand up with integrity and challenge those within the party who might try to use politics of division to divide voters.

WCT: What about the Log Cabin Republicans makes you proudest?

PS: I'm proud of our members who go into some very tough environments and who spread the good news and educate Republicans about why equality for gay people is very important.

I was out recently in Salt Lake City, Utah, listening to some chapter members talking about the Republican convention. Boy—you want to talk about a tough place. It is comparatively easy to be gay in Chicago or New York, but trying to set up a table at a state Republican convention in Utah—that's tough work to do.

Also, I'm proud of those members who tell people within our party who would play to the politics of fear that [ doing that ] is a losing proposition and is not in the finest traditions of our party. I'm also proud how we stood up as the leading conservative voice against the federal marriage amendment. Former Sen. John Danforth, former Sen. Alan Simpson and Sen. John Sununu [ were among those ] who also stood up against the amendment.

WCT: What do you think of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell?'

PS: [ The people who are in favor of it ] don't have a reason to articulate why they support it. Fundamentally, much of the opposition to allowing gays and lesbians to serve [ involves ] what I call 'the 'ick' factor.' It can't be justified with rational argument; it can only be justified through personal discrimination.

If you listen to politicians [ who advocate the policy ] , they say that they support it—but they never articulate as to why they support it. I think that's a really strong indication that our side is winning. There are strong segments of America who think that loyal and qualified gays and lesbians who want to serve their country should be allowed to do so.

I'm optimistic that [ the push against DADT ] has an opportunity to move in the coming years. I think that, more than any other issue, Republicans hold a key to that.

WCT: Are the Log Cabin Republicans behind any particular presidential candidate right now?

PS: I don't expect that we're endorsing any candidate during the primary, but we're certainly following things closely. However, there are some [ candidates ] who have more inclusive records than others.

WCT: Now, what do you make of Mitt Romney's apparent flip-flops regarding gay issues?

PS: Mitt Romney is changing his views so often that who knows how long it'll be before he supports gay rights again! He clearly has been all over the place, and not just on gay issues. If you look at taxes, guns and abortion, Mitt Romney is clearly trying to shift his views for political reasons. You can't really trust him because I don't think anyone knows what he believes. So whether you're a conservative or a more liberal Republican, you don't know if Mitt Romney's views are authentic—and people want authentic leaders who know what they believe and aren't afraid to articulate what they believe.

WCT: Let's say that Romney wins the primary. Do you think LCR will put its collective force behind him?

PS: I don't want to speculate on what-ifs. All I know is that Gov. Romney has not credibly explained how his views suddenly evolved on a half-dozen issues just before his presidential campaign. So I would like to hear him articulate his shift on so many issues.

WCT: Looking back over, say, the past half-decade, what are you most critical of and [ proudest of ] regarding the Republican Party in general?

PS: That's a good question. I think that Republicans need to return to core principles—items that unite Republicans and not divide them. We need to focus on limiting the size of government, a strong national defense, personal responsibility and individual liberty. Republicans across the spectrum probably agree on 80 percent of issues; in the last few years, we've focused on issues that have divided us. So the Republicans need to have an agenda that appeals to the middle and the right.

We lost the last election because independents voted for Democrats in percentages that they hadn't done in previous elections. So we just focus on those unifying Republican issues.

As a party, I'm proud of how our party is treating the war on terror as a global struggle against the forces of intolerance and evil. It's against people who want to destroy our way of life, and, as a country, I think we need to approach it that way. I don't want to get into the war on Iraq, but I'm proud of how our country is approaching terrorism as good versus evil. And when you look at how those countries treat LGBT people ( executing them and the like ) , these people are evil—and we need to recognize that as a society. However, these are my personal views and not the organization's positions.

WCT: What do you say to people within the LGBT community who condemn the concept of a gay person in the GOP?

PS: Well, they're not being very strategic. I want those people to tell me how we can achieve equality without more Republican votes. It's easy to get mad and frustrated and say, 'I'm mad at all Republicans,' and take your ball and go home. It might feel good but it doesn't do one thing to advance our movement closer to equality.

So even if you disagree with me about tax cuts, the war on Iraq or my view of education reform, you better understand that it's really important to have people like me who do the hard work of gaining new allies among conservatives and Republicans. It's pretty strategically stupid to not understand why gay and lesbian Republicans are so important.

WCT: So I take it that you would date a Democrat?

PS: [ Laughs ] Sure, I would. I don't have a litmus test.

See www.logcabin.org for more info.


This article shared 4510 times since Wed Jun 6, 2007
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