I have had to come out twice in my life. The first time I came out, I told friends and family that I’m gay — that I’m attracted to other men, and that eventually I want to find the right man and spend the rest of my life with him. My second coming out has been more recent, as I have told the very friends and family who were supportive and accepting of my sexual orientation that I am a conservative Republican. Some have been just as supportive and accepting as they were before; others, less so.
The new challenge facing me is to be a conservative and a member of the Republican Party as an openly gay American. So far, the handful of College Republicans I’ve come out to, the faces of conservatism for me on a day to day basis, have been accepting. But events at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) demonstrate that there is, unfortunately, another side to the story. There are those who think gay conservatives should be excluded from the effort to take back America. Enter the now infamous Ryan Sorba:
It should be noted, although it rarely has been by the mainstream media, that Sorba’s anti-gay rant was preceded by a very different speech by Alexander McCobin, co-founder and president of Students for Liberty:
I prefer to believe that McCobin speaks for the majority of today’s young conservatives. Ryan Sorba’s ignorant hatred aside, last weekend was a good weekend to be a gay conservative. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, came out in favor of repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy banning gays and lesbians from serving in the military. GOProud had a booth at CPAC. Alexander McCobin spoke in favor of gay participation at CPAC, and when Ryan Sorba stood up to have his Kanye West moment he was booed off stage. All good news.
I think for me, though, the best news was maybe a little less significant. It was seeing several of my fellow College Republicans who attended CPAC speaking out against Sorba through Facebook and other social networking and new media. It was seeing, for example, fellow Ohio University College Republican and blogging colleague Jesse Hathaway (Athens Runaway) take on Sorba’s idiocy via his blog. The Cheneys opposing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Great. But the people I’ll be working with at the grassroots level to get conservatives elected this November speaking out to say there’s a place for me in this movement? Far better.
Now that we’ve got the touchy-feely fluffy goodness out of the way, a message to Ryan Sorba and all who think like him:
We’re here. We’re queer. We’re conservative. Get used to it.
I believe in a government that respects the limitations upon its power set by our Constitution. I believe that men like George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of our founding fathers knew better how government should work than a leftist law professor and community organizer who lied, manipulated, and intimidated his way into the presidency. I believe in a liberal democracy in which people live freely to pursue their own happiness, not the brave new world being foisted on us by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.
I believe that the best way to grow our economy is to shrink our government. Those taxes they want to collect to dole out pork projects to their benefactors certainly haven’t done the job. Taking even more of the American worker’s money to take over health care and energy certainly aren’t good answers to our problems either. If we want to stimulate our economy, the best way to do that is to put our citizens’ own money back in their own hands. Cut taxes. Cut spending. Reduce the deficit. Let the market reward the responsible and punish the irresponsible.
I also believe that we are at war with an enemy that hates us because we love liberty, an enemy that knows no borders and has from time to time infiltrated our own. As a gay American, I know the very real threat posed by Islamic terrorists. Just look at the terrorism perpetrated against gays and lesbians by the Islamic “Republic” of Iran. I believe we need leadership that recognizes this war as a war, rather than a president who wants to bury his head in the sand and pretend we can go back to those heady times when the last Democrat president treated terrorists as common criminals.
My message to Ryan Sorba and his ilk? Like it or not, I’m here — and so are other gay conservatives just like me. We’re here because, frankly, where else would we go? Over to the Democrats, who give gays and lesbians a wink and a nod during campaign season and forget all about us — or actively work against us — when it comes time to actually govern? Should we go to the Democrats, even though we believe their policies are destroying the fabric of our constitutional government, wrecking our economy, and endangering our national security?
Maybe Ryan Sorba would like us to head over to the Democrat Party. I believe most conservatives, especially most younger conservatives, would strongly disagree with him. But more importantly, I believe that the path to freedom, prosperity, and security for gays and lesbians lies within the conservative movement and the Republican Party. How could I go anywhere else? So, Mr. Sorba, I’m sticking around. Should we cross paths at any point in the future, I guess there’s only one thing left for me to say to you: Bring it. I love it.