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Republican Party (United States)  
 
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Losing ground, the Bush campaign turned to the right, and President Bush publicly denounced same-sex marriage and any notion that homosexuality is normal. Meanwhile, Vice President Dan Quayle went on the attack against the decline in the country's moral values. The Party's shift to the right became clear at the 1992 Republican Party Convention, as key speaker Pat Buchanan railed against homosexuals and feminists, declaring that the country was in the midst of a "culture war."

The actions by the Bush campaign and the rhetoric of the Party's Convention led LCR to refuse to endorse President Bush. Ironically, however, even as the Party turned to the right in 1992, LCR chapters were being established throughout the country at a rapid pace, and media coverage of the Party's own Convention noted the presence of the first-ever gay and lesbian delegates, most of whom were LCR members. Nevertheless, the Party's turn to the right led gay and lesbian Republicans to abandon President Bush in favor of the Democratic candidate, Bill Clinton.

Sponsor Message.

Fundraising for Moderate Republicans

Even with the setbacks of the 1992 election cycle, LCR chapters were thriving, and in 1993 the federation established a lobbying office in Washington, D. C. and soon afterwards formed a political action committee that attempts to raise $100,000 per election cycle for moderate Republican candidates. LCR even assisted in electing the first openly glbtq Republican to any state legislature when it helped Chuck Carpenter reach the Oregon House of Representatives in 1994.

Throughout the early 1990s LCR lobbyists attempted to educate their Party on glbtq issues and concerns. They tended to focus on less partisan issues, such as funding for AIDS research and health care programs. The group continued to grow, and by 1996 LCR had six staff members and an annual budget of $700,000.

Local chapters of LCR were heavily involved in party politics in several states during the early 1990s and were credited with assisting in the elections of several Republican governors, including Pete Wilson in California and William Weld in Massachusetts.

Both Governors rewarded their gay and lesbian supporters with political appointments. Although Governor Wilson soon appealed to a more conservative base, disappointing gay Republicans, the more moderate Governor Weld became one of the most pro-gay governors in the country. (Weld's reputation as pro-gay, however, cost him the ambassadorship to Mexico, when Republican Senator Jesse Helms and others blocked his nomination.)

A similar pattern emerged in local politics during the early 1990s. In the 1993 non-partisan mayoral election in Los Angeles, nearly 30 percent of conservative gay men and lesbians supported the candidacy of moderate Republican Richard Riordan over the more liberal Michael Woo. Riordan won and rewarded his gay and lesbian supporters with positions on his transition team and the appointment of an openly gay man as his deputy mayor. Mayor Riordan's efforts to court glbtq Republicans paid off during his 1997 reelection, when he received 41 percent of the gay and lesbian vote.

Unwelcome Outsiders

Glbtq activism within the Republican Party became most visible during the 1996 presidential campaign. As President Clinton and the Democratic Party sought to attract even more glbtq supporters than they had in 1992, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole found himself under fire after refusing a $1,000 campaign contribution from the LCR Political Action Committee. The news media covered the issue extensively, and the Dole campaign eventually accepted the contribution. LCR continued to grow, and by the end of the 1996 election cycle, the LCR PAC had contributed $76,000 to local, state, and national moderate Republican candidates.

As the 1990s progressed, gay and lesbian Republicans at the state and local level often found themselves unwelcome outsiders. For example, in 1998 the Texas Republican Party denied the LCR's request for a booth at the state convention. State Party spokesman Robert Black compared the LCR to the Ku Klux Klan and . But even with such an outrageous rejection, almost 30 LCR members attended the state Party Convention in June as delegates or alternates, and openly glbtq persons held at least one precinct chair position in all major Texas urban counties in 1998.

In Oregon that same year, openly gay two-term incumbent member of the state House of Representatives Chuck Carpenter lost his reelection bid in the primary to a conservative member of his Party. Carpenter had upset the Party leadership by his 1997 efforts to pass new legislation banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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