Putting a Gay Face on the Conservative Agenda

When it was announced that a new conservative gay organization was coming into existence to challenge the Log Cabin Republicans and give gay conservatives a new voice, it wasn’t really clear exactly what its mission was going to entail, other than trying to sell standard conservative policies from a gay perspective while avoiding the issues that deal directly with gay concerns: 

Mr. LaSalvia, the new group’s executive director, points to the arithmetic. In the 2008 presidential election, between 4% and 5% of voters self-identified as gay. Of these, 27% went for John McCain. That works out to 1.4 to 1.8 million gay Republican votes.

“If you pulled the lever for John McCain in 2008, then passing hate-crimes legislation or ENDA [Employment Non-Discrimination Act] is probably not your priority,” says Mr. LaSalvia. “Most issues that are defined as ‘gay’ issues have been defined by the left. We take a different approach.”

Health care is one example. Mr. LaSalvia points out that many gays do not believe their best interests are served by government-run health care. To the contrary, he says, they believe they would be better served by private-run individual accounts that are portable, that put them in charge of their own health care, and that would allow them to designate their own beneficiaries.

Why exactly gays as a group should prefer individual health insurance accounts LaSalvia doesn’t say, but apparently this is his group’s strategy – to paint traditional conservative policies as gay-friendly policies:

Mr. LaSalvia said GOProud will fill an important niche by addressing policies typically ignored by gay liberal activists, such as moves by the Democrat-led Congress to let President George W. Bush’s cuts to the inheritance tax expire.

“The inheritance tax is really a gay tax,” said Mr. LaSalvia, noting that without same-sex marriage, there is no tax exemption for inheritance from a gay partner. That’s the type of policy the traditional gay lobby isn’t going to touch.

Of course, the central issue here is not so much the supposed unfairness of the estate tax as it is the discrimination in the law.  If GOProud was really interested in fighting this unfairness, it would be pressing to get an exemption for gay couples and addressing the underlying discrimination at work that refuses to recognize such relationships.

That, at least, seems to be the most logical way to go about it, but since GOProud isn’t interested in taking on the “gay issues,” it is focusing on eliminating the estate tax instead of eliminating the discrimination.