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posted Friday, November 19, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 47
Tea Party and GOProud to GOP: No movement on Gay issues
Section One
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Tea Party and GOProud to GOP: No movement on Gay issues

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Tea Party helped to return the Republicans to legislative power in the House and narrow the Democratic majority in the Senate. Now the Tea Party - along with Gay conservative group GOProud - is asking the GOP to keep in mind who their friends were in the last election and what it is they want from their elected lawmakers.

The Tea Party Patriots and the New American Patriots joined with GOProud to send Republican leaders a clear message: Focus where voters want you to: on a smaller, less intrusive government.

'On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement,' a letter from GOProud and Tea Party leaders to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell urged. 'This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue.'

Boehner is expected to replace Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house, and McConnell will lead the Senate minority.

At least 17 Tea Party and conservative signatories had put their name on the letter, including Ohio-based national Tea Party Patriots leader Ralph King.

'When they were out in Boston Harbor, they weren't arguing about who was Gay and who was having an abortion,' King told Politico. 'Am I going to be the best man at a same-sex marriage wedding? That's not something I necessarily believe in. I look at myself as pretty socially conservative. But that's not what we push through the Tea Party Patriots.'

GOProud chair Christopher Barron said, 'For almost two years now, the Tea Party has been laser-focused on the size of government. No one has been talking about social issues - not even the socially conservative candidates who won Tea Party support.'

In other words, the Tea Party and GOProud are claiming that they aren't interested in talking about Gay rights - or any other social issues, for that matter - and are just focused on the economy and the size of government.

But Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, claims that isn't so. She says that GOP candidates - including some Tea Party-backed hopefuls - had turned to rhetorical Gay-bashing to garner votes.

'Playing the scapegoat card is a nasty tactic they employ to pander to their hardcore base in order to gin up votes and burnish their anti-LGBT or 'family values' credentials,' Carey said. 'Most Americans are concerned about bread-and-butter issues like jobs and the economy. And every day, more and more people join the vast number of Americans who support equality. Still, some of these candidates are only concerned with political expediency, and to them that means beating up on others.'

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