The gay political group Log Cabin Republicans has endorsed former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her bid for the U.S. House of Representatives this fall.
Palin, who came in second in the state’s all-comers primary, qualified for the general with three other candidates. She currently is facing off against Democratic U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, who defeated her in a special runoff election last month, as well as fellow Republican Nick Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye, who replaced the fourth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, on the ballot after the latter dropped out of the race.
As governor, Palin largely didn’t have a longstanding record on LGBTQ rights. She vetoed a bill that would have blocked the state from granting benefits to same-sex partners of public employees, stating, at the time, that she did so because the state’s attorney general had advised her the measure was unconstitutional.
She was on record as opposing same-sex marriage and even supporting a constitutional amendment to ban the practice — a stance she kept as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate in 2008, despite presidential nominee John McCain’s opposition to such an amendment — but also said during that year’s vice presidential debate against Joe Biden that she supported allowing same-sex couples to visit their partners in the hospital and sign legal contracts, as in the case of estate planning.
A few years later, Palin retweeted a gay conservative’s post criticizing her part’s ardent opposition to overturning the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibited LGB individuals from serving openly in the U.S. military — a move that appeared to imply she would support relaxing the ban. However, in a 2017 tweet, she linked to a Facebook post by another user that was titled “Lady Gaga Proves Why Banning Transgenders from Military Service Is a Smart Idea.”
In a second round of endorsements issued last week, the Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Palin and several other Republicans seeking office this fall. In total, the group has endorsed 38 Republicans running in this year’s general election.
“With recommendations and support from our grassroots members and chapters, our PAC is proud to announce the second wave of endorsed candidates and incumbents for the 2022 midterms,” Log Cabin President Charles Moran said in a statement. “Our candidates not only possess the tenacity and resolve to retake majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate, but they also have the expertise to put an end to the detrimental policies of the Biden administration.
“While each of our candidates are unique in their stories, experiences, and skills, they stand united in the desire to support pro-business policies that encourage economic growth, protect individual liberties, and end the devastating single-party rule in Washington,” Moran added. “These endorsees are candidates that all members of our LCR family can be proud of, and I look forward to welcoming them to Washington in January as members of the 118th Congress.”
Among the Republicans who earned endorsements are: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a longtime LGBTQ ally; U.S. Reps. Ken Calvert (Calif.) and Andrew Garbarino (New York), both of whom recently voted for the Respect for Marriage Act; Tom Kean, Jr., a congressional candidate in New Jersey who has amassed a record of pro-LGBTQ votes in the New Jersey Legislature; Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, an openly gay Republican running for a seat in conservative-leaning Central Massachusetts; Jeremy Shaffer, a congressional candidate from Pennsylvania who previously called for strengthening the state’s hate crime laws; and Allan Fung, a congressional candidate in Rhode Island who raised the Pride flag over Cranston City Hall when he was mayor to celebrate the Supreme Court’s pro-LGBTQ decision in the Bostock v. Clayton County case regarding employment discrimination — but opposed same-sex marriage when Rhode Island was attempting to legalize the practice in 2013.
Yet the list also includes some with less obvious pro-LGBTQ records, such as Palin and Lisa Scheller, a congressional candidate from Pennsylvania whose record on LGBTQ issues seems to consist of one vote, taken in 2013, in which she voted to reject providing medical benefits to the same-sex spouses of county employees.
Log Cabin enthusiastically announced its backing of Palin, tweeting: “Log Cabin is PROUD to endorse @SarahPalinUSA for Congress! Palin is a trailblazer who paved the way for the America First movement. Her commitment and dedication to Alaska is unparalleled and admirable. Palin will protect individual liberties for all Americans!”
Palin gladly accepted the endorsement, tweeting: “Thank you @LogCabinGOP!” with an American flag emoji. She also included a graphic with a longer statement saying how it is important that all Republicans unify (presumably behind her) ahead of the general election this November. Neither the tweet nor the statement mentioned that Log Cabin is an LGBTQ political group.
Log Cabin Republicans did not respond to a request for comment from Metro Weekly asking about the group’s endorsement process, whether endorsees must make or sign certain pledges, and its rationale for endorsing Palin.
The group has been vocal in defending Republicans of all stripes — even those with anti-LGBTQ records — from political attacks and has been pointed in its criticism of “Gay, Inc.,” the term it uses to describe the bulk of national LGBTQ organizations, whom it has claimed are biased against conservatives and too concerned with embracing “woke” ideologies.
The national organization, along with some of its chapters, has defended Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” law, dubbed by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, arguing that the bill, which bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools except in secondary classes — and then, only in rare instances where such content would be considered “age-appropriate.” The organization has argued that topics such as sexuality and gender should be left to parents to decide when their children are exposed to such ideas, rather than public school teachers or elected officials.
The organization, while supporting the Respect for Marriage Act, also criticized the timing of votes on the bill, arguing that attempts to pass the measure — which would enshrine same-sex marriage rights into federal law — prior to this year’s midterm elections were a “political stunt” by Democrats to save themselves during a year when they are expected to lose seats in Congress.
Moran praised an announced delay of a vote in the U.S. Senate until after the election, saying in a statement that LCR “look[s] forward to the U.S. Senate taking up this bill after the election, where it will be considered on the merits instead of being used as the Democrats’ political football to distract voters from their leadership failures.”
He added: “In the meantime, we will continue to work with our allies in Congress and candidates that wish to expand growth, opportunity and prosperity for ALL Americans.”
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