Voting Beyond Party Lines: Gay People in the Republican Party

Can gay people support a party that has openly stated their views as against same-sex marriage? Kathryn Lehman, who worked to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, is now a lesbian looking to repeal it. As the Huffington Post’s article “Kathryn Lehman, Republican Lesbian Who Helped Write DOMA , Is Now Lobbying to Appeal It” discusses, what makes Lehman unique is that she’s a republican lesbian, a rarity in politics. When Lehman helped passed DOMA in 1996, she believed gay marriage wasn’t really talked about or a mainstream issue. Since she came out following the  passing of DOMA and is now trying to repeal it, Lehman acknowledges that times are changing and gay marriage is now a highly contested issue in America. Further, as same-sex marriage has gotten more attention and support, she has come to realize the impact that DOMA has on her, as well as the growing number of same-sex couples across the country. Although Lehman is now a supporter of same-sex marriage, she has remained a conservative Republican, still supporting the party that is typically thought of to be against gay marriage.

Kathryn Lehman is an interesting citizen, as she represents a very small demographic in the Republican Party; there are not many gay citizens who support the Republican Party. This is largely because the Democratic Party officially supports same-sex marriage, while the Republican Party does not. Additionally, President Obama has voiced his support of same-sex marriage. Even though the number of gay republicans is small, there is a larger population of gay men than women republicans, because they “believe in the party’s message of small government and a strong military” (Huffington Post). There are very few openly gay women republicans and this may be because women naturally tend to lean more democratic.


Although same-sex marriage is, in my eyes, one of the most important issues facing the country, I think it is important to remember it is not the only issue facing Americans. When determining which politicians to support, it is important to look at their stance on many issues. As our politics have gotten more polarized, however, I believe that citizens are less inclined to explore their party’s views on issues; instead, many people either affiliate with the political party their parents are a part of, or they label themselves as democrat, republican, or moderate, without truly exploring the values and ideas of these parties. It is important to remember that political parties are responsible for covering a large range of issues, and citizens must look at their party’s stance on many key issues when voting. It is also important that citizens look at candidates on an individual basis, as there are a growing number of Republican’s who differ from their party’s view on issues such as same-sex marriage; while a political party’s view may state one opinion on each issue, each candidate varies on the issues and can differ from their party’s views. Voting for a one-party ticket without looking at each politicians stance on key issues can lead citizens to vote for candidates who may not have the same views as them, even if they are a part of the same political party.

Although the Democratic Party’s support of same-sex marriage has lead most gay citizens to support them, I believe the Republican Party’s view on this issue is starting to change. While the Republican Party’s official position is not in support of gay marriage, the Huffington Post’s article on Kathryn Lehman makes a good point when it states that top republican officials are speaking out less against gay marriage, when in the past, same-sex marriage was highly criticized by republican leaders. While some republican figures still speak out against gay marriage, this issue is less crticized by the Republican Party, and I believe this means the Republican Party is beginning to support this issue, or at least tolerate acceptance in this country. I do think that the Republican Party will have to shift their view on gay marriage, however, and think that as the country gets more progressive, they will do so. Additionally, I think if Democratic candidates truly do support same-sex marriage, they need to take more action on this issue; while President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage is, in my eyes, extremely impressive, I believe he must do more work in regards to this issues.


Andrea Holland


About rowlanda12

This is a blog about the 2012 presidential election. Content is generated by students in Professor Heldman's Politics 101 class. She does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here.
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