I know I was conservative long before I knew I was a weirdo. A natural contraster, I always like to color the outside of the box. I have little respect for authority, and am eager to challenge orthodox ideology and opinion. As an Obama-era kid, for me even as a kid it was clear to me that there was an “approved” way of thinking — largely held by Democratic Party and mainstream media.
Because of this, I knew the Democratic Party wasn’t for me at the age of 12.
Ever since I was a child, I have believed in unwavering freedom, American exceptionalism, and the promise of our nation. That’s what drew me to the Republican Party. Growing up in New HampshireI’m surrounded by politics and our GOP leaders Traditional moderate Republican Party people with little interest in social issues and culture wars, despite the temptation of a fanatical base of activism.
When I was 18, I interned for Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire on Capitol Hill for the second to last year of her term, when she started position she is a moderate voice on issues like LGBTQ rights. In 2014, the message seemed pretty clear: Same-sex marriage is a dead issue, and Republicans are moving on.
I then attended Mount Holyoke, a women’s college with a gay and lesbian majority. At the time, I didn’t consider myself an oddball, possibly because of my background as an unruly and frequent opponent of the group. In fact, attending Mount Holyoke influenced how I became even more conservative–and I connected the weirdness basically just to leftism.
But just a few months into my freshman year, I was in politics. A state seat was opened in my hometown and local GOP activists encouraged me to run. I mandate and run as a “liberal” Republican (something quite unique in New Hampshire), promoting limited government, school choice, and opposing tax increases. To the surprise of many (myself included), I won — instantly becoming one of the youngest elected officials in the country at just 19 years old.
I became more and more involved in the GOP — as a state delegate, working on campaigns, and attending endless rubber chicken dinners. I have allowed the GOP to be a big part of my personal identity.
And then at the age of 20, as a Republican elected politician, I realized that I’m definitely not straight.
But I don’t feel as though my affiliation with my party would conflict with my gender identity. In fact, as I continued to expand my network of gay people, I found that many people shared a lot of my core political values. I find myself working to convince these people that they should be open to voting Republican.
Of course, most refused, given the GOP’s fairly recent history of opposing same-sex marriage becoming an advocacy issue. But I have tried to assure skeptics that, as of June 2015, the Supreme Court has permanently settled the issue of same-sex marriage — making it the law of the country.
“What happened in the last decade? Is it no longer politically favorable to be equally supportive?“
I became more reassured that Republicans accepted same-sex marriage in 2016 when Donald Trump hold a pride flag on the campaign trail. This is something that no other GOP presidential candidate has done before… ever. Whatever you think of Trump, this is clearly a sign that Republicans are on the right track. And then, of course, the gay tech billionaire Peter Thiel’s spirited speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention where he not only endorsed Trump but said, “I’m proud to be gay,” to warm applause.
And in 2020, that support seems to be even stronger than during President Trump’s re-election campaign. The energy behind the Log Cabin Republicans and other conservative LGBTQ groups can be felt. Heck, even Caitlyn Jenner became a Fox News contributor who was one of the first transgender people to appear as a commentator on Fox when. Gay vocalists like Tammy Bruce, Dave Rubin and Rob Smith became increasingly popular in the conservative movement.
These experts made the case for the Republican Party and a second term for President Trump. Now, even less than two years later, the right has begun an anti-gay crisis that seriously threatens marriage equality.
Conservatives are launching online insults to innocent gay people. A majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against legalizing same-sex marriage at the federal level. Marriage equality advocates have accused by the Republican candidates for “sexualizing preschool children” and being “grocers”.
What happened in the last decade? Is it no longer politically favorable to be equally supportive?
When I asked my more conservative colleagues about this, they pointed to examples of gender theory being taught in schools. They point to videos from accounts like @LibsOfTikTok and promote the false story that LGBTQ people are going out to have their kids. Even while admitting there may be legitimate concerns about some of the more extreme examples, I am clearly wrong in believing that LGBTQ equality is a “dead issue”.
The conservative-dominated Supreme Court has shown, in overturning Roe v. Wadethat there is no precedent they will not reverse.
Even now, however, gay conservative political experts like Dave Rubin say there is no real divide between conservatives and gays. I can’t help but laugh at this.
It’s not just members of the far-right that call for Rubin executive when he announced that he and her husband were expecting, but more mainstream conservative political figures and media outlets like Allie Beth Stuckey, Jenna Ellisthe National rating and United States Conservative Party also denounced the couple’s decision to have children through a surrogate.
And recently, the conservative host of the Daily Wire, Michael Knowles speak“If Pete Buttigieg and Chasten can get married, then marriage has no concrete meaning.”
What year are we living in? Didn’t these conservatives celebrate gay Trump voters 15 minutes ago?
And how did Log Cabin Republicans push back against this radical turn? They do not. Instead, they cheered for 47 Republicans in favor of marriage equality, without acknowledging that a quarter of Republican caucuses not a win.
I’m 26 years old, but I’ve seen a lot in politics. I still believe that the right has a majority right, but radical conservatives are putting all these issues in jeopardy by promoting bigotry and rekindling the culture war that conservatives like me have been sure in the past.
Republicans in the Senate have the opportunity to correct the wrongs of the majority of Republicans in the House. They have the opportunity to show that Republicans stand for freedom and family. And we just need 10 of them to join the Democratic Party and pass the Respect for Marriage Act.
It’s time for the GOP to reject past prejudices, tame its extremists, and commit to freedom for all Americans regardless of gender.
This is a decisive moment and a decisive matter for the party. If Republican senators do not stand up to this opportunity, the conservative movement will trade its souls — advocating for individual rights — to appease a backward minority in its base.