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GLBT Mon Dec 10 2012
Inclusion Wins and Woes: Interview with Caitlin Huxley, President of the Log Cabin Republicans of Illinois
By Rachel Angres
With the recent Lambda Legal lawsuit filed against the Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of 25 gay couples who wish to be married in Illinois and the Supreme Court's clandestine meetings over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, the path for legalizing same sex marriage in Illinois is far from clear. Proponents of same-sex marriage are in most cases liberal organizations and individuals, with one exception: The Log Cabin Republicans.
The Log Cabin Republican Group is a national grassroots organization made up of conservative to moderate libertarian Republicans in the LGBT community and their "straight allies," who fight for equal rights. Based on their motto that "inclusion wins," LCR members share the common understanding that the GOP is stronger without alienating its LGBT members along with their friends and family through antigay ideologies and policies.
I recently spoke with Caitlin Huxley, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Illinois, about the organization's role in the GOP and its position on DOMA and civil unions.
What is your mission statement?
Log Cabin works to build a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party by promoting the core values of limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets and a strong national defense while advocating for the freedom and equality of gay and lesbian Americans. We emphasize that these principles and the moral values on which they stand are consistent with the pursuit of equal treatment under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
What are your duties as president?
As president, I am the first line of contact for our organization. I call and run meetings for the general membership, and for our board of directors. Along with our board, I steer the direction of the organization, and make sure we are doing everything we need to be doing. I also meet with candidates and elected officials, representing Log Cabin.
What do the Log Cabin Republicans do as an organization? Is there a particular goal in mind?
We aim to be the face of the LGBT community within the Republican Party, and the face of the Republican Party within the LGBT community. The goal is to increase communication between the two, and show that being Republican and gay are not mutually exclusive.
What would you say are the larger issues that are sometimes overlooked when it comes to the LGBT community in Illinois?
It's all about crafting the message to the audience. The LGBT community is particularly poor at advocating marriage equality to those who oppose it for various reasons, but whose support is required. That's where LCR comes in. As Republicans, we are familiar with the language used by Republicans, and we help shape the message of marriage equality to Republicans.
What are your thoughts on DOMA?
Log Cabin Republicans oppose DOMA as an assault on federalism and the principle of equality under the law, and are committed to fighting to repeal this unfair law.
What are your main concerns on Illinois progress in terms of civil unions and same sex marriage?
While I am disappointed it took lawmakers as long as it did to pass civil unions, I think we are on the right track, and hope to see full marriage equality become a reality soon.
In addition to the Log Cabin Republicans, a new grassroots conservative LGBT organization is beginning to emerge. Young Conservatives for the Freedom To Marry is oriented toward the younger generation, and aims to "demonstrate the broad and growing support for marriage across the ideological spectrum."
The video below gives insight in to a new emerging generation of young gay conservatives to follow in their predecessor's footsteps.