Gay Republicans Urged To Convert

Fri. April 16, 2004 12:00 AM by

Palm Springs, California - Hundreds of letters urging gay Republicans to switch party allegiance have begun showing up in mailboxes in the Palm Springs area. But, some people are wondering how organizers of the letter campaign found out who they were. And, others say they don't know why they got the letters because they're straight.

The letters came from the Desert Stonewall Democrats and is aimed at people the group believes are opposed to President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

"We now have a president, the supposed leader of the free world, sanctioning discrimination in the Constitution of the United States of America," the letter states.

"This is nothing short of declaring war on our civil rights and dignity. It is obviously a political move of the worst type that will do nothing but attempt to divide our nation."

"As a registered GLBT Republican, you might be feeling especially betrayed by this sucker punch to the gut," the letter says.

The letter includes a voter registration card allowing recipients to switch to the Democrats.

The the mailing list was compiled from a number of public sources, including campaign contributors to gay candidates or gay causes, letters to the editor in support of gay issues and people who advertise in gay publications, said George Zander, chairman of the Desert Stonewall Democrats.

"Everybody does this," Zander said.

Desert Stonewall is one of the most powerful Democratic Party organizations in Palm Springs and is credited with the party’s sweep last fall that saw the election of an openly gay mayor, Ron Oden.

But, some recipients of the letter who say they aren't gay call the letter "presumptuous".

"I was stunned. I wanted to know how they got my name connected with sexual orientation," said Sheila Grattan, a Palm Springs marketing consultant, who received a letter.

"First of all, it was wrong. I was offended. I thought it was a fishing expedition."

Zander concedes the letter should have been more inclusive by specifically saying it was aimed at GLBT Republicans "and their supporters".

"It was intended for GLBT Republicans or Republicans who are sympathetic to GLBT issues," he said.

Zander said the letters were sent because the president’s stance on gay marriage has polarized Republicans.

But, the timing was no mistake. The letters came out just as Log Cabin Republicans were beginning their national convention in Palm Springs.

The gay GOP group recently came out against the president’s stance on gay marriage, announcing a million dollar ad campaign to fight the proposed amendment.

©® 2004

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.