As an LGBT person of faith who believes in liberty and individualism, I can say that the tale that Democrats hold the key to happiness for LGBT people is hogwash; liberals want LGBT people to wave the rainbow flag but only if they tone down the red band of color that stands atop the flag. LGBT Republicans of faith have a unique opportunity to expose the fanciful fallacy that tethers too many people to the left – that LGBT people must be Democrats and that people of faith cannot be proudly LGBT – and offer the Republican Party a chance to undermine the Democratic narrative and to connect two constituencies that will lead to GOP wins throughout the country.
The goals of Republicans and LGBT people are complementary: respect individual liberty and freedom and allow people to pursue their own happiness. Many religiously affiliated LGBT people, who constitute 52% of the LGBT population according to a 2013 Pew Research survey, realize that though they do not fit into any pre-made special interest box that dictates the terms of their identity, they do fit into the Republican circle that embraces individualism and liberty.
Republicans need to push back against Democratic messaging. While the left claims a so-called “war on women” by the right, they conveniently gloss over the predatory philandering of Democrat “leaders” such as Bob Filner, Anthony Weiner, Mel Reynolds, and Bill Clinton. Republican women need to call out this hypocrisy.
Relatedly, we need to stop assuming that being a person of faith and being a supporter of LGBT equality are mutually exclusive. The left’s smears against religious Americans as anti-LGBT not only outcast LGBT people of faith but also ignore the reality that many religious communities are increasingly supportive of LGBT equality. A 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey found that a majority of white mainline Protestants, 62% of Catholics, and over one in four white evangelical Protestants support marriage equality. A strong majority in every major religious group favors protections from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there are a growing number of religious groups dedicated to advancing LGBT equality.
By living openly and honestly, LGBT Republicans – especially LGBT Republicans of faith – have a powerful chance to counter the left’s messaging and provide the Republican Party with an important opportunity to better position itself as the Party of individualism and inclusion, with a message that will lead to electoral victory.