Gay group seeks official recognition from California Republican Party

Gay political group Log Cabin Republicans seeks official recognition from California GOP

A gay GOP group is seeking official recognition by the California Republican Party at its biannual gathering in Sacramento this weekend, potentially setting the stage for a divisive floor fight on Sunday.

Charles Moran, chairman of the group, the California chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, cited work his members did in several competitive election contests in 2014 to argue that the group deserves a party charter.

“They know we’re worker bees and go out there, walking precincts, making phone calls,” he said, noting that his members volunteered for several candidates, including newly elected state Assemblywoman Catherine Baker in the Bay Area and state Sen. Janet Nguyen in Orange County.

“We’ve earned our street cred. Now it’s the point where we’re seeking that official recognition from the party. We’ve earned it," Moran said.

Conservatives are lining up to oppose the effort, arguing that it would weaken the Republican Party’s values.

Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute, a Sacramento-based group that backs conservative social causes, told supporters in an email Saturday morning that the Log Cabin group should not be recognized because it focuses on “lifestyle preferences” rather than growing the GOP.

“If Log Cabin California is chartered, look for the California Republican Party platform to be watered down in terms of family values,”  England wrote. 

The party’s official platform says homosexuality is unacceptable.

“We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption,” the platform says.

However, the move comes amid a changing landscape for gay people and the party. Last year, GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari marched in a gay pride parade, the first statewide Republican candidate to do so. Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), who is considering a run for U.S. Senate, supports same-sex marriage. The Log Cabin Luau, hosted by the California group, where attendees don rainbow-colored leis and sip mai tais, is among the best attended parties at state GOP conventions.

The Log Cabin Republicans’ California chapter has submitted an application arguing that they meet the criteria to be a chartered organization of the party -- 10 chapters in 10 counties, each with at least 10 members who are registered Republicans, and at least 200 members statewide.

The Volunteer Organization Committee will consider the request at a meeting Saturday evening. If they approve it, the matter will go to the convention floor for a vote Sunday morning.

Other officially recognized charter organizations include the California Federation of Republican Women and the California College Republicans.

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