There aren’t a lot of openly gay Republicans, but there are some. This is not as surprising as it may seem. David Brock in his book Blinded By the Right talks about what it is to be gay inside movement conservatism: they accept it silently. At least they do until you stray from the fold and then they attack you with every vile insult they’d been stifling all those years. So I feel sorry for gay conservatives because their political allies hate them and I fear they secretly hate themselves.
The thing is that sex is one of the most basic things about us. I can’t imagine joining a group that denies one of the core aspects of my being. And what is this done for? Economic libertarianism that the movement only pretends to follow? A fanatical belief in a religion that claims you ought to be stoned to death?
The situation is even more intense when the politician comes out only after he has been in office. In that case, I think that he is likely to change his outlook over time. Clearly, coming out is a liberalizing act. Who knows what the future holds?
Pennsylvania state Representative Mike Fleck is such a man. He is in his fourth term, but he just came out as gay. And he has an interesting story: he is a graduate from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. I wonder what that experience did to him.
I suspect there may be some gamesmanship going on with Fleck’s announcement, however. Brian Sims was just elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature and he would have been been the first openly gay member. And a Democrat. Also note that Fleck came out after the election. That should tell you everything you need to know about the Republican Party generally when it comes to gay rights.
But I’m with Sims, “The truth of the matter is, I’m excited any time anybody feels that they can come out of the closet… [and] that they can be honest with themselves and people around them.” Good policy is secondary. At least for now.