Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank ridiculed the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) in a Wednesday interview with The Huffington Post, suggesting that “their role model is Uncle Tom.” The gay Republican group responded by accusing Frank of being “a partisan hack” who “bashes his fellow LGBT [lesbian, gay, bi and transgender] Americans.”
Speaking from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Frank said, “I’ve been appalled to see the Log Cabin club, in the face of this worse and worse record on public policy by Republicans on our issues… They’re willing to be accepted with no rights — no right to marry, no right to serve in the military, no right to be protected against hate crimes, no right to be protected in employment.”
He added: “I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: Their role model is Uncle Tom.”
In a biting response, the Log Cabin Republicans said that Frank was willfully spreading false information by ignoring the group’s successful lawsuit against the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and its positions on the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act and same-sex marriage.
“Frank calls us ‘Uncle Toms’ and pretends that Log Cabin hasn’t been on the front lines of the fight for equality,” said LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper in a press release. “The truth is, by speaking conservative to conservative about gay rights, Log Cabin Republicans are doing some of the hardest work in the movement, work that liberals like Barney are unwilling to do and couldn’t do if they tried.”
Recalling the December 2010 vote to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — which had been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge earlier that year as a result of an LCR lawsuit — Cooper said, “Barney Frank and President Obama didn’t ask for Senator Susan Collins’s leadership, and they never asked for Republican votes. Log Cabin did.”
The bill that repealed the ban on gay people in the military was sponsored by Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman. Seven other Republican senators voted for repeal, providing the necessary 60 Senate votes. The repeal push had not been included on a list of three legislative priorities for the Obama administration during the 2010-2011 lame duck session of Congress.
The gay Republican group likewise faulted Frank for failing to aggressively push ENDA, which would bar workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
“Log Cabin fights every day for equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the workplace — a victory that Democrats delayed by refusing to bring ENDA to a vote when they had the chance and by dismissing the support of conservatives like Congressman Paul Ryan,” Cooper said. “We had the needed Republican votes to pass ENDA. Barney Frank and his liberal allies chose not to, out of political calculation and cowardice.”
The group also said Frank ignored LCR’s efforts to woo Republican state legislators in New York for the successful vote to legalize same-sex marriage — made possible by GOP legislators in the state senate — and ignored the group’s work with Republicans opposed to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. (WATCH: Barney Frank: More stimulus would decrease food stamp rolls)
“Gay liberals like Barney… are trying to silence us, calling us names and ganging up like schoolyard bullies,” Cooper charged. “While Barney bashes his fellow LGBT Americans, we’ll continue our work building a stronger, more inclusive GOP — and someday soon, we’ll win, because inclusion always wins.”
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