LGBT Republican group that declined to back Trump in 2016 endorses him for 2020

Nicholas Wu

WASHINGTON –  The Log Cabin Republicans, which calls itself the "nation’s original and largest organization representing LGBT conservatives," announced its endorsement of President Donald Trump for the 2020 presidential election after declining to back him in 2016.

In an op-ed published Thursday in The Washington Post, Robert Kabel, the group's chairman, and Jill Homan, the vice chairwoman, declared that "The Log Cabin Republicans endorse Donald Trump for reelection as president."

"To be treated equally, fairly and justly under the law is our goal, and we know that 'Inclusion Wins' is a mantra we share with the president," the group added. 

Kabel and Homan noted the party's progress on LGBTQ representation. 

They highlighted how Peter Thiel, the billionaire entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal and Palantir, was able to take the stage at the 2016 GOP convention and declare he was gay, a Republican, and an American – a far cry from the 1992 convention, when Pat Buchanan had decried gay marriage and slammed the "pro-lesbian" and "pro-gay" platform of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. 

Looking forward, Kabel and Homan argued Trump had "[moved] past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook."

They noted that Trump had taken "bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community" like committing to ending HIV/AIDS, advocating for LGBTQ rights abroad, and picking LGBTQ nominees like Richard Grinnell, Trump's ambassador to Germany.   

Pride flag ban: Mike Pence says banning pride flags at US embassies is 'the right decision'

LGBT laws: 7 maps show the mess LGBT laws are in the USA

The group did not agree with all of Trump's policies, though. The group opposes the Trump administration's restrictions on transgender individuals serving in the military.

Buttigieg campaign: Trump supports Buttigieg campaigning with his husband: 'It's good'

The Log Cabin Republican had been split by divisions about LGBTQ rights leading up to Trump's nomination in 2016. The board of the group ended up deciding to "withhold" their endorsement of Trump, citing anti-LGBTQ Trump campaign advisers and support for legislation that could undermine civil rights protections for LGBTQ individuals. 

"As Mr. Trump spoke positively about the LGBT community in the United States, he concurrently surrounded himself with senior advisors with a record of opposing LGBT equality," the group wrote in a statement at the time. 

The Trump administration had been met with a backlash for previous actions that advocacy groups saw as rolling back LGBTQ rights, like restrictions on transgender individuals serving in the military and a ban on pride flags at U.S. embassies. 

The 2016 Republican Party platform argued for the recognition of "marriage as the union of one man and one woman," though Trump has spoken favorably of same-sex marriage. 

Jon Cooper, the chair of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, called the endorsement "truly despicable and shameful," adding that "they don't speak for 99% of LGBTQ Americans who are fully aware of all Trump has done to reverse steps towards #LGBTQ equality." 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LGBT Republican group endorses Donald Trump for the 2020 election