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Conservative LGBT Rights Group Gets Off The Ground In N.H.

Peter Biello
Adam Lord helped found the NH Log Cabin Republicans

The Log Cabin Republicans have long had a national presence, and now they have a New Hampshire chapter. The group of conservative supporters of LGBT rights formed last month and will hold a launch event on Friday at 5:30pm at the One Hundred Club in Portsmouth, during which Governor Chris Sununu is scheduled to speak. It’s an effort, they say, to show that the Republican party is unified.

Adam Lord is among the four founding members of the chapter and he spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

Tell us about how the New Hampshire chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans came to be.

After the contentious presidential election that we ended up having, we decided that there needed to be some form of representation, within the state GOP, of LGBT rights. So we decided to come together—me, Matt Mayberry, who’s the former vice chair of the state GOP, Doug Palardy, who’s from the Portsmouth area, as well as Dylan Cruess, who’s a local business owner around here.

We have a very diverse board—it’s not just gays, it’s gays, straights, lesbians. We wanted to have full representation on the board as well as be able to lay ourselves out in front of the Republican party and say: This is how we will be able to help win elections for the state GOP.

Small-government Republicans might argue that policies meant to protect LGBT rights would be an expansion of government. Where do you fall on that tension between the expansion of government and protecting LGBT rights?

I’m looking at it from two points of view. The first area I want to look at is, let’s help the New Hampshire GOP win elections. We are able to say, listen, these are the situations we are faced with, how can the GOP have not so much a politically correct tone but an emotionally correct tone, in regards to how we can include everyone in the decision-making?

The second aspect to it is, we want to let LGBTQ people know that the GOP is inclusive. So there are two avenues here. We want to have people that say, I’m fiscally conservative but socially liberal, I identify as a Republican. Everything that goes [on] throughout the country, the stigmatism of the Republican party not being inclusive of the LGBT [community], is something we need to get away from.

How would the Log Cabin Republicans work with conservatives who say, for example, that being gay is a choice?

I think that by us being there and them getting to know some of us—I mean, first and foremost is, we are gay but I am also a conservative. I believe that the preamble to the constitution sets forth what the government is supposed to have, [what] the federal government is supposed to provide for its people.

The second side to it is, we want to be able to show them that we are conservative. We want to be able to say, you might not know anybody who’s gay, or who’s out—I grew up racing dirt bikes, my father’s a retired police officer, my mother’s my accountant. The reason I came out is that the people that know me like me better now, versus before when I was in the closet.

So I think that if they open their mind and eyes, and meet someone who they might be able to identify with—they might not be able to identify with me on an aspect of who I’m marrying, but they can identify with me [in] that I believe the federal government has its limitations and it’s set forth through the constitution.

What would you say to conservative voters who are uncomfortable with or opposed to LGBT rights?

Open up the line of communication. We are going out to different Republican committees so we can let them know who we are, they can put a face with a name, and we can answer their questions. I’m not looking for the easy questions, I’m looking for the people where, they may not be able to identify—in one instance we had someone tell us they would rather have us become Democrats.

There’s no reason to have that type of monologue within the GOP. Most people within the state GOP has been very accepting of it, and they’re actually welcoming towards us.

Do conservatives who are prominent opponents of LGBT rights on the national stage, for example Vice President Mike Pence, make it more difficult to you to recruit LGBT members into the Republican party?

I think that’s what we’re trying to get away from, the stigmatism that the overall GOP is the way that the New Hampshire GOP is reflect. I think that on a national level, there is some work that can be done, which is why that we’re here.

What will the New Hampshire Log Cabin Republicans be doing in the next year?

The next year is going to be an interesting one. We want to make sure we have a voice on the state platform and that we have the ability to work with the platform so that way we can endorse candidates that we feel will promote the GOP in the most positive light. 

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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