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Friday, May 21, 2004

GOP gay group booted from N.C. convention



State party (*cough cough* BIGGOTS!) denies table to Log Cabin Republicans

From John Mercurio
CNN Political Unit
Friday, May 21, 2004 Posted: 12:24 PM EDT (1624 GMT)

(CNN) -- Gay Republicans in North Carolina said state party officials told them their group isn't welcome at a convention this weekend because "homosexuality is not normal" and their agenda is "counterproductive to the Republican agenda."

Bill Peaslee, a spokesman for the state GOP, said its leaders rescinded their offer to grant the Log Cabin Republicans a table at the convention because "in our opinion, they're not really a Republican organization. Their political agenda is different than our political agenda."

"While they call themselves loyal Republicans, they spend more time and more resources pointing out what's wrong with the party than what's right," Peaslee added. "They're attacking Republicans. We're in the business of electing Republicans. They're not loyal."

Ed Farthing, the Log Cabin organizer in North Carolina, said he had purchased a table at the party's convention on behalf of the group in April. The party accepted the money and issued a table, he said.

On Tuesday, Chairman Ferrell Blount reversed course, returning the money and informing Farthing that "the North Carolina Republican Party and the Log Cabin Republicans do not seem to share the same agenda."

"Your group will not have a table at our convention as this would seem counterproductive to the Republican Party's agenda," Blount wrote, according to Farthing.

In a written statement, Farthing said, "Chairman Blount's actions are an affront to fair-minded Republicans across the state of North Carolina. To flip-flop and refuse to allow loyal Republicans a seat at their own convention is petty and short-sighted."

Farthing drew support from his group's national leaders.

"Log Cabin Republicans believe that at a time when our country is at war, we ought to be bringing Republicans together, not dividing them, and certainly not excluding them from their own state convention," said Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the national Log Cabin Republicans.

A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee declined to wade into the squabble.

"Each of the state parties run their own conventions, so decisions about state party conventions are made by state parties," said RNC spokeswoman Christine Iverson.

"The Log Cabin Republicans and the College Republicans are not formally affiliated with the Republican National Committee. They say they're Republicans, so I assume they are, but they have always been separate and distinct groups."

The North Carolina Republicans' platform states that homosexuality "is not normal and should not be established as an acceptable 'alternative' lifestyle either in public education or in public policy."

The platform says that state Republicans oppose gay marriage, tax benefits for unmarried partners and "special treatment by law based on nothing other than homosexual behavior or identity."

"We also stand united with private organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, who defend moral decency and freedom according to their own long-held and well-established traditions and beliefs," the platform reads.

The state party plans to amend parts of its platform at this weekend's convention.

But Peaslee said he did not expect party leaders to change the section on homosexuality.

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