LGBT conservatism refers to a socio-political movement which embraces and promotes the ideology of conservatism within an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) context. Gay conservatives may also refer to lesbian or gay persons with conservative political views.
The number of openly LGBT advocates for conservative policies has only become increasingly apparent since the advent of the modern LGBT civil rights movement in the 1970s, while many more LGBT conservatives remain closeted in countries where other socially conservative politicians have led the most organized opposition to LGBT civil rights efforts. The situation and ideology for LGBT conservatives varies by each country's social and political LGBT rights climate.
Log Cabin Republicans
The first organized gay conservative political advocacy organization, the Log Cabin Republicans, was founded in 1977 to represent the minority of Republicans who opposed the Briggs Initiative. Since then, while retaining loyalty to most of the Republican party's platform regarding the economy and defense, the LCR organization has largely diverged from the socially conservative wing of the party due to the latter's open opposition to LGBT civil rights.
In 2009, GOProud was founded by Christopher R. Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia, two former Log Cabin Republican staffers who expressed dissatisfaction at that organization's generally centrist political positions.
The Republican Party’s 2012 platform supports a ban on same-sex marriage through a federal constitutional amendment, along with state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act. The GOP platform committee also rejected putting civil unions into the parties platform.
The LGBT conservative movement has been derided by decidedly liberal or progressive LGBT outlets for its association with the Republican Party because of the dominance of socially conservative constituents. The movement's leading constituents, during or after their terms in political office or other positions of influence, have been roundly criticized for having supported anti-LGBT initiatives prior to having come out of the closet; in their defense, many of these individuals admit to initial dishonesty or confusion regarding their own sexual orientations or gender identities, often referring to upbringing by, and potential reprisal from family members and colleagues as the two most outstanding reasons for not addressing their own sexuality.
- Openly LGBT Republican elected officials
- U.S. Representative Robert Bauman (MD–1) – served 1973–1981; sexuality revealed after soliciting sex from a 16 year old male prostitute in 1980 (first openly gay Republican member of Congress)
- U.S. Representative Jon Hinson (MS–4) – served 1979–1981; sexuality revealed after he was arrested February 5, 1981, and charged with sodomy for performing oral sex on a male employee of the Library of Congress in a restroom of the House of Representatives, due to which caused his resignation.
- U.S. Representative Steve Gunderson (WI–3) – served 1981–1997, outed 1994
- U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe (AZ–5) – served 1985–2007, came out 1996 (first Republican congressman to voluntarily come out and reelected)
- U.S. Representative Michael Huffington (CA–22) – served 1993–1995; came out as bisexual in 1998 (first bisexual Republican congressman)
- U.S. Representative Mark Foley (FL–16) – served 1995–2006, sexuality revealed by lawyer after resignation in 2006 due to sending explicit texts to a 16 year old United States House of Representatives Page
- Massachusetts House of Representatives Althea Garrison – served 1993–1995; first transgender person elected to a state legislature in the United States.
- Massachusetts State Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei – severed 2007–2011; came out 2010 as first Republican gay member state legislature
- Missouri House of Representatives Zachary Wyatt – served 2010-2013; came out in 2012
- Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Fleck - severed 2007–present; came out in 2012
- Ohio House of Representatives Tim Brown – served 2013–present; first openly gay elected Republican state legislator
The first LGBT Conservative group was called CGHE (Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality). That group was reconstituted at the Conservative party Conference in 1991 and was renamed TORCHE (the Tory Campaign for Homosexual Equality). This group was active until 2003. Some years later LGBTory was formed. LGBTory has an active membership organised often organised using its Facebook Groups and pages and attends Vigils and LGBT Pride events across the UK including Pride London, Pride Scotia, Leeds Pride, Manchester Pride, Doncaster Pride and Brighton Pride.
LGBTory works to promote LGBT Equality within the Conservative Party and generally across the UK, actively campaigning against the Gay Blood Ban and for marriage equality, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
The UK Independence Party has an officially recognised 'LGBTQ in UKIP' campaigning group which is active on the social media sites Twitter and Facebook. It has been represented at the party's annual conference.
No prominent national group currently exists to promote LGBT conservatism in Canada, although small groups exist locally in some Canadian cities or as discussion forums on the Internet.
Openly gay political figures such as Scott Brison, Lorne Mayencourt and Jaime Watt have been associated with conservative parties at the provincial or federal levels, Keith Norton and Heward Grafftey came out as gay after their careers as politicians had ended, and Richard Hatfield was officially outed as gay after his death. Most such figures, however, have been Red Tories, a moderate or even progressive faction within Canadian conservatism, rather than conventionally conservative "Blue" Tories; Brison, in fact, quit the Progressive Conservatives to join the Liberals after the PCs merged with the more conventionally right-wing Canadian Alliance to form the current Conservative Party.
Netherlands and the Low countries
Much of the Dutch right wing (including figures such as Geert Wilders) has evolved to include LGBT rights platforms which do not conflict with the current status quo but also embrace an increased perturbation to supposed threats from minority religions (especially Islam) which, in their view, threaten to upend the vestiges of the liberalism and tolerance which has been associated with the Dutch social climate.
The Open Moderates is the LGBT-organisation of the Moderate Party in Sweden. The Open Moderates is an organization for everyone that shares the values of the Moderate Party and who believe that LGBT-issues are important political issues to work with from a centre-right perspective. The origin of the Open Moderates is the Stockholm-based club “Gay Moderates” that was formed already in the late 1970s. That club had mostly social activities and it was active upon until the mid-1990s. A new generation took over and reorganized the Gay Moderates as a new more political network to lobby the Moderate Party. In 2003 the name was changed to the current Open Moderates to signal that the organisation is open to everyone regardless of sexual orientation that want to work with LGBT political issues.
Some organizations include:
- GayLib — linked to Union for a Popular Movement (France)
- GOProud — linked to the Republican Party (United States)
- Kasary - National Rainbow Coalition — linked to the National Coalition Party (Finland)
- LGBTory — linked to the Conservative Party (United Kingdom)
- LGBTQ* in UKIP — linked to the UK Independence Party (United Kingdom)
- Log Cabin Republicans — linked to the Republican Party (United States)
- LSU - Lesbians and Gays in the Union — linked to the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union in Bavaria (Germany)
- Open Moderates — linked to the Moderate Party (Sweden)
- "2012 Republican Platform: Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage". United States Republican Party. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "GOP platform committee rejects civil unions". Politico. 2012-08-21. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- Roberts, Scott (25 September 2012). "UKIP approves internal LGBT campaign group". PinkNews. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- "Gay politicians come out of the closet and into the cabinet". The Globe and Mail, November 13, 2009.