Gay GOP Group Log Cabin Announces Relaunch
Log Cabin Republicans recently announced a relaunch of their organization, but it remains to be seen how much influence the predominately gay GOP group will have within the national Republican Party.
On the national level, a gay Republican is believed to be working on various outreach issues for the Republican National Committee, but no one would confirm if the man is reaching out to LGBT voters.
For Log Cabin, Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo unveiled a strategic vision for this year and beyond at the group’s meetings last month in Washington, D.C. About 100 people attended.
Angelo said Log Cabin will "fight within the GOP for equality and would place a greater focus on empowering local chapters."
Fred Schein, 72, is president of the Log Cabin San Francisco chapter. He said the relaunch was necessary because there was a "whole new national board of directors and a new national executive director."
The local Log Cabin chapter has 38 paid members, Schein said, adding that membership includes straight allies. He estimated 20 percent of their members were "non-LGBT."
At present Log Cabin chapters in California are in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, according to Schein.
"With the relaunch we hope to establish more chapters," said the longtime Republican activist.
Chris Bowman, a longtime member of the San Francisco chapter and a political consultant, said the relaunch was needed because Log Cabin Republicans were "for a long time" considered as an "inside the Beltway" organization.
"All the focus was at the national level at the expense of chapters," Bowman said. Chapters demanded "more attention," he said.
One of Schein’s new goals for the chapter is to encourage and support club members to run for office. He mentioned that Jason Clark, a vice president of the chapter, ran for the California Assembly against longtime gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D) last year. Clark also is vice chair of the San Francisco Republican Party.
Another goal is for local members to become more involved with GOPers in Marin County and with the California Republican Central Committee, Schein said.
"We also want to increase our membership among the conservative LGBT community in San Francisco," he said. He could not estimate how large that community was.
Schein said San Francisco Log Cabin members were "disappointed" when the RNC held spring meetings in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and voted to continue its opposition to same-sex marriage.
"It was an unnecessary action," he said.
On marriage equality, Schein said California Republicans are largely supportive, "but we have problems." He said he hoped the GOP will come around and support marriage equality.
Harmeet Dhillon, a local business attorney and California Republican Party vice chair, recently addressed Schein’s group. According to him, she spoke on "the current status of the California Republican Party." She is the second highest ranking Republican in California, Schein said.
When the Bay Area Reporter asked Dhillon if it was accurate to describe her as an LGBT ally, she replied via email, "I am not a big fan of labels." She added: "I think it speaks for itself that my executive committee, who I helped recruit, has two openly gay members."