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Despite ‘inclusive’ governor, official NHGOP acceptance of gay rights slow to arrive

  • The N.H. Gay Men's Chorus received a commendation from Gov. Chris Sununu in March prior to the start of the group's 20th anniversary spring concert series. Courtesy

For the Monitor
Published: 5/17/2018 6:57:14 PM

Two of the leaders of a New Hampshire organization that represents LGBT Republicans say they’re disappointed and frustrated that the state GOP shot down a proposal to end their platform’s long standing recognition of “traditional families” and marriage “between one man and one woman.”

“As a gay, married, conservative man, am I disappointed there was no discussion on the party’s platform last week? Absolutely,” Log Cabin Republican New Hampshire chapter co-chairman Doug Palardy said.

Matt Mayberry, a New Hampshire Log Cabin Republican board member, was similarly dismayed.

“I wish we had the opportunity to have the discussion, but that didn’t happen,” Mayberry said.

“There are times, sure, that we all get frustrated. Sometimes change doesn’t come fast enough. But change does come, has come, and will continue to come,” he added.

Yet neither Palardy nor Mayberry went so far as criticizing Gov. Chris Sununu, who will be a featured speaker Friday night at the Log Cabin Republican Founders Gala in Portsmouth.

“I really don’t get involved in platform issues” Sununu said to reporters Wednesday as he distanced himself from the move by the state party to refuse to consider adding marriage equality to the NHGOP platform.

After Sununu’s election as governor in November 2016, he backed former state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, one of his opponents in that year’s GOP gubernatorial primary, to lead the state party going forward. Forrester replaced outgoing chair Jennifer Horn, who on Saturday attempted to change the party platform’s language from “traditional” to “nurturing” families and to drop the “one-man-one-woman” plank.

Horn, who’s a co-chairman of the state Log Cabin Republicans, and her husband, Bill, were disqualified as delegates at the convention, based on their recent move from one ward to another in Nashua. After their disqualification, her proposals were never considered.

“Jeanie Forrester is the chairman of the NHGOP, last time I checked,” Sununu said when asked by the Monitor why as the top Republican in the state, he didn’t get involved.

Sununu said there’s room for disagreement within the party.

“Can you pick apart each party’s platform? Of course you could on individual issues, but we’ll leave it up to those delegates to determine where that platform should go,” the governor said.

“This is a party with a big tent,” Sununu said. “Are we going to agree on every issue within the platform? Not necessarily, but that’s okay. At the end of the day we all galvanize together as Republicans.”

Palardy said he doesn’t think the actions by delegates at last weekend’s convention are representative of how Granite State Republicans feel about the issue of marriage equality.

“Do I believe that action represents Granite State Republicans as a whole? Not at all. If you were to poll all registered New Hampshire Republicans, I think you would find that the vast majority would favor an immediate platform update,” he added.

Mayberry, a former state party vice-chair when Horn chaired the NHGOP, agreed.

“I’ve been a gay Republican since I was 16 years old and in almost 40 years of being a Republican who is gay, I’ve seen huge movements,” Mayberry said.

He shared how he’s “grown within the party and within my community and the strides that we’ve made every day shows that if you stay in, you continue to communicate, you continue to build bridges, you continue to break stereotypes and that’s how we move a party and a movement forward.”

Palardy touted how the state chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans has thrived since forming just over a year ago.

And he praised Sununu.

“This is the second year in a row that Governor Sununu will be attending our signature event without hesitation or reservations. The governor has proven he is an inclusive leader, who can work across the aisle, and we are confident he will soon be signing several pieces of important legislation that support LGBT rights and equality,” he said.

The legislation Palardy referenced is a transgender rights bill and a measure prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy for gay minors. Sununu has voiced support for both bills.

Gregory Angelo, the president of the 40-year-old national Log Cabin Republicans organization, will also attend Friday’s event.

“What transpired at the New Hampshire GOP convention last week, what transpired at the Republican National Convention and the drafting of their platform in 2016, I see as mere bumps in the road,” Angelo said.

Last year, Republican National Committee chairwoman Rona Romney McDaniel wrote a letter formally recognizing the contributions of Log Cabin Republicans.

“Her letter was followed shortly thereafter by a letter from President Donald Trump congratulating Log Cabin Republicans on our 40th anniversary, he said. “Both of those mark historic firsts.”


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