Yesterday, we here at Think Progress highlighted a new “It Gets Better” video from members of the New Jersey congressional delegation, which was, in fact, the first time any elected Republicans had taken part in the anti-bullying campaign. We commended Reps. Leonard Lance, Jon Runyan, and Frank LoBiondo for joining the chorus affirming LGBT youth, but we also pointed out that all three have opposed LGBT equality in the past and suggested that they turn their words into action to end stigma against LGBT people. The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) have attacked us for this suggestion, alleging that we are trying to “score political points by taking potshots at Republicans”:
R. CLARKE COOPER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: It is deeply frustrating to see liberal activists attacking Republican Members of Congress for stepping forward to support gay youth. Like the celebrities, sports teams and other public figures who have participated in the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign, these Republican leaders have a powerful voice, and the New Jersey delegation’s video sends the critical message that regardless of our political affiliation, harassment in our schools is a serious problem. The Center for American Progress, which until recently was led by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, has led the attacks on Representatives Lance, LoBiondo, and Runyan as antigay, despite Lance and LoBiondo’s leadership in supporting the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. It seems as though liberals care more about the chance to score political points by taking potshots at Republicans than they care about capitalizing on a chance to really make things better for our youth.
The bullying young people are facing is directly influenced by the stigma perpetuated by lawmakers who cast their votes in ways that deny the LGBT community equality in society. By trying to deprive gays and lesbians of marrying who they love and not supporting any anti-bullying legislation, all three of the Republicans in this video have demonstrated that they want to maintain that second-class status and the consequences that come with it. Reps. Lance and LoBiondo’s support for ENDA should be applauded, but not misconstrued as representative of their broader voting record on LGBT issues. If all three Republicans have truly turned over a new leaf, we hope that they will demonstrate this soon by coming out for full LGBT equality and cosponsoring bills accordingly.