Tom Ridge, the former Homeland Security Secretary and Republican governor from Pennsylvania, called on the GOP to embrace diversity and accept “the gay community.” Speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Ridge said that most Americans have adopted a “live and let live” attitude towards gay people and called on his party to do the same:
“I think, as a party, we sometimes come across as very judgmental and very self-righteous, and that doesn’t play well to a lot of people,” he said. “Not just on political grounds, but in terms of the culture. We accept diversity in many different ways, and we need to be more clear about that and careful to express that.”
In particular, Ridge urged a more expansive approach to what he termed “the gay community,” noting that increased familiarity with gay people tends to lead to less judgmental politics. “I think that’s the right way to be,” he said. “Younger Americans on both sides of the aisle are saying, ‘Live and let live.’ ” Asked about same-sex marriage, Ridge said he had no particular point of view. “It’s one of those situations where I’d leave it up to the state.”
Ridge — who is also pro-choice — joins a long list of Republicans who have urged for greater acceptance of LGBT people including, Vice President Dick Cheney and former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. Ridge has endorsed Mitt Romney for president.