GOP Congressman Doesn’t Want The Campaign Arm Backing Any Gay Candidates

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CHARLES DHARAPAK
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CHARLES DHARAPAK

A Republican congressman will not pay his dues.

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) told Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) during a closed-door House Financial Services meeting last week that he refused to pay the Republicans’ campaign arm because it has a history of recruiting and supporting openly gay candidates, according to a report in Politico.

Such an accusation reportedly made other Republicans angry, and they pointed out the National Republican Campaign Committee doesn’t get involved in primaries or have a litmus test on candidates’ sexual orientation. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who recruited candidates for Republicans in 2014, said openly gay candidate Richard Tisei was “equally homosexual” when Garrett directly donated directly to the Tisei’s Massachusetts congressional campaign in 2012. Politico confirmed the account with multiple sources.

Garrett, elected in 2002, has been notably radical on a number of fronts, opposing both the Voting Rights Act and emergency funding for Hurricane Sandy that his state desperately needed. He also introduced a bill recently to allow businesses to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.

The anecdote relays many tensions going on in the Republican Party. It not only reveals that Republican leadership attempting to crack down on the “hell no” members, but also shows a fissure among the GOP about just how far to take its anti-LGBT stance. Even while leadership has been trying to tamp down members like Garrett, the Liberty Caucus is increasingly calling the shots on policy decisions.

Republicans made no secret of the fact that they weren’t pleased with the recent Supreme Court decision to recognize same-sex marriage in every state. But it’s becoming an increasingly sticky issue, with a majority of young Republicans saying they favor legal same-sex marriage.

Still, Republicans continue to propose anti-LGBT policies, like calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman and killing an amendment to a major education bill this week designed to reduce LGBT bullying in schools.