One of several gay members of the D.C. Republican Committee was scheduled to host an “intimate lunch” on Thursday at his Dupont Circle area home for Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, which was to double as a fundraiser for the DCRC.
Jose Cunningham, chief marketing and business development officer for the D.C.-based law firm Crowell & Moring, offered his home as the place where the fundraising event was to be held, according to DCRC spokesperson Paul Craney.
The event was being billed as an “intimate” gathering with RNC Chair Priebus because it was limited to just 15 people who were asked to contribute $500 each to help finance the activities of the DCRC, which serves as the governing body of the D.C. Republican Party.
Robert Kabel, a gay Republican activist and former board chair for the national group Log Cabin Republicans, serves as the elected chair of the DCRC. The committee has been supportive of LGBT rights issues for many years, placing it at odds with the national Republican Party.
Kabel has lobbied Republican members of Congress in support of D.C.’s same-sex marriage law.
The platform of the national party, as adopted at the 2008 Republican National Convention, opposes nearly all LGBT rights initiatives, including the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Kabel said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, was expected to attend Thursday’s luncheon with Priebus. He said he wasn’t sure whether Cooper or Cunningham would bring up LGBT-related issues with Priebus, including whether the national party might adopt a less hostile platform on gay issues at next year’s Republican convention.
“He has been the most welcoming chairman for LGBT Republicans that the RNC has ever had,” said Kabel, who noted that he meets regularly with Priebus in his role as head of the D.C. GOP.