July 28, 2011 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. gay Republican hosts luncheon with RNC chair

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.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

5 Comments
  • It’s great that the DC GOP is gay friendly, but it has held Republicans to an awfully low bar on the issue. Back in 2004, it notoriously caved to the national party in pulling then-Republican Councilmember David Catania’s credentials as a delegate to the national convention for his criticism of President Bush, even though he had pledged to vote for him; that move drove David from the party. On March 31 of this year, right-wing nutcase Rep. Allen West (R-FL) was a keynoter at the DC GOP’s Lincoln Douglass dinner, winning a standing ovation for private school vouchers which most Washingtonians oppose but which local Republicans are apparently eager to impose on them anyway. (See http://tinyurl.com/3qq8gdx – and in case you think that’s not a gay-related issue, the religious schools that get much of the voucher money are free to discriminate against gay teachers and students, unlike D.C. Public Schools. But set aside gay-specific concerns for a moment; we cannot even get our local Republican Party leaders to respect self-determination by the District when it goes against their policy preferences.)

    What possible difference is made to the treatment of gay citizens by the national Republican Party on account of some friendly private words by Reince Priebus at a $500-a-head fundraiser? Given the corruption scandals plaguing our city, I would love to see a more competitive local Republican Party; But they appear more interested in pandering to the leaders of the national party than building support among the actual local electorate, notwithstanding Rep. West’s promotion of black involvement in the party. So what do they get for it? More social invitations and a welcoming smile at the Republican Club? This is pathetic.

  • Gay Republicans are suckers!

    If you’re a gay republican you’re an idiot. Of the many choices in todays world you might make, that has to be the most ignorant of them all. That’s as bad as a black man representing the GOP (Michael Steele). If you think you’re accepted by the conservatives you’d better think again. Oh they’ll gladly take your money but if you think they don’t call you fag behind your back you better think again. Wake up and smell the coffee. You’re working with and financially supporting your enemies that want you dead, literally. So change your beliefs before you wake up in ex-gay therapy only to find that it doesn’t work either. See a therapist because you have oppositional defiance disorder.

  • Uncle Tom’s (Log) Cabin.

  • Hi, I’m a gay Romney supporter and wanting to get some stickers and material to hand out. Where is the best place to get the above. Thank you

  • Mr. Cunningham’s live-in partner Greg Nelson was recently arrested, tried and convicted of soliciting and trafficking minors across state lines for sex.

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