Marco Rubio may have gained backing from the GOP’s biggest pro-same-sex marriage donor, but gay Republicans are increasingly getting behind a different – and surprising – candidate.
According to Reuters, Donald Trump has been drawing accolades from the small, but vocal, number of Republicans who would like to see the party liberalize on marriage and other related social issues:
Trump has advocated for banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. He criticized a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court found, earlier this year, that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. He is also one of only two Republican candidates — along with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — that the Human Rights Campaign deems to have even a “mixed” record on gay rights
“He is one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency,” said Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, an advocacy group for LGBT Republicans. Trump would do no harm on same-sex marriage, Angelo said, and has a “stand-out position” on non-discrimination legislation.
While this might seem a curious development at first glance, those following the race closely should not be overly surprised. As has been pointed out here previously, liberal Republicans are a group Trump has consistently polled well with, and he has generally avoided taking strong or substantive positions on social issues (he received an ‘F’ on The Pulse 2016’s Marriage Ruling Report Card).
Furthermore, Reuters notes that Trump’s hardline positions on other issues, such as immigration, which would normally be considered a liability among liberal constituencies, may even be helping him in the eyes of some socially liberal Republicans:
Pax Hart, a 45-year-old software engineer in New York, was a Rand Paul supporter and low-dollar donor until he saw video of Trump’s immigration speech in Phoenix, Arizona, this summer. Where some voters see xenophobia in Trump’s promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and his proposal to put a moratorium on Muslims traveling to the United States, Hart, who is gay, says he sees policies that would prevent dilution of LGBT rights in the country.
“We are importing people who are the absolute most hostile to gays and lesbians,” Hart said of discrimination against LGBT citizens in some Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. “We’re bringing in people who are indoctrinated that gays [should be] exterminated.”
Yet another potentially strange twist to what has become one of the most remarkable presidential races in recent memory.
Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.