Boehner: GOP should support its openly gay candidates
December 5th, 2013
01:34 PM ET
9 years ago

Boehner: GOP should support its openly gay candidates

Updated 4:17 p.m. ET, 12/5/2013

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he believes the GOP should support the party's openly gay candidates.

"I do," he said when asked by CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash if he backs such House hopefuls.

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His answer comes as a GOP congressman from Virginia is pressuring a national Republican campaign group to withhold financial support for the party's gay candidates.

Rep. Randy Forbes has been trying to persuade the National Republican Congressional Committee not to back gay Republican House candidates. The story was first reported by Politico, and confirmed by CNN.

The NRCC is tasked with recruiting and helping to elect candidates, as well as incumbents, to the House every two years. For part of its financial substance, it collects millions of dollars in membership dues from incumbent lawmakers.

In next year's midterm elections, there are two openly gay GOP candidates who are well positioned to challenge Democratic incumbents. Richard Tisei, a former state lawmaker who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2012, is running again for a Massachusetts seat.

In San Diego, former city councilman Carl DeMaio is challenging Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. DeMaio ran for San Diego mayor last year, but lost to the now-disgraced Democrat Bob Filner, who resigned after facing a barrage of sexual harassment claims.

Both candidates would have to face primaries before being guaranteed a spot on the November general election ballot. But if they do win their respective primaries, they've been widely praised as potential pick-ups for the GOP in the House. Rep. Patrick McHenry, who serves as the NRCC's top recruiter, has touted both as top-tier candidates.

The NRCC backed Tisei last year with $1.6 million, so they have a history of supporting openly gay candidates.

"Our decisions on the Republican nominees we support will not be based on race, gender or sexual orientation but will be based on the strength of their candidacy and their ability to defeat Democrats," said Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the NRCC.

Forbes did not question the NRCC's support of Tisei in the last cycle. There's been speculation that Forbes is just now bringing the issue up because he's aiming for the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee–and that he also hasn't paid his NRCC dues yet.

Those members who chair committees, or are seeking to gain top posts on committees, are expected to contribute to the party's effort to re-elect Republicans and expand the number of GOP members in the House.

In a statement to CNN, Forbes said "the definition of marriage is an issue with widely divergent opinions passionately held by both sides."

"This is true of the Republican Party, as it is of society as a whole," he continued. "Our goal is to make certain every individual has the right to express his or her belief, while no one is compelled to support financially or otherwise, those who disagree with them. It is my belief that we are trying to strike this balance and we will continue to work to accomplish this goal."

Forbes has raised more than $136,000 for the NRCC this year and "will continue to offer his support" to expand the GOP's majority in the House, according to his spokesman.

The recent dust-up comes as more Republican lawmakers have toned down their opposition to–or have expressed outright support for–gay rights issues and same-sex marriage in the last couple of years.

Asked about Forbes opposition to NRCC money for gay candidates, McHenry–the GOP group's top recruiter–disagreed with his colleague.

"If you are a top notch candidate you deserve the support of our party infrastructure and what we need to do is get the best candidates to return Republican seats back to Republican hands," he said Thursday. "My agenda is to field Republican candidates who can beat Democrats, who can be good members of Congress and help solve the nation's problems."

While Boehner's comments made headlines Thursday, some were skeptical of his answer.

“Talk is cheap – it does little good to support gay candidates if you’re willing to fire gay Americans,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly gay Democratic Congressman from New York.

“If he really does believe in equality, Speaker Boehner should stop blocking the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act and bring it to the House floor for a vote," he continued. "So we can say once and for all that Americans should only be judged by the work that they do, not who they are or who they love.”

Filed under: 2014 • Gay rights • John Boehner
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Just to elaborate on my last post about this...."

    You know, the one that was actually even more informative but apparently confused the moderators so much that they deleted it.

    December 5, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC


    Look, i stand behind my fellow gay GOP members.well maby not so close.
    I think a true demonstation of your sincerity would be if you let them stand behind you. 🙂

    December 5, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Oh yes. "Pray for immigration", support the gay candidates, have "classes" on how to deal with women and
    women candidiates........................the pandering begins. "

    Indeed. And here's a couple big fat hints: (1) if you need classes to learn how to talk respectfully to women, you've got a huge freekin problem and (2) inventing new code speak is not "outreach."

    December 5, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Boehner: GOP should support its openly gay candidates"

    Even having to say this at all in the first place is a giant admission that the GOP/Teatrolls have a huge bigotry problem.

    December 5, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Parker

    And I thought the Tea Publicans were lying before! Support Gays? Perhaps when pigs fly, or perhaps when they actually work to move the country forward. What a Crock. The only thing these tea Thugs support is more fear mongering, hate, bigotry and big business. But, they sure do like spinning the truth to get votes. Yes, John the House has done it's job, NOTHING! Oh and by the way, the tea Publican refusal to support the president in any way is not because he is not white. If you believe that, I've some got some ocean front property in Arizona I'm looking to sell.

    December 5, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Ol' Yeller


    "Amazing what hypocrites democrat liberals are, dingy Harry Reid has exempted his staff from Obozocare."

    Uh, uh... let's talk about Reid. Let's talk about Obamacare. Let's change the subject to something negative about the Dems.
    Gonna have to go with the 'I'm a victim stratergy....'
    Change the subject didn't work.
    Plan B

    Always Plan B (unless it's Plan A)

    December 5, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Thomas

    I think the GOP is opening the door for Rick Perry to become President .
    Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia has been trying to persuade the National Republican Congressional Committee not to back gay Republican House candidates and to withhold financial support for the party's gay candidates.

    December 5, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    ""Buying insurance across state lines sounds good, but what if your doctor does not accept that insurance because it is out of the network? ""
    The notion that "buying insurance across state lines" is altruistic sounding nonsense. Buying insurance isn't like buying a loaf bread. "Look, ma. It's cheaper over there." The price of insurance has nothing to do with where it is sold, and everything to do with your own personal circumstances. Guess what, folks. If you're 55 years old in New York, then you're gonna be 55 years in Texas.

    Furthermore, when they say "buy insurance across state lines", it literally means crossing your state line and buying insurance in the other state. If you sit back in your home, and buy something across the internet, guess what? You're buying it in your state, and you pay whatever state and local taxes apply for your state.

    What "buying across state lines" really amounts to is maintaining the status quo.

    December 5, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    I wear mine up north (GOPerville through and through) ... fishing, dining, and walking. I can't begin to tell you the pleasure I get discussing why I have it and why I still wear it.
    That's my girl!!! I can just imagine!
    You were being force-fed Rick Warren and I had representatives from Freedom Works step right up to the pulpit after one Sunday mass and before the benediction. They stepped up I stepped out.
    I too wish we had met under different circumstances; and don't think that I haven't given some thought to how that wish can become a reality, oh btw!
    Meanwhile, we will continue to "shadow" each other on this site, and I will try to acquire that gift you have of making everyone feel welcomed, and their comments worthy of an open ear and mind.

    December 5, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Plan B"

    Indeed. "B" is for "Benghaaaaaaaaziiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!" Have no fear, they'll be returning to that nonsense soon enough.

    December 5, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Name

    Randy Forbes = gay. Typical way for a republican to come out.

    December 5, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Which corner of the tent will those 2 people be allowed to huddle in? If they are elected, will they be allowed to speak at the 2016 Convention as conclusive proof that the GOP has started to shed its homophobic image, or will they find themselves marginalized from the get go by their own party?

    December 5, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC


    "Just to elaborate on my last post about this...."

    You know, the one that was actually even more informative but apparently confused the moderators so much that they deleted it.
    Ever reply to a post with such authority that not only do they not post it, but they take down the initial post, too?

    December 5, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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