Kudos to David Catania, a DC council member who, as an openly gay man and a Republican always seemed to be a living oxymoron. But after Bush announced his support for an anti-gay constitutional amendment, Catania had reached his breaking point. He announced his intention to fight the reelection of Bush, even though he had already raised over $70,000 toward that goal.
Yesterday, he left the Republican party in DC because they refused to certify him as a delegate to the nominating convention.
Catania, a lifelong member of the GOP and openly gay political activist, raised more than $50,000 for the Bush campaign in the past year but became a vocal critic after Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Carol Schwartz, the other Republican on the 13-member council, resigned as a delegate to the convention in protest of Catania’s banishment.
Catania, in an interview, said he would have fulfilled his obligation and voted for Bush at the Republican National Convention in New York, “but I have no intention of supporting him in the general election.”
“I have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Are you at home behind your eyes supporting a person who would write discrimination into the Constitution?’ There is simply no way I could rationalize that,” Catania said.
… Catania, 36, said he raised $70,000 to $80,000 for Bush’s reelection, earning him membership in the exclusive club of big-time fundraisers for the president. Catania was designated a “Maverick” — people younger than 40 who raise at least $50,000. But he said he has asked the campaign to remove his name from the list.
Terry Holt, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, declined to comment on the dispute between Catania and the D.C. GOP and would not respond to Catania’s criticism of the president. He said most voters will support Bush on such issues as “strong national security and a vibrant, prosperous economy,” suggesting that “values issues” would not play a big role in voters’ decisions. Asked about voters for whom the gay marriage issue is important, Holt said, “We would hope to win their support on the broad range of issues that unite all Republicans.”
Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP activists, called Catania’s break with the party “a great loss . . . and what it is for us is another very harsh reminder of the fact that the effort to amend the United States Constitution is causing a culture war within the GOP.”
He said other party activists are “agonizing over a thoughtful way to handle being delegates.”
… Catania said yesterday he cannot support Bush any longer. “In 2000, I supported a person who said, ‘I am a compassionate conservative and a uniter, not a divider,’ ” he said. “Now he’s decided, ‘I’m not a uniter.’ He picked an issue that is driving a wedge within the American family and is using it for crass political purposes. You don’t hear much anymore about compassion in the White House.”
I have always had a problem with gay people who identify themselves as Republicans. That party, despite it’s marketing slogans of inclusion, has never welcomed diversity. Now that they have cemented power for themselves to such a level, they are removing that mask and more and more people are realizing who they really are. The Republican party claims to stand for smaller government (just small enough so that it fits in your bedroom), lower taxes (on the rich, high deficits for everyone else)… bull. Why do people believe them when they make these claims?
I can only hope that their downfall is beginning, evidenced by the sheer number of party members who are questioning their leaders and leaving the party.