Hagerty: LGBTQ Dems hail inclusion

Our nation is approaching the 55th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which heralded the movement for gay rights, marked today by the celebration of Pride Month. The LGBTQ community in Massachusetts has realized tremendous advancements in acceptance, along with important legal protections. At the same time, we have more work to do to achieve acceptance for the political affiliation of members of the LGBTQ community.

As an openly gay Republican, I see firsthand that one’s conservative political affiliation too often remains a taboo topic. To me, Republicanism is squarely about personal liberty and freedom from government control. These are messages that should also resonate with others in the LGBTQ community.

The reality is that the rhetoric of the Democratic Party too often strays from the tolerance that party and progressive activists purport to represent. I wish I had a nickel for every time I was personally marginalized by Democrats in LGBTQ community circles for being an openly gay Republican. This is why many people within the LGBTQ community choose to keep their conservative leanings quiet. I whole-heartedly believe in marriage equality and fairness under the law for all Americans. I also believe that the government shouldn’t tax people to the point where achieving upward mobility is almost impossible. Most Massachusetts Republicans agree with both of these sentiments.

I am proud to share that my experience as an openly gay man within the Massachusetts Republican Party (MassGOP) has been nothing short of complete acceptance and celebration. I was elected to the Massachusetts Republican State Committee in March, and I am a former office holder on the Abington Board of Selectmen and Board of Health.  I have seen first-hand that the MassGOP is a “big tent” party as I was welcomed by even the hardline social conservatives, who shook my hand, and offered their genuine desire to work with me. This might come as a surprise to some, but for those involved in Massachusetts Republican politics, it’s expected. Republicans are a freedom-loving people and genuinely seek diversity in their ranks. I credit, too, the leadership of Chair Amy Carnevale, who is offering a vision of growth for the MassGOP.

As Republicans, we view people as individuals and judge them by their character, not by their tribe, skin color, or sexual orientations. President Lincoln envisioned a party united in the goal of operating a government built on limited government, individual liberty, personal freedom and allowing folks to achieve their version of the American Dream. For us, this means less government interference, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and giving people the freedom to build their own success.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Massachusetts in 1974 and nationwide in 2003. Massachusetts also took the pioneering step of becoming the first state to recognize gay marriage. The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibited openly gay Americans from serving in the military and was implemented during the Clinton Administration, was repealed in 2011 through bipartisan efforts, including the involvement of former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown.

In 2020, Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Supreme Court appointee of President Trump, authored the majority opinion ruling that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ individuals from discrimination. That same year marked another milestone as Richard Grenell became America’s first openly gay Presidential Cabinet official, serving as Acting Director of National Intelligence in the Trump Administration. In 2022, the bipartisan passage of the “Respect for Marriage Act” affirmed marriage equality across the nation, echoing the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy. These advancements underscore how far we’ve come as a nation, especially when compared to over 64 countries worldwide that still criminalize LGBTQ individuals for merely existing. As LGBTQ Americans, we are fortunate to live in a country that acknowledges our humanity.

As a Massachusetts Republican State Committeeman and historically, as the committee’s first elected openly gay Committeeman, I want to wish all members of the LGBTQ community a Happy Pride. I challenge voters in Massachusetts to block out theatrics and hyper-partisan rhetoric on the national stage, and think about the Massachusetts Republicans you know: your friends; your families. The Republicans I know are loving, empathetic, and accepting with few exceptions. I encourage all to consider how the MassGOP frames its issues. You might find that our views align more than you think.

If you believe your sexual orientation shouldn’t affect your job prospects, you might be a Republican. If you think the government shouldn’t interfere in your personal life, you might be a Republican. If you expect to keep more of the money you earn, you might be a Republican. If you expect the government to ensure the public safety of your community, you might be a Republican. If you judge people by their character rather than their race, gender, or sexual orientation, you likely are a Republican and we aim to welcome you with open arms.

Alex Hagerty is Massachusetts Republican State Committeeman, Norfolk & Plymouth District



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