Gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans
honored Senator John Cornyn a day after the Texas senator voted
against repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans
gay troops from serving openly.
Cornyn did not appear in person to
accept the group's Barry Goldwater Award at Wednesday night's annual
event held at the National Republican Club on Capitol Hill.
Five additional House Republicans were
honored last night by the group: Representatives Pete Sessions of
Texas, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Anh “Joseph” Cao of
Louisiana, Judy Biggert of Illinois and Charles Djou of Hawaii.
Cornyn, the chairman of the National
Republican Senatorial Committee, originally agreed to accept his
award in person, he even defended his decision after social
conservatives criticized the move.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family
Research Council, warned that his presence would undermine
“[I]t is deeply troubling to me that
you would lend your credibility to this organization,” Perkins
said in a letter addressed to Cornyn.
Perkins noted that the Log Cabin
Republicans are behind a court challenge to the military policy. The
group convinced U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips to declare the
Perkins decried the ruling as a
“blatant example of judicial activism.”
“I … want to express my profound
disappointment in the fact that you are assisting the very
organization that sought this decision from Judge Phillips,” he
“How can a group that professes
allegiance to the GOP at the same time be committed to using judicial
activism to advance its radical social policies even at the risk of
undermining the U.S. military and, as a result, national security?”
Cornyn defended his decision, saying it
was important to engage with “adults with whom we may disagree.”
And disagree he does. Cornyn supports
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and he does not believe the government
should recognize the unions of gay and lesbian couples. The Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, gave
Cornyn a zero for his support of gay rights. Sessions, another
no-show, has also earned a zero from the group.
Others being honored – Biggert, Djou,
Ros-Lehtinen and Cao – support repeal of “Don't Ask.”
At the dinner, Ros-Lehtinen, a
Cuban-American and an avid gay rights supporter, told the crowd, “To
quote a phrase that's been badly misused, 'Si se puede' (Yes we
can),” in reference to repeal of the gay ban.