Fred Karger, the openly gay GOP presidential candidate, says he doubts he'll be allowed to participate in an upcoming Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, but will continue to fight.

The 61-year-old Karger announced he's running for president as a Republican on March 23.

“Today is a very significant day for my community and me,” Karger said in announcing his candidacy. “I have just submitted my papers to the Federal Election Commission, making me the first candidate to file for the 2012 Republican nomination for President.

In 2008, Karger founded Californians Against Hate, a group that led boycotts against major donors to Proposition 8, California's voter-approved gay marriage ban.

During his exploratory phase, Karger stumped in early caucus states New Hampshire and Iowa, and released ads in those states.

The GOP – and to an extent the mainstream media – has so far largely ignored Karger's candidacy. Party leaders in Iowa have proved hostile to the idea of an openly gay candidate.

And an invitation to participate in a May 5 presidential debate in South Carolina also appears to be biased against Karger.

While Karger acknowledges that he has not received the 1 percent national polling average requirement set by the South Carolina GOP, he points out that neither has former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, who is set to participate in the Fox News-televised debate.

The chances of getting into the debate are “slim,” Karger told On Top Magazine in an email, then added, “but I had a very good meeting with Joel Sawyer, executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party on Thursday.”

The political adviser-turned-activist-turned-candidate has launched, a website that urges South Carolina GOP leaders to let him participate in the debate.