By Jordy Yager - 08/29/12 05:51 PM EDT
The famous Republican tax guru moved easily through one of the hottest gay nightclubs as hundreds took to the dance floor in celebration of this year’s Homocon, the conservative gay movement’s party during the Republican National Convention.
Norquist has placed himself in an interesting position, attempting to use his fiscal conservative clout to shine light on the large number of gay conservatives who feel ostracized by factions of the party that staunchly oppose issues like gay marriage.
The obvious tensions between the socially conservative members of the GOP and the gay conservative movement were evident on the balmy night, however, as protesters launched a barrage of comments at party-goers waiting on Ybor City’s 7th Avenue to get into the two-story club.
But Norquist charges that there doesn’t have to be friction between the two ideologies. Instead, they can find common ground on issues like the economy and healthcare.
“There’s not any necessary awkwardness,” Norquist told The Hill, referring to possible riffs between socially conservative Republicans and the gay conservative movement.
“The modern Republican Party is a party that believes in liberty, and a free and open society, and a lot of people come to that from different directions.”
As the well-known president of Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist has garnered the signature of nearly every Republican in Congress on a pledge in which they promise to oppose any tax hikes.
The pledge has given Norquist a tremendous amount of power and influence, and gay conservatives are happy to have his support.
“The importance of this election is bringing together a broad base coalition of folks that understand that the American people have one issue on their minds, and that’s jobs and the economy,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, one of the founders of GOProud, which hosted Homocon.
“And we know that conservatives offer the best solution, and that the Romney/Ryan ticket is the best choice for America.”
LaSalvia stressed that much of the conservative gay community identifies as independents and not Republicans, largely because of the non-acceptance from the socially conservative portions of the party. But to move beyond those division, he said, was key.
“Republican candidates can do a better job,” he said. “So many of them will say they’re not for gay marriage and then change the subject, rather than talking about what they’re for and how conservative politics are good for everybody.”
LaSilvia said he’d like to see more prominent Republicans talk about issues that directly affect gay people, such as hate crimes and how Second Amendment rights and gun ownership are important to gay people for self defense. He also mentioned the Social Security inheritance policy so that if one person in a gay couple dies, their surviving partner can collect the benefits.