GOProud and Gay Republicans: Bruce Carroll Wants to Change the Notion that There Are No Gay Conservatives
Bruce Carroll has had quite the successful career, especially for someone who is still in his mid 40's. Carroll was elected as the youngest borough councilman in the state of Pennsylvania at age 21 back in 1992. Since then, it's only been an upward spiral. After working for 15 years in government relations in the biotech industury and health care policy, he went on to become an incredibly successful blogger, with over 100,000 people visiting his site each month.
Today, he is the president and Founder of Patriot Consulting, an agency that was created to help small businesses and organizations with growing concerns about the impact of government regulations on their day-to-day operations.
There is however, a twist. Carroll is currently on the board of directors for GOProud, which today is the one of the leading advocacy groups for gay and straight conservatives in America. When coupled with his work at his blog, GayPatriot, Carroll has had an incredible impact when it comes to breaking down the stereotypes of what it means to be gay in America.
For many millennials, the concept of a gay, conservative activist probably sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie. Thankfully for those individuals and others, I was lucky enough to get a few minutes to ask Carroll some questions that I feel will shed some light on what it means to be a gay conservative in America:
Jesse Merkel: First off, let me say thanks again for being able to take a little time with me. I want to ask you how you came to get involved with GOProud, and for those that may not be aware, could you tell us exactly what the organization is all about?
Bruce Carroll: GOProud was formed in 2009 as a national gay conservative organization. Our mission states: "GOProud is an organization of gay and straight Americans seeking to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government and a respect for individual rights. We work on the federal level to build strong coalitions of conservative and libertarian activists, organizations and policy makers to advance our shared values and beliefs."
I was one of the founding members of GOProud. I became involved due to my outspoken criticism of the Log Cabin Republicans since my blog was created in September 2004. Based on my personal experience and research, Log Cabin has abandoned its principles and had become another left-wing, radical gay political tool. Much of their funding still comes from Tim Gill's Gill Foundation —
JM: That'd be enough to drive me away! For you personally, what is the best part about working with GOProud?
BC: The combination of my creating the GayPatriot blog and my work with GOProud has allowed me to meet the amazing people that make up the fabric of the American conservative movement. For me, the friends I've made and the people I've met are the best part of what I've been doing!
JM: What kind of criticism and adversity have you faced personally being both gay and conservative.
BC: Since I "came out" at age 25 (I'm now 44), I've constantly been told that the Republican Party wants to kill me, imprison me, strip me of rights and kill me. Oh, I said that last one already. Seriously, this vitriol that I've heard from left-leaning gays is in direct contrast to my personal experience in Republican politics since 1983. Sure, there are close-minded people — but that is not an exclusively conservative domain. My role as "GayPatriot" has been to try to bridge the gap between conservatives and gays who are pro-American and support returning our nation to its core constitutional principles.
JM: It seems that people, especially millennials, have this mindset that it’s impossible to be both gay and conservative. Whenever they see someone who is gay and conservative, or African American and conservative, those individuals seem to be met with some rather harsh criticism. Why do you think that is?
BC: It think it is part ignorance, part projection. I have never been called a "faggot" either directly or indirectly by ANY conservative. But that is the first word that comes out of the left-leaning gay political types. Plus "kapo," "quisling," or "Jew working for Nazis." I've heard it all from the liberals. I just laugh and return fire with facts about how the Democratic Party has taken gays for granted for their campaign money. After all, Barack Obama was an "anti-gay bigot" based on his views of marriage —
JM: When was the moment when you said, "oh hey, I'm a conservative?"
BC: Probably when Ronald Reagan won in 1980. I was 12 that year and starting to understand the world and politics more than when I was a kid. I saw Reagan as emblematic of what America was all about. He was tough, principled and never apologized for our nation. When Reagan passed away in 2004, I stood in line for hours at the U.S. Capitol so I could pay my respects to him as he lay in state. A reporter asked me that day why I was there. "Simple," I said, "for me, Ronald Reagan will always be MY president."
JM: People automatically assume that if you're a Republican and a conservative, you're anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-minority. How do you think the GOP should go about combating that stereotype?
BC: I'm conflicted on this question. A brand new Gallup survey within the last 30 days showed that less than 4% of Americans self-identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered (LGBT). So on the one hand, I believe in freedom and liberty for all. But on the other hand, how is it that we have become held hostage as a nation by the tyranny of the minority interest groups? It astounds me.
JM: The best way the GOP should combat this idea is to do what President Obama promised and has not done — unify the nation as AMERICANS. Those radical, left-wing gays will never be happy, but over 50% of LGBT Americans say they are moderate-to-conservative. The GOP should just focus on communication and policies that benefit all Americans, and that will help gays and lesbians as well.
I don't need a president tapping me on the head to give me self-esteem.
JM: What would you say to young gay millennials who are coming up? How would you like to let them know that maybe the Republican Party is something they should take a look at?
BC: I would challenge them to read everything. Not just the gay press (which is radically left-wing) or the New York Times. But open themselves up to conservative outlets like the National Review — which has expressed a variety of opinions on gay marriage. Also, I'd encourage gay millenials to understand the "First Principles" of our Founding Fathers. If you believe in the foundational ideals of America, it is hard to conclude that the Democratic Party has our nation's best interests in mind anymore.
JM: Some rather famous Republicans have endorsed gay marriage, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney. Do you believe the GOP will eventually come around to fully supporting gay marriage?
BC: Probably. But I also know a lot of gay conservatives and libertarians that don't want the Federal Government in the business of marriage AT ALL. My position has been that I oppose court-forced same-sex marriage, I think civil unions are the best governmental policy, but I also think that the states should respect voters' views on the topic and abide by those votes until society is ready to change.
JM: Did you see President Obama's "evolution" on gay marriage a little too convenient?
BC: Completely. It actually is disturbing that anyone believes his "evolution" was anything more than a crass attempt to save his fundraising efforts (many of his top bundlers are gay) which were tanking at the time of his sudden "enlightenment" on gay marriage.
JM: What do you personally believe are the greatest challenges facing voters 30 and under in the country today?
BC: Returning our nation to a sustained period of economic growth. That helps with increased employment and increase in revenues to government. At the same time, if we don't seriously address entitlement spending and other government spending (at all levels of government), our nation is going to face an even more serious economic collapse than we have lived through since 2008. We cannot afford to spend our way out of these issues. We need a legislative and regulatory environment geared toward opening up the throttles of free enterprise in the United States.
JM: Finally, I assume you're supporting Mitt Romney for president? What kind of improvements do you think he could bring to Washington, should he be elected on Nov. 6?
BC: Yes, although he was not my first choice for the GOP nomination (I was actually rooting for Paul Ryan to enter the race) — I think that President Romney will help create that growth-friendly environment I mentioned earlier. The potential for jobs in the energy sector alone (shale and oil production) is astounding and I think we need a president whose administration is giving positive signals to our job creators, not the opposite.
I also hope that Obamacare will be repealed. It is a big drag on our job creators, individual families and our national debt. New estimates this summer from CBO show that Obamacare will cost $2.6 TRILLION over 10 years, not the $900 BILLION that Obama promised. We have got to remove this yoke from around the American economy.
Those interested in learning more can feel free to follow Bruce Carroll on Twitter @GayPatriot.