The 35-year-old Log Cabin Republicans, the national GOP gay group, is relaunching this week with help from the political icon who inspired the group's creation in 1977: former President Reagan.
Newly appointed Executive Director Gregory Angelo said the group plans to feature parts of the Gipper's farewell address in January 1989 to inspire a new campaign to encourage older Republicans and especially social conservatives to embrace gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans at a time when the gay rights movement is encountering some pushback.
"We've existed for this very moment," Angelo told Secrets. "Now is the time to fight harder than ever."
While Angelo wouldn't reveal what part of Reagan's last official speech he's tapping for inspiration, in the address Reagan defined his classic image of a "shining city upon a hill" as one that that is "still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home."
Angelo said he hopes to raise enough money to turn the video into a TV ad, and predicted that "people will be talking about it." The group is also unveiling a new logo on Friday.
The relaunch of Log Cabin Republicans comes as more GOP officeholders are endorsing same-sex marriage but also as social conservatives are trying to block the gay agenda. "[W]e have to push back with force against social conservatives," Angelo said.
Angelo, the former longtime chairman of New York Log Cabin Republicans, predicted the GOP will continue to integrate gay Republicans despite some opposition, especially as younger Republicans start to flex their muscle and move into the party's hierarchy.