Gay Mormons for Rick Santorum

*disclaimer. This post (and all my posts) are my own and in no way are the views of my employer.


This week in DC was CPAC the conservative conference were 3 of the presidential candidates spoke to the far right wing of the party and where the keynote address was given by Governor Sarah Palin. Google was sponsoring the event in an effort to demonstrate that we are not liberal but rather are Pro-Free Speech.

 

As someone who is grateful for the 1st amendment, EVEN when it is used by groups like the Westboro Baptist Church I am glad tha Google was able to change the hearts and minds of conservatives about our position (or lack thereof) in politics. It reaffirmed to me a one of the core reasons why I call myself a liberal republican and one of the reasons I remain active in the Church.

 

When we are on the outside of a group we can be ignored and shunts aside as worthless. But when we are a part of them, when we are on the inside, we have the power to positively influence the minds of even the most extreme individuals.

 

This is what happened this week when a Republican Senator (Maureen Walsh) voted for Gay Marriage in Washington State after her daughter came out to her. Harvey Milk said it when he urged us all to come out in order to change the minds of the people and this week that was re-affirmed.

The most amazing moment of this week was not when I shook Newt, Mitt, and Sarah’s hands. Nor was it the banquet with the Chief of Staff for the RNC chair. It was watching another piece of positive influence rub off on someone who, honestly, has every reason to be upset with Google, Rick Santorum.

 

Google invited the Senator to be interviewed by a conservative blogger using a Google+ Hangout. While we were waiting for the Senator to show up we got nervous and I was sent to ensure he was coming and walk him down to our booth as I knew where the green room was.  I was placed inside the protective circle of the Secret Service-types and escorted with his family and a handful of key staff down to the booth. I introduced myself to the Senator along the way and mentioned that I was from Google. The distaste he had was palatable and his wife sped up and whispered in his ear “Why are you doing something with Google!?!

 

Well Senator Santorum seemed to have a good time at the Google booth and even wore a pair of Goolge sunglasses during the Hangout. Sure that may have just been the candidate in him putting on a smiling face, but because Google partnered up with a conservative blogger, Santorum came to our booth, wore our stuff and became an fraction more inclined to listen to us. I might add that no other presidential candidate took the time to come down for a similar Hangout.

 

Because Rick Santorum’s attitude is changing towards Google, and because of the 4 dozen conservatives I spoke with have changed their attitude towards Google, and the hundreds of people whose opinions I have changed by being actively Mormon and openly Gay, I know that you can do more to advance a cause you believe in, from the inside of the organization poised to hate you than you can banging at the doors from the outside. Is it a sea-change? No. Will it take time, energy, and effort? Absolutely. But given the wall of Occupy Wallstreet Protestors whose effect only galvanized the conservatives, I know that I can do more to advance the causes I believe in from the inside, and that is why I became the first (and likely only) Gay Mormon to vote for Rick Santorum in the CPAC Straw poll.