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Conservative gay Sunshine Republicans to rally 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Fort Lauderdale City Hall

A group of gay conservatives – more conservative, they say, than Log Cabin Republicans – have launched a new club called Sunshine Republicans.

Here’s a news release sent by Sunshine Republicans President Ben Lewis:

goproud A group of gay and lesbian conservatives will gather in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate the arrival of a new club in South Florida on Friday  Sept. 11.

The Sunshine Republicans is being established as the first local extension in America of GOProud  an organization of GLBT Republicans that consider themselves more conservative than the widely known Log Cabin Republicans. Several of the founding members of the local Sunshine Republicans are ex Log Cabin Republicans who recently split off to establish a fresh group with new vision.

The new club was created as another avenue for local gay and lesbian conservatives to network and to engage in local activism.  The group’s basic principles of a free market economy  strong defense  personal freedom and responsibility align perfectly with basic Republican tent pole issues.  In addition  the Sunshine Republicans aim to increase GLBT awareness and inclusion in the party and in the nation.

While monthly meeting information is to be announced  the new club will host its high profile kickoff event at the Fort Lauderdale City Hall on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.  The event is open to the public in an attempt to lure conservatives to the new group and to the Republican Party. The meeting will feature special guest Robert Lowry  Republican candidates for Congress  and other guests from the community.  More special guests are to be announced.

“We’re very excited about bringing a new voice for real change within the community,” said Club President Ben Lewis. “It’s about time to see some local activism from gay conservatives on the issues that matter to us.”

Lewis also insists that a number of local candidates and officials are eager to include gay and lesbian voices in their decision making.

“They really want to hear from us,” said Lewis. “We have to be willing to show up when they reach out.”

In addition to monthly meetings  the group plans to consult and campaign for local Republican candidates. Club officials intend to actively include the group in local tea parties  rallies  and public forums. Most importantly, the Sunshine Republicans seek to work closely with other Republican factions to promote real progress in the party and the community.

“Diversity means us too,” said Vice President Nick Stone  referring to gay conservatives. “The Republican Party needs to listen to GLBT voters  and likewise we need to be willing to work with this party from the inside.”

While admitting that Republican attitudes toward gays and lesbians need improvement  the vice president is quick to point out that the conflict cuts both ways.

“I’ve almost never been chided by a Republican for being gay,” says Stone. “However, you’d be shocked by how much flack I get from my gay friends when they find out I’m a Republican. The cognitive dissonance is breathtaking.”

According to Stone, “Neither Republicans nor gays can turn a deaf ear to one another. Gays and lesbians pay taxes  buy cars and homes  and go to work just like everybody else.”

Lewis adds: “We want to dramatically increase the visibility and the voice of local gay Republicans. Our time is now.”

Updated meeting information will be available on the Sunshine Republicans website immediately and as any changes occur.  Please visit www.sunshinerepublicans.org for further meeting details or to find out more about the Sunshine Republicans.

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