Out gay Rep. Barney Frank slammed Log Cabin Republicans today, equating them to “Uncle Toms” in a highly charged interview on the last day of the Democratic National Convention.
“I’ll be honest: For 20 years now I’ve heard how the Log Cabins are going to make Republicans better, but they’ve only gotten worse,” Frank told The Huffington Post’s Michelangelo Signorile. “I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: their role model is Uncle Tom.”
Frank’s comments garnered a quick response from Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans R. Clarke Cooper, who dismissed Frank’s comments, stating that they simply divide, distract and deceive.
“As far as Log Cabin Republicans are concerned, it’s a badge of honor to be attacked by a partisan hack like Barney Frank,” Cooper said in a statement. “We expect this kind of bile from Barney, especially when it plays into the Obama campaign’s efforts to divide, distract and deceive the American people.”
“Frank calls us ‘Uncle Toms’ and pretends that Log Cabin hasn’t been on the front lines of the fight for equality. The truth is, by speaking conservative to conservative about gay rights, Log Cabin Republicans are doing some of the hardest work in the movement, work that liberals like Barney are unwilling to do and couldn’t do if they tried,” Cooper added.
The Massachusetts Democrat’s fiery comments come a week after LCR attended the Republican National Convention, which nominated Mitt Romney as president, and participated in committee hearings responsible for drafting the GOP’s national platform. Although LCR had hoped the party would adopt more inclusive language in the platform, it instead reinforced the party’s opposition to marriage equality and support for the Defense of Marriage Act.
Albeit for different reasons, LCR has faced criticism for their focus on a party platform by GOProud, a rival gay conservative group. Whereas GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia criticized LCR for elevating the party platform to a “public fight with a very public body slam,” Frank believes LCR is wasting their time fighting for equality in a party that does not accept them.
According to Frank, “Mr. Cooper said, ‘Well at least they’re not saying bad things about us.’ That’s just extraordinary. Again, 30 years ago when we were emerging from the vice of prejudice, I understood that. But no, we shouldn’t be accepting a kind of second class citizenship, [and saying], ‘You can treat us badly as long you don’t yell at us.'”
Cooper, however, disagrees, and accuses Frank and not the Republican National Committee of engaging in tactics meant to bully his group into silence.
“Gay liberals like Barney, however, are trying to silence us, calling us names and ganging up like schoolyard bullies,” Cooper stated. “While Barney bashes his fellow LGBT Americans, we’ll continue our work building a stronger, more inclusive GOP – and someday soon, we’ll win, because inclusion always wins.”
Frank, who became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out in 1987 and will retire at the end of his term in 2013, is expected to address the Democratic National Convention tonight in Charlotte.