A group of Los Angeles County Republicans urging the ouster of a predominantly homosexual GOP organization was rebuffed Monday evening in its attempts to force candidates for chairman of the party's County Central Committee to publicly state their position on revoking the gay group's charter.
"We have a right to know where these candidates stand," said newly elected Central Committee member Glen Abel, a leader of the dissidents seeking to have the county's Log Cabin Republican Club's charter revoked.
Accusing the club of using the party "to disseminate homosexual values," Abel, 24, said the group "represents what the Republican Party platform is against. If grass-roots Republicans knew that we had chartered a homosexual group, they would be outraged."
No Place on Agenda
Ezola Foster, another Log Cabin club opponent, said the dissidents had requested time on the central committee meeting's agenda, but were denied. Committee Chairman Robert Whitmore, however, explained that the "business" of Monday's meeting at the downtown State Building was to elect officers and adopt by-laws.
"The agenda is fixed by state law and by our own by-laws," he said. At other meetings, any member can bring up any issue, he said, but Monday's agenda could only be changed by a two-thirds vote.
Supporters nominated Abel for temporary chairman of the meeting, but he collected less than 10 votes. That showing signaled that the dissidents could not muster the two-thirds vote necessary to change the agenda.
The Log Cabin club was chartered two years ago in what its members see as recognition of their efforts to promote the party, but county committee officials have conceded that the issue was sensitive then and remains so.
Called 'Fringe' Group
The charter "is not threatened at all by this fringe group of two or three people," said Frank Ricchiazzi, the club's political director. "We were chartered overwhelmingly by the rank and file."
He said the 350-member Log Cabin club educates the gay community on Republican principles and philosophy, "and educates Republicans on the needs and concerns of the gay community."
The group has registered thousands of voters, "put up candidates for state office" and raised funds for the party, he said.
"The club has been very active in getting out the vote," Whitmore said, adding that he "deplored" the fact that its charter had been raised as an issue.