A House Divided?

The Log Cabin Republicans are not the only group running ads against Bush on issues pertaining to the rights of gays and lesbians.

On Friday, the Human Rights Campaign launched a television ad that features video of Vice President Cheney speaking about the pride he has in his gay daughter and about his preference for letting states decide the definition of marriage. The ad closes by asking: "What if it were your daughter, Mr. President?" The ad is airing on New York media for one week. The HRC will not reveal the size of the buy.

Democrats are hoping that the GOP's rift with the Log Cabin Republicans over the hard-line platform and the President's recent rift with Cheney over same-sex marriage will persuade independents that Bush is an extremist who is willing to undermine the rights of gay Americans in order to pander to Christian conservatives.

Republicans strongly disagree.

They believe that activist judges could strike down the Defense of Marriage Act leaving states vulnerable to what the GOP platform calls "Massachusetts mischief on marriage."

Far less focused on the 14,000 Log Cabin Republicans than they are on the four million Christian evangelicals Karl Rove estimates stayed home in the 2000 election, conservatives are confident that the marriage issue is still a winner for the GOP.

Although the marriage amendment has stalled at the federal level, conservatives are emboldened by what is going on at the state level.

That confidence was on display Thursday at New York's Javits Center when conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, the president of the Eagle Forum who was attending the GOP's platform committee hearings, touted Missouri's recent overwhelming approval of a same-sex marriage ban that came on the same day as a competitive gubernatorial primary on the Democratic side while talking with Frist.

"The Democrats moved heaven and earth to get this vote scheduled during the primary when their voters were out," Schlafly told Frist, "and it still passed."

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