Thursday night’s Log Cabin Republicans’ “Spirit of Lincoln” gala in the main ballroom of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago beachfront club saw a huge celebration of gay rights and — in a case of ironic timing — the historic same-sex marriage law signed by President Joe Biden days earlier.
The long-planned event in honor of the conservative LGBTQ organization’s 45th anniversary brought in Republican notables like former Ambassador Ric Grenell, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, who emceed the evening in a feathered turquoise gown, and former GOP gubernatorial candidate from Arizona Kari Lake, who was swarmed by guests eager to meet her and take a photo.
Donald Trump embraces gay rights
But the main attraction, obviously, was Donald Trump. He received a standing ovation after delivering an enthusiastic affirmation of gay rights not often heard in the GOP.
“We are fighting for the gay community, and we are fighting and fighting hard,” the former president and 2024 candidate said. “With the help of many of the people here tonight in recent years, our movement has taken incredible strides, the strides you’ve made here is incredible.”
Throughout the evening, speakers praised Trump for his embrace of the gay community. They credited him for his initiatives to combat the criminalization of homosexuality, his work pushing for public heath initiatives to combat the HIV epidemic, and for appointing the first openly gay Cabinet member, Grenell, as director of national intelligence.
Trump and his administration had a mixed record on LGBTQ issues. He’s been criticized for driving a wedge between gay and transgender communities, and for promoting extreme religious liberty policies and executive orders they say allowed for discrimination against LGBTQ people that pushed the movement backwards. The Log Cabin Republicans’ first female executive director, Jerri Ann Henry, resigned in 2019 over the group’s decision to endorse Trump.
The Log Cabin Republicans’ gala came just days after the Respect for Marriage Act was passed with support of 39 House Republicans and 12 GOP senators and signed into law by Biden. But the issue of same-sex marriage has continued to spark debate inside the GOP. Conservative Christian and right-wing groups lobbied against the legislation, arguing that it stepped on religious liberties.
According to Gallup, 55 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Americans overall support same-sex marriage.