The ad by the Log Cabin Republicans, “Reagan’s Big Tent Isn’t What it Used to Be,” won’t make them popular with the further Right and Tea Party Republican types, but of course, that’s not going to happen anyway. What it does is add to the pressure being applied to the GOP to recognize growing support for LGBT equality, and help make room for supporters in that Big Red Tent.

At Huffington:

(The ad) … arrives at a moment of particular tension for the Republican Party. In the past several months, strong signs have emerged that suggest the party is beginning to shift in favor of gay rights: a poll showing that a majority of young Republicans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, a Republican Senator declaring his support after his son came out to him, and a group of more than 100 Republican advisors, politicians and former party officials signing their name to a brief urging the Supreme Court to declare that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.

But the social conservatives that have long dominated party leadership are hardly going with the flow “” just two weeks ago the Republican National Committee gathered in California to reaffirm its official stance opposing same-sex marriage.

The ad, most likely, is as much about the Log Cabin Republicans understandably working on their own image and, as the HuffPo article puts it, “remake itself as a more forceful voice within the party.” Whatever else, the ad itself is powerful, using humor effectively, and evoking the near-sacred name of Ronald Reagan.

From LCR:

Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) has a full-page ad in Politico today (April 25, 2013) calling on the Republican Party to grow the proverbial “˜big tent’ by dropping its opposition to granting equal rights to the LGBT community. The ad is a part of LCR’s relaunch efforts, which will more aggressively challenge the GOP to not be beholden to the vocal minority within the party that oppose rights for gays and lesbians.

The ad features two men looking down on a comically small tent with one remarking,’ ‘Reagan’s Big Tent Isn’t What it Used to Be”¦’. The ad then goes on to say: “˜If the Republican Party wants to win future elections and set this country back on sound financial footing, it must put an end to its obsession with opposing equal rights for LGBT Americans. The GOP’s focus should be on bringing together existing members, reclaiming former Republicans, and attracting new voters. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, the freedom to marry is supported by 81 percent of adults younger than 30. If you don’t make the tent bigger, you might as well fold it up and go home.’

The reluctantly provided, or merely tolerated, (at least by many) little rainbow sliver of space on the edge of the Left side of the Big Red Tent simply isn’t going to hold the growing crowd of supporters. Yes, the numbers are smaller than in the Democratic version of a Big Tent, but from my perspective and for quite some time, the Right side of that tent has been much more crowded than the Left, and even the Center.

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo released the following statement with regard to the ad:

“˜Some Republicans just don’t get it. Despite widespread and growing public support for marriage equality and the need to focus on increasing our numbers in the wake of the crushing electoral defeats of 2012, an element of the GOP remains hell-bent on emphasizing exclusion over inclusion.
Make no mistake: as Log Cabin Republicans, we want to win elections, and if the Republican Party wants to do the same it needs to take a stand against anti-gay rhetoric in its ranks and welcome the increasing numbers of Republicans who support the freedom to marry. Our ad today in Politico should be a wake-up call to Republicans and a reminder of the words of President Reagan, who, in describing his “˜big tent’ conservative philosophy, declared, “˜It is not your duty, responsibility or privilege to tear down, or attempt to destroy, others in the tent.’

Let’s make the tent bigger. Let’s get the Republican Party back on a path to victory.’

The “rainbow space” is growing, including outside the boundaries of either Red or Blue Big Tent. And for me, steps into equality, whether beginning with the Left or Right foot, are very much welcomed.

(Log Cabin Republican Big Tent Ad via LCR)