My good friend Christopher L. Bowman made the front page of the SF Chronicle recently in an article titled, Gays in California GOP see hopeful signs.

Chris and I were the Odd Couple of the redistricting battles two years ago.  He was the map-maker demographer and I the Don Quixote who lead the futile charge.

When I rejoined the conservative fight after a year of burnout, Bowman was one of the first I sought out on the SF Republican central committee.  I attended two Log Cabin Republican events, met the guys and have considered joining—if they’ll have me—as a straight man who is more or less on the same page politically.

Log Cabin Republicans should be welcomed into the party.  They have a tremendous amount to contribute.

But we have to bring in Log Cabin without fracturing the existing coalition.  And therein lies the rub.

The SF Log Cabin Republicans are 39 in number.  Yes—thirty nine.  Were I to apply and they do accept, we would be an even forty.  On the other hand, socially conservative Christians who are registered, voting Republicans number in the millions in California and the tens of millions nationally.  The political math is daunting.

There are Republicans who believe social conservatives should be ejected from the party of Lincoln, that they are bigots, “homophobes” and that their “backward” Biblical politics prevent libertarian economics and morality from clinching the deal with moderate voters.

David Lampo has written a book fleshing out this theory in detail, A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights.  One Amazon review says:

… But will the GOP survive the [libertarian] assault? Religious conservatives are a HUGE part of the Republican base. Lampo doesn’t discuss the [new] demographics of the GOP if his passionate agenda succeeds. Christians CAN retire from politics… Without them, how many Republicans will be left? Does Lampo think there are enough gays to replace the Christians? Or will enough Independents flock to the GOP to win? Where is Lampo’s polling on this critical question???

When I voiced a similar argument at a Log Cabin meeting, Bowman answered, “We need polling.” Yes, we do.  But till we have the polling—in depth—we can gain some insight from the comments that accompany the Bowman interview.

The comments (156 as I write) are snarky:

I have never understood why anyone would want to be part of a group that doesn’t want them…

Still trying to book tickets on the Titanic, eh?

Please. Wake up you log cabin idiots!!!!! The Republicans would rather embrace Irritable Bowel Syndrome than proud gay americans. You have to admit that a gay republican is rather oxymoronic. Like a jewish Nazi or a black KKK member. THINK.

We should not expect rapid electoral gains on the strength of welcoming Log Cabin.  In fact, if social conservatives peel off, we might plunge from a 29% party to a sub 20% party in a few cycles.

There are moral issues on both sides—a moral imperative to welcome the gays as well as the moral argument of the religious against full ratification of gay sexuality and gay identity.

But there is a political and demographic reality which—because politics is intrinsically impure—  must be addressed on a separate track from the moral issues.  Politically we need to conserve the GOP coalition that has existed from Goldwater, through Reagan and up to the present.  That coalition is a three-legged stool; social-conservative traditionalists, economic libertarians and national security patriots.  The stool has proved durable and stable.

The California Republican Party—as it evolves, and it must evolve should at all costs preserve the tripartite coalition.  We must bring in new groups by addition, not by subtraction.  Persuasion and compromise must drive change, not power politics, purges and walk outs by coalition partners.

I am convinced the coalition can be maintained while adding Log Cabin Republicans.

A Christ-centered, religiously conservative argument can be made to evangelicals about the need to open hearts and minds to gay Republicans.  That argument cannot support gay marriage, gay adoption or the far reaches of the gay lifestyle; it won’t be all that some gays may want.  But it will call for radical inclusion and absolute repudiation of bigotry.

A pragmatic argument can be made to economic conservatives.  Seen through the lens of realpolitik—with polling, number crunching and demographic analysis—the wisdom of maintaining the three-legged stool will be obvious.

Finally, though my Log Cabin friends have long-suffered ostracism and worse at the hands of some Christian conservative Republicans, an appeal to fully define their Republican identity versus their sexual identity is in order.  Where does gayness end and Republicanism begin?  Will they engage social conservatives in arguments to principles?  Where do they draw the line on their radical gay brothers in “liberation movements” that descend into political, social and sexual madness?

These are tough questions.  But over time, a way forward will emerge.  We will grow our Big Tent conservative Republican party and all be the better for it.