The publisher of the most important conservative magazine of the last sixty years, National exam, is gay-married? Garrett Bewkes, the man who oversaw the magazine once edited by William F. Buckley, has a husband. He has been its editor for five years. How did it happen? And what does this mean for the conservative movement and the Republican Party?
I suspect a lot of NRLong-time readers don’t know that. I wouldn’t have known if a local newspaper hadn’t published a article by Bewkes’ “husband”, Bradley.
Together they are departure a Connecticut chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. It’s a group “dedicated to representing conservatives and LGBT allies” in the Republican Party, as they explain on their homepage. I wrote about this whole sad affair in “Free Marketers Forget Freedom”.
Bradley Bewkes will be the point man for efforts to overturn the little opposition to the LGBT agenda within the Connecticut GOP. Garrett will seemingly go on to subvert what little belief in marriage remains on the American right.
Bewkes and Bewkes
In his opinion piece in the Stamford lawyer, Bradley equated supporting the traditional definition of marriage with being “anti-LGBTQ.” He wanted his readers to know that “Republicans are not anti-LGBTQ.” We can assume he speaks for Garrett as well.
“Here is another fact,” he wrote. “The Republican Party is moving forward. While there are many religious conservatives who can still challenge same-sex marriage – which I fully respect as it is their God-given right to do so – the future of the party is one of inclusion and acceptance.
In other words, “no one here but us pro-gay Republicans.” What does this say to the thousands of Connecticutans who fought for traditional marriage throughout the 2000s? who still defend traditional marriage and constitute a significant part of the Republican vote in this state?
What is the Republican Party – and National exam‘s publisher — telling them by promoting this agenda? As is so often the case, religious conservatives hear in these words and actions a Republican establishment that despises its own base. And increasingly a conservative movement that also rejects them.
Will they defend the religious freedom of Christians who do not want to be complicit in a gay marriage? Will they support parents who don’t want LGBT curricula taught to their kindergartners in public schools? The more likely scenario is that this type of conservative and Republican will function as a fifth column within the GOP, undermining the wildly popular social conservative parent activism that both the movement and the party claim to champion.
National exam does not equal the Republican Party. The magazine often criticizes the party for deviating from conservative principles. But have they on this issue? Not that I saw.
The Republican Party wants to be “the party of parents”. But only because they see it as a winning problem (and it is), as I wrote here.
At the same time, the party wishes to develop a gay wing. The head of the Republican National Committee recently pushed an “RNC Pride Coalition”. She even spoke at the Log Cabin Republicans’ annual fundraising dinner, telling them how much they “enrich” the party. They add “unique perspectives” and bring “even more diverse candidates and supporters” to the party. As Bradley Bewkes notes in his article, “Currently on the RNC website there is an area for Republican Gay Outreach with the statement, ‘The GOP is the party for everyone.’
Connecticut GOP Wants To Be “Parent’s Day” While Embracing Log Cabin Program? They talk out of both sides of their mouth.
If challenged, they would probably say they can side with parents without imposing a single definition of family. They would say that the real problem is to protect the family from the state, whether they are gay or straight. (Polyamorous families too? If same-sex marriage makes a family, why not “trouples”?)
But what about all the evidence that children need a father and a mother? That natural marriage best gives children what they need to grow and thrive? Republican leaders here in my home state of Connecticut don’t care because they want LGBT members more. The party tries to be “the party of the parents” without being “the party of the children”.
NR then and NR Today
it hurts me to criticize National exam. Conservatives who make a career out of attack NR kinda reminds me of the protesters tearing down the statues of the Founding Fathers. It’s a lack of pietas. Every conservative in politics today stands there standing on the shoulders of William F. Buckley. On what National exam accomplished in earlier times.
But what about the political activity of NRis the new direction? That the magazine chose a man in a same-sex marriage as supervisor?
Should we still believe that the 2015 “conservative case for gay marriage” cover story, written by the editor, no less, was a one-off? The article declared that same-sex marriage “an equal opportunity to love”, giving a new and unconservative meaning to the word “love”.
And the 2018 column calling for a “compromise” on transgender? This article called for transgender acceptance because “prudent conservatives should work to preserve a peaceful and free social order.”
These articles were presented as offering a point of view, a point of view not explicitly endorsed by the magazine. Not then, perhaps, but how far is a magazine going to stick to a position that its publisher rejects? Indeed, a position which itself rejects one of its most fundamental commitments?
National examThe board of directors certainly knew what editorial policy it was putting in place when it chose Garrett Bewkes. A magazine run by a gay married man cannot become openly pro-gay marriage. But he will almost certainly back down from the defense of traditional marriage. Silence, in this case, will mean consent.
Institutions and values
In a fundraising article last year, Bewkes described the magazine’s mission this way:National exam does not do what is popular for income or accolades. We do not bend in our principles for convenience. We defend our national institutions and our conservative values.
Isn’t the form of marriage that our nation believed normal and proper until very recently a “national institution”? The marriage of a man with a woman, not a “conservative value”? What do these terms mean, if they do not include marriage?
Peter Wolfgang is President of Connecticut Family Action Institute. He lives in Waterbury, Connecticut, with his wife and their seven children. The opinions expressed on The flow are only his.