Inclusive Conservatism in the Gay Rights Era

Inclusive conservatism is about creating a big tent party where all strands of conservatism can coexist. The fact is much more unites conservatives than divides; the emergence of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation in America crystallizes what inclusive conservatism looks like.

For the party of local governance and individualism the notion of government getting out of the same-sex marriage debate is as conservative as the protection of religious freedom in America’s churches and religious institutions. Yet so much attention is given to intra-party labels and lines such as Tea Party, Libertarian, Establishment, Social Conservative, RINO…etc, however, the over lapping intra-party principles don’t get much attention at all. While substantive debates within the conservative movement and the Republican Party is a healthy dynamic it can also reach the point of diminishing returns.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin will retire at the end of his current term in 2014. Prior to doing so, Sen. Harkin will introduce the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  While the need to end workplace discrimination is important the concerns and voice of social conservatism is valid as well. Cultural conservatives, led by the Family Research Council, make an important point in making sure that such a law will not infringe on the freedom of religion. Any resultant bill should explicitly permit churches and other religious groups to make personnel decisions based on tenets of their faith. Therefore, this is the challenge: for the party to create a policy that adequately balances competing and important interests.

ENDA represents multiple perspectives on conservative ideology; generational divides on gay and lesbian issues and a great opportunity to showcase inclusive conservatism. A public policy that exalts individuality over intolerance and that exalts religious freedom over the coercive power of government is how the Republican Party can succeed in creating a big tent party with inclusive conservatism.


About Kellen J. Curry

Millennial Elephants Creator, Kellen J. Curry, is an American conservative blogger and atypical GOPer
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4 Responses to Inclusive Conservatism in the Gay Rights Era

  1. Tom Bucceri says:

    Evangelical Christian conservatives have no interest in creating a BIG tent. As long as these people, and the Tea Party make up the activist base of the GOP, there is no chance of passing ENDA.

    • Tom, as usual great point here. It looks like the senate has the votes with Sen Heller becoming the 60th vote today. Of course the House will be a different story. I was encouraged by an article on politico ( where a more pragmatic group of GOPers are vowing to a prominent voice. Perhaps they’ll contribute their voice to the ENDA legislation. I still contend that folks have to start making the argument for a big tent party. Consider what’s happening in the VA gubernatorial race where the GOP nominee began running on the far right and then pivoted to bi-partisan problem solver.

  2. Chris says:

    Tom, I wouldn’t throw Tea Party in with Evangelical. Evengelical is a very specific label. The Tea Party is a contemporary phenomenon; a myriad of websites, organizations, and people who support a small government renaissance. I actually don’t know anyone who calls themselves “Tea Party”.

    In New Hampshire I find “Tea Party” has a libertarian connotation. As such, they tend to focus on smaller government, constitutionalism, and individualism. Rand Paul, who is considered by many to be the archetypal “Tea Party” man is probably the most popular Republican with genuine support among influential millennials.

    As a millennial I completely agree about inclusive conservatism. We lose too many people over wedge identity issues.

    Great blog Kellen. I saw you on Hannity.

  3. this is shareen curry… just passing by😐 HI!.

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