New Yorker Gregory T. Angelo to Head National Log Cabin Republicans

Gregory T. Angelo.

Gregory T. Angelo.

Gregory T. Angelo, who has served as interim executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans since the first of the year, has been named to the post on a permanent basis, the group’s board of directors announced on February 15.

Angelo replaces R. Clarke Cooper, an Iraq war veteran who had previously worked in the Bush administration and began heading LCR in 2010.

Angelo is the former chair of the New York State Log Cabin Republicans, a post in which he played a critical role in the successful push for the state’s 2011 marriage equality law. The State Senate would not have acted on the measure had its GOP majority not allowed the bill to go to the floor. In the end, four Republicans joined 29 of the 30 Democrats in passing the law.

“I am excited to forge ahead as we continue to advance the rights of all Americans,” Angelo said in a written statement. “We still have many hurdles ahead of us, but history and momentum are on our side. As executive director, I look forward to leading Log Cabin Republicans to assist our advocates, support our allies, and work for a Republican Party that advocates our core values of individual liberty and freedom for all Americans.”

Angelo undoubtedly faces a steeper slope in building GOP support for LGBT issues in Washington than he did in New York. The Republican House majority remains intransigent on issues like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and including relief for bi-national couples in any immigration reform package. Speaker John Boehner has led the effort to have the House step up to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act in court in the absence of the Obama administration doing so.

Cooper’s final days as executive director were marked by an abrupt shift in his views on Defense Department secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, whose confirmation fight drew LCR into the thick of things.

Speaking for himself and not LCR, he initially told Gay City News, “There was no question [Hagel] was committed to advancing America’s interests abroad. As for his nomination to be secretary of defense, it is well worth noting that Senator Hagel is a combat veteran who has hands-on experience in the field. The battlefield is not just theory for him.”

Just two weeks later, the group took out full-page newspaper ads reading, “Wrong on Gay Rights. Wrong on Iran. Wrong on Israel… Tell President Obama that Chuck Hagel is wrong for Defense Secretary. Help us build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party.”