A Republican organization Friday joined a chorus of criticism of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher for objecting to a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in the rental or sales of residences.
The Log Cabin Republicans, which consists of LGBT conservatives, encouraged its members through its Facebook page to call Rohrabacher’s office “and let him know you won’t stand for his nonsense.”
The message from the Log Cabin Republicans came in response to comments Rohrabacher made recently to the Orange County Association of Realtors when asked about the Fair Housing Act legislation proposed last year. The comments led the National Association of Realtors to drop its financial support of Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach.
“Making this decision was the right thing for NAR to do,” the association said in a statement. “The association’s member Code of Ethics is far ahead of Congress on gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination.
“We certainly hope that Congress will follow the lead set at our recent legislative meetings and support the elimination of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Log Cabin Republicans noted other Republican congressional members have been sponsoring the legislation.
“This bill isn’t about bakers or bathrooms — or even marriage,” the organization said. “Every member of the LGBT community deserves a place to call home free from discrimination…”
Fred Karger, a gay Republican activist from Laguna Beach who has run for president and made a name taking on the Mormon church following Proposition 8, said he called Rohrabacher’s office when he saw the Log Cabin Republican message.
“`I registered my unhappiness,” Karger said. “As a constituent and also as a donor.”
Karger has donated money to Rohrabacher in the past. He noted that he ran the campaign of Steve Horn, who finished third behind Rohrabacher in a 1988 primary, the year Rohrabacher was first elected to Congress.
Rohrabacher campaign spokesman Greg Blair said the congressman stands by his words to the Orange County Association of Realtors.
“Congressman Rohrabacher does not believe the federal government should force those with strong religious convictions into a personal or business relationship that is contrary to their religion,” Blair said.
Said Karger: “I think that’s awful. It’s discrimination… for an alleged libertarian like Dana Rohrabacher it’s unconscionable.”
Karger decried the argument that one’s religion should allow them to object to certain laws.
“People don’t like a certain group and they pull the religion card,” Karger said. “And they say that is their right to discriminate. Well, it’s not. It’s no different than someone not liking African-Americans and refusing them service at a lunch counter.
“That’s what this country was founded to stop. It was for equality. All men are created equal, and a lot of religions teach that, too. So it’s very alarming for Dana to say that. I thought he was well beyond that.”
Hans Keirstead, one of eight Democrats seeking to unseat Rohrabacher, condemned the incumbent.
“This can’t be excused away by a generation gap or the Congressman’s eccentricities,” Keirstead said in a statement.
Keirstead called the comments “bigoted and hateful, period.”
Technology entrepreneur Harley Rouda, another Democrat running against Rohrabacher, joined in the criticism.
“In my opinion, discrimination is discrimination,” Rouda told City News Service. “Rohrabacher continues to put his foot in his mouth. His comments yesterday remind me of the old adage that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people wonder if you are a fool than to open your mouth and let there be no doubt.”