Three New Jersey Republicans have participated in a new “It Gets Better” video, the newest video for relationship columnist Dan Savage’s YouTube campaign to reach out to gay teens who may have been bullied.
While Democratic politicians and celebrities have long participated in the videos, this marks the first time Congressional Republicans have participated, including New Jersey Republican Reps. Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo, and Jon Runyan.
All three of the Republicans have previously voted for legislation that opposes gay rights.
In the video, Lance tells gay teens “respect and acceptance will grow, day by day.” Lance voted against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military.
Lobiondo says in the video:“There are actions we can take to make things better now.” He also voted against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Act, a bill that would probibit federal courts from hearing cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states where it is legal.
And Runyan says, “The things that make us different are the things that make our country strong.” He is against gay marriage but supports civil unions.
In a statement, Runyan explained his participation this way:
There is no place in our society for bullying, especially when continued bullying leads to young adults taking their own lives. This issue goes beyond political affiliations. An individual’s teenage years can be very difficult and it is important for our nation’s youth to understand that it gets better.
Lance also released a statement, saying:
Congressman Lance chose to participate in the 'It Gets Better' campaign because the bipartisan effort puts forth an important, positive message that mirrors New Jersey's landmark anti-bullying initiative signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Christie and is consistent with his voting record and long-standing views.
Although Rep. Lance voted against DADT, he voted to expand the federal hate crimes law to cover sexual orientation, and sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
LoBiondo also supported the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.
Log Cabin, a Republican organization that supports the gay and lesbian community, say Reps. Lance, LoBiondo, and Runyan “stepped out on a limb” to record the video, and should be applauded for it.
“It is deeply frustrating to see liberal activists attacking Republican Members of Congress for stepping forward to support gay youth,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said on the Log Cabin Web site. “It seems as though liberals care more about the chance to score political points by taking potshots at Republicans than they care about capitalizing on a chance to really make things better for our youth.”
The New Jersey Democrats who participate in the “It Gets Better” effort include Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who is pro-gay-rights, Rep. Rush Holt,, who has been praised for pushing for full equal rights for the LGBT community, Sen. Robert Menendez, who has voted against the ban on gay marriage, Rep. Bill Pascrell, who has been praised for his gay-rights stance, Rep. Donald Payne, whoh has voted in favor of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Rep. Steve Rothman, who recently joined the newly formed LGBT Equality Caucus in the House.
Watch the video: