The night before the Republican National Convention began in Tampa last month, a group of gay Republicans sipped wine and ate crab cakes at the Rusty Pelican, a white-tablecloth establishment with massive fireplaces and sweeping bay views. Defying the widespread perception that the Republican party is more actively opposed to gay rights than ever, R. Clarke Cooper, the 41-year-old director of the Log Cabin Republicans, told the gathering that gays are not just an "insular group in the party, we're an integral part of the party." Like other fetes around town that week, the reception was dominated by clean-cut white men who looked like consultants with practiced golf swings. Women and minorities were as rare a sight as unpleated pants.
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