European conservatism more gay-friendly than American liberalism

David Cameron, UK's conservative party leader, released a list Sunday naming 11 of the 20 openly gay conservative candidates running for Parliament.
Simon Husted is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and the Web Editor of (Caitlin Sirse)

It’s amazing how politics is so different  on the other side of the Atlantic.

If you’ve been closely following the political race in the United Kingdom (as we all have, I’m sure,) you may have noticed a rather strange side of conservatism.

David Cameron, UK’s Conservative Party leader, released a list Sunday naming 11 of the 20 openly gay conservative candidates running for Parliament. The list, famously called the “Tory Rainbow List,” was accompanied by other lists of Conservative Party candidates belonging to racially diverse and/or female demographics.

Currently there are three openly gay Parliament members who belong to the Conservative Party. In comparison, the Conservative Party holds 193 seats in Parliament. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find data of how many gays and lesbians make up the other 271 more liberal members of Parliament.

Shadow Minister Nick Herbert, who is openly gay, told the Advocate that if the Conservative Party wins the upcoming election up to 15 openly gay conservatives will end up in office.

These are a few of the openly gay Conservative Party candidates running for Parliament. Clockwise from top left: Greg Barker, Alan Duncan, Nick Herbert, David Gold, Iain Stewart, Mark Coote, and Nick King (courtesy of

Who would guess to see conservatives campaigning for the gay vote? Oddly enough, this isn’t exclusive to only UK’s political atmosphere.

If I dare say, I’d argue that there’s one ‘conservative party’ more gay-friendly than the Conservative Party of United Kingdom — The Free Democratic Party of Germany.

In 2004, Guido Westerwelle, the head chairman of the Free Democratic Party, attended Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 50th birthday party. At the event, Westerwelle was accompanied by his same-sex partner, Michael Mronz. Although he technically never hid it, Westerwelle finally acknowledged his homosexuality to the public, becoming the first openly gay head chairman of Germany’s most economically conservative political party.

I know what you’re thinking. The media backlash and pressures from his conservatives peers must have been brutal.

It was all so heinous that five years later in October, Westerwelle left his job to be sworn in as the first openly gay Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany.  His political career never recovered since.

Sarcasm aside, it seems “gay” and “conservative” are no oxymoron in Western Europe. This must be the horror Pat Robertson fears. A representative body of politicians that most closely meets the different demographics of a population. The United States should sever all contact with Europe in order not to contaminate our untainted political system.

In all honesty though, American politics has a ways to go before it allows itself to be this inclusive to the gay community.

Currently, there are only three openly gay House of Representatives — Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Jared Polis, D-Colo. — and zero openly gay Senators.

There are more than 430 house representatives and 100 Senators.

I’d argue Ohio’s gay population already out-balances the representation in Congress.

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