ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THEBLAZE:
Gay rights and same sex marriage are two of the most controversial and debated topics in society today.
Unfortunately, that debate carries a lot of labeling. The media, the left and their activists love to brand the Democratic Party as the party for gays and gay rights.
I know that’s not true.
I was lucky enough to interview Drew Vanderford, a 24-year-old conservative from Mississippi. Drew and I got connected via Twitter and have become close friends. When Drew told me he was gay, he also told me that he was disappointed that more gay conservatives had not come forward and spoken openly about their beliefs.
It wasn’t an easy decision for him to accept the interview, but at the end of the day, he realized that he could be the one to stand up and break the stereotypes.
To start off, I asked him about his life before being a conservative:
“I actually remember wearing a Kerry/Edwards sticker in 2004. I was very young and had just come out. From what little I knew about politics, I thought that I had to like Democrats because they said they liked people such as me and that’s all that mattered. I saw all of the celebrities and media endorsing Kerry and that appealed to me. The more I grew, learned about taxes and actual issues that meant something to me; I realized I shouldn’t pigeon-hole myself into only being a Democrat because of social issues. They are important to me, but they are further down the list.”
Unfortunately for conservatives, this is a major issue. Too many young people focus on what the media, celebrities and stereotypes tell them.That’s why it is vital that America’s millennials continue to swing towards conservatism , despite those setbacks.
He went on to tell me why he decided to become conservative, making some very interesting and crucial points.
“I am a conservative because I care more about the economy and our nation’s security more than I do the government recognizing my relationship with someone. Yes, my relationship with someone is important, but it is just one part of me. A big part, but none of it matters if my bank account is empty, I have no job, our borders aren’t secure and our nation isn’t respected around the world. To vote solely on that part of me just doesn’t make sense. I wish gays would try to make up their minds for themselves…. Republicans line up with my thinking more.”
As a supporter of conservative policies and the GOP, he still believes they have a “ways to go.”
He continued, “I think the Republican Party is shifting, as is the country. I think conservative politicians need to realize that there is a large group of very intelligent, creative, small business-minded people out there who just want to go to work, contribute, fight for our country or volunteer. They just so happen to be attracted to someone of the same sex. These people aren’t to be feared. They want the same things you and your family do. Their families just look slightly different. I think as a party, we are on the right track.”
With respect to the term “marriage”, Drew goes back and forth on his belief.
“First off, I think we could all agree that a world where you can be fired for which gender you are interested in probably needs to be changed. I also think gay people should have the same rights as a straight couple when it comes to the government (hospital visits, insurance, etc.) Beyond that I think it should be between you, your church, partner, or whatever guides you, as to what you call your relationship.”
As a heterosexual, Christian, conservative teen, I completely agree with him.
I commend Drew for his courage and bravery to stand up for his beliefs and morals, despite the empty rhetoric and stereotypes we hear from the left. I personally know many more gay conservatives, who unlike Drew are too scared to come forward and say that enough is enough.
Not only is the Republican Party becoming more inclusive to minorities and the LGBT community, but their policies prove it. Through thick and thin, conservative policies can help all Americans get a job and succeed within the greatest country on Earth.
Hopefully, at some point, more lawmakers will join together and also say that “enough is enough” and stand by courageous men and women like Drew.
Contact Benji Backer on Twitter @BenjiBacker or at [email protected]
Have a comment or question for Drew? Contact him @DrewVanderford.