By Kathy Potts
I am a proud evangelical Christian Republican and a native of Mississippi. I moved to Iowa and fell in love with the political process here during caucus season.
I love how candidates crisscross the state and make a point to engage with voters. I love that voters can sit down with candidates and ask them the questions that we the voters ó not the media ó want to present.
2011 was a big year for Republicans. We saw leaders emerge and saw candidates drop out. We saw job creation and education being seriously debated, and I felt that the concerns of the American people were heard ó for the most part.
What I didnít hear much of this year was support for marriage equality from the Republican front-runners. I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples and have been vocal about my support, even when it hasnít always been the popular thing to do in my party.
I heard a lot of rhetoric about gay and lesbian Americans that didnít fit with what I know to be true and what many Republicans believe. As an evangelical Christian Republican, I know many people who hold conservative values like equality and freedom, but those voices were lost this year. However, I believe in my heart that things are changing. If it werenít for the loud voices of a few in our party, I do believe more Republicans would stand up in support of marriage equality.
I didnít always feel that way and my journey toward full support has been a long and intensive one. One of the things that changed my mind on this issue was my children. I used to watch my kids and wonder why equality is a non-issue with them. They love and support their friends, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, gender or religion.
Then I realized that I was tired of watching adults judge each other while my children could embrace the differences in their friends. After all, that is what being a Christian is all about.
What I learned from the 2012 Republican Caucus was this: If we donít stand together this year, we will lose. What is our party if not the party of freedom? This is a matter of freedom, and I want people to be free. Itís the American thing to do.Kathy Potts, of Cedar Rapids, is a new member of the Iowa Republicans for Freedom and its advisory board. She is the former Linn County Republican Party chair and most recently served as the Republican committee chair for the Rick Perry for President campaign. In January, Potts was featured in a CNN report looking at ďdie-hardĒ Republican volunteers who campaigned for candidates (http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/31/politics/iowa-true-believers/index.html). Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org