Meghan McCain, Pro Gay-Marriage GOP Star, Stirs Up College Controversy

by Steve Weinstein

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday January 19, 2010

Megan McCain has emerged from the shadow of her father, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, as a forceful voice for a fundamental change in the party, especially concerning gay rights.

A columnist for the Daily Beast, McCain, 25, describes herself as a "a woman who despises labels and boxes and stereotypes." Of all issues, she has made gay rights, in her words, "one of the ones closest to my heart."

As such, she has become the darling of the Log Cabin crowd and the bête noire of the party's right wing. She has often come into conflict with religious conservatives and the Tea Party movement.

Now, McCain finds herself squarely in the middle of a new controversy. George Washington University's Allied in Pride student group invited McCain to be the keynote speaker in its "Marriage Equality Week" program. But McCain was also booked to speak at the Washington, D.C., university's event "Redefining Republican: No Labels, No Boxes, No Stereotypes" on Feb. 9.

"She a different type of Republican," Michael Komo, the president of Allied in Pride, told The Hatchet, the student newspaper. "We thought her input would be helpful on the subject of marriage and the future of the GOP."

But George Washington's College Republicans weren't so enthusiastic. "Our executive board was told that Meghan McCain's primary focus would be her opinion on what it means to be a Republican," a spokesperson for the club told the Hatchet. "We later discovered through her Twitter and subsequent conversations with the SA and [the Graduate School of Political Management] that she would be giving the keynote address for Marriage Equality Week."

The GOP club claims it was not told McCain would be at the school as part of a marriage equality event. McCain's booking agency is reportedly receiving $7,500 as a speaking fee via Greater Talent Network in New York.

Comments at the ultra-right blog site Free Republic were predictably dismissive.

"A Republican who celebrates perverts and freaks. She's no conservative," wrote one. "She is even more obnoxious than that nutjob who sired her," said another, referring to father, much hated as a "RINO" (Republican in name only) by the ultra-right.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).