First, nearly all the gay Republicans working in Washington or elsewhere are to one degree or another closeted. Second, very few Republican officials care whether someone is gay.While the poster denies this is hypocritical, I'd disagree. On the other hand, the same claim could be made about Democratic politician attitudes to gay marriage. They know it should be legal, but won't say it.
From the top of the party to the bottom, few Republicans personally and viscerally dislike gay people. President Bush has had friends he knew were gay. So has Vice President Cheney. Even the most prominently and vigorously anti-gay Republican, Sen. Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum, had a gay spokesperson whom he defended when his homosexuality became known.
The big, open secret in Republican politics is that everyone knows someone gay these days and very few people – excepting some committed anti-gay activists – really care. It’s one of the things that drives religious conservatives crazy because it makes the party look like it’s not really committed to traditional sexual morality.
So to keep religious conservatives happy the party has done two things. First, it has steadfastly resisted efforts to ease anti-gay discrimination in public policy, even when Republican politicians know better. I can’t tell you how many Republican staffers told me, for example, that their bosses privately opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment but would be voting for it anyway.
The Democrats come out much better than the Republicans on this issue overall - I think the Republicans also, mostly know that gay marriage should be legal, and the Republicans are much worse on all other gay issues. But the Democrats aren't blameless.
For what it's worth, I think Edwards and possibly Obama are leaving the door open to supporting or at least being truly neutral on gay marriage in the near future, possibly before or during their second presidential term if elected. It's something, but it's no guarantee, it'll likely depend on polling, and it's not perfect.