After being repeatedly shut out, pro-gay Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson will be allowed to participate in the next GOP debate, on Fox:

Although Johnson announced his candidacy in April from New Hampshire, and he was allowed into the first Republican debate in South Carolina, organizers have shut him out ever since because of low poll numbers. Each debate organizer decides at which threshold it will set the bar for entry. Fox and Google are sponsoring the debate in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, and their rules require hitting 1% in five recent national polls.

Here’s the important part. I would disagree with Johnson on a whole lot of issues, but it’s refreshing to see a Republican making statements this strong:

When candidates such as Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann (and later Rick Perry) signed a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage to ban same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution, it was Johnson who scolded them.

“If candidates who sign this pledge somehow think they are scoring some points with some core constituency of the Republican Party, they are doing so at the peril of writing off the vast majority of Americans who want no part of this ‘pledge’ and its offensive language,” said Johnson. “The Republican Party cannot afford to have a presidential candidate who condones intolerance, bigotry and the denial of liberty to the citizens of this country. If we nominate such a candidate, we will never capture the White House in 2012.”

So often, the overtures made by Republicans to gay conservatives are completely milquetoast, imbued with absolutely no respect for the dignity of LGBT Americans. This, though, is the sound of a different tune.