As anti-gay activists gather in Tampa today for the GOP convention, Vice President Joe Biden had some nice words to say about gay rights advocates.

“You are freeing the soul of the American people,” Biden said to loud applause during a stop in Provincetown, Mass., according to a pool report.

According to Politico, Biden honed in on the LGBT issues during his campaign speech at the Pilgrim Monument and Museum, which is located in a prominent gay community in Cape Cod. “If I had to use one adjective to describe this community it’d be courage,” Biden said. “You have summoned the courage to speak out, to come out. We owe you.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times took aim at two prominent Republicans — Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. According to an editorial in today’s NYT:

Mr. Ryan is best known as the face of Republican budget-cutting, though his ideology runs much deeper. For years, he has been a reliable vote against workplace equity for women, opposing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to file wage-discrimination lawsuits, and two similar measures.

The full outpouring of hard-right enthusiasm is based, to a large degree, on Mr. Ryan’s sweeping opposition to abortion rights. He has long wanted to ban access to abortion even in the case of rape, the ideology espoused in this year’s Republican platform. (Mr. Romney favors a rape exception.) Mr. Ryan also co-sponsored, along with Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, a bill that would have narrowed the definition of rape to reduce the number of poor women who can get an abortion through Medicaid.

Besides that, he has co-sponsored more than three dozen anti-abortion bills, including measures that would require women to get an ultrasound first, bar abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia and end federal spending for family planning programs. Though he urged Mr. Akin to end his Senate race last week over an offensive remark about “legitimate rape,” Mr. Ryan has actually co-sponsored more of these measures than Mr. Akin.

I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he said in 2010.

He also co-sponsored a bill last year to allow employers to decline coverage of birth control if it violated their moral or religious convictions, and his budget would end all government financing for Planned Parenthood while slashing spending on prenatal care and infant nutrition. Mr. Ryan’s record on gay rights is no less egregious. He supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and voted against the repeal of the military’s discriminatory don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy. In 2009, a decade after Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay, Mr. Ryan voted against a bill named after Mr. Shepard that expands the federal hate crimes act to include brutality based on sexual orientation.

In 1999, he even voted to prevent same-sex couples in the District of Columbia from adopting children. In a break with his party, however, he supported a 2007 bill outlawing job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Times columnist Paul Krugman took aim at Christie, calling him a phony:

Mr. Christie talks a good (and very loud) game about his willingness to make tough choices, making big claims about spending cuts — claims, by the way, that PolitiFact has unequivocally declared false. And for the past year he has been touting what he claims is the result of those tough choices: the “Jersey comeback,” the supposed recovery of his state’s economy.

Strange to say, however, Mr. Christie has told reporters that he won’t use the term “Jersey comeback” in his keynote address. And it’s not hard to see why: the comeback, such as it was, has hit the skids. Indeed, the latest figures show his state with the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Strikingly, New Jersey’s 9.8 percent unemployment rate is now significantly higher than the unemployment rate in long-suffering Michigan, which has had a true comeback thanks to the G.O.P.-opposed auto bailout.

Meanwhile, the Log Cabin gay Republicans head down to Tampa to put a happy face on a homophobic convention:

“The world is changing,” said Sarah Longwell, a member of the leadership committee of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. “The majority of young conservatives under the age of 40 believe in marriage equality, and if their party wants to stay relevant — wants to continue to grow and acquire new members — it’s going to find itself needing to rethink its position on gay marriage pretty soon.”

Ms. Longwell also is a member of the national board of directors for Log Cabin Republicans.

“A lot of people think it’s an oxymoron, but Log Cabin Republicans think it’s important to be at the table and persuade the party we belong to get on the right side of history,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “A big part of participating in the convention is being at the convention and working with Republicans on the next frontier: marriage equality.”

Polls show a clear generational divide within the Republican Party when it comes to gay rights issues, and gatherings in Tampa this weekend seemed to bear that out.

We wish the Log Cabin Republicans well and hope they have some luck changing at least a few minds. Unlike those self-loathing shame hobbits, GOProud and Gay Patriot, Log Cabin does some useful work making inroads with conservatives. Still, it is an uphill battle because the GOP is controlled by extremists like the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer who did not mince words about gay Republicans:

“They have no business being there. Our message is to them is that your home is in the Democratic Party,” said Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, a conservative radio host and a leading anti-gay figure in the GOP.

“These groups are actively working to undermine and subvert the Republican party platform and the principles of the Republican Party,” Mr. Fischer said in a telephone interview. “They are undermining the moral foundations of the Republican Party.”

It’s no matter to him that Log Cabin Republicans support nearly every other party platform from tax policy to gun rights.

“There is no place for the homosexual agenda,” he said. “The Republican platform is very clean on the issues of marriage and family and parenting, and these are people that are actively working against the principles of the party.”

What do our readers think? Will the Republican convention devolve into an anti-gay, anti-abortion orgy? Or will the adults keep a lid on the crazies so Romney can focus on his economic message that was thrown off kilter by Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks? Either way, the strippers are the big winners when “family values” Republicans saunter into town.