Saturday, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum affirmed his support for Bruce Jenner as a transgender woman, explaining: “My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are.”

Are liberals ready to accept a proud, highly-public LGBT Republican? So far, it seems the answer is no.

This compassionate response defied the expectations of Republican intolerance fueled by liberal media outlets who continue to wildly speculate whether the GOP is ready to embrace a transgender Republican celebrity. Support from Republicans such as Santorum suggests that members of the GOP are indeed ready and willing to do so.

Are liberals ready to accept a proud, highly-public LGBT Republican? So far, it seems the answer is no.

But there’s another question that nobody has asked yet: Are liberals ready to accept a proud, highly-public LGBT Republican? So far, it seems the answer is no.

It makes sense that the news of a transgender conservative was initially disarming: The GOP has earned a reputation for exclusion, a stigma further compounded by the low percentage (21%) of LGBT individuals who identify as Republicans.   

But conservative support for marriage equality—and, by extension, identifying as a gay or transgender Republican—isn’t as counterintuitive as it might seem.

Consider, for instance, the more than 30,000 members of Log Cabin Republicans, the largest national coalition of LGBT conservatives and allies.

At Log Cabin Republicans, we believe there is no conflict between conservative principles and our endorsement of civil marriage equality. Rather, our group holds that legal same-sex marriage is a natural extension of the conservative doctrines of limited government, individual liberty, and a strong family unit.

There are, of course, those who disagree with this conservative point-of-view. But where these conflicts exist, conservatives can still find common, unifying ground. Most Republicans, for example, would likely endorse Jenner’s proud defense of his political affiliation: “Yeah [I’m a Republican]. I believe in the Constitution.”

Case in point: Santorum is just the latest Republican to receive Jenner with tolerance and compassion. Strident voices in the Republican Party have had no problem accepting Jenner as a faithful conservative.

Conservative icon Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform applauded Jenner as a “solid Reagan Republican,” and implored critics to “[l]eave [Jenner] alone.” Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) welcomed Jenner into the GOP, quipping, “…we need all the help we can get!”

These reactions focus on supporting shared interests—low taxes, broadening the Republican base—rather than exacerbating points of difference.   

Liberals, on the other hand, have openly struggled to reconcile Jenner’s transgender and political identities.

As one Twitter user emphatically explained, “#BruceJenner I was with ya til i [sic] read you’re a conservative Republican. No, no, no...”

According to another Tweet: “I’m open minded but I’m not sure I can accept #BruceJenner as a Republican.”

The closed-minded responses from the political left belie its reputation of tolerance and inclusion. And the implications of this stunning liberal hypocrisy are dangerous.

A preponderance of us-versus-them rhetoric on the left—you can be an LGBT ally or a Republican, but not both—thwarts opportunities for collaboration and joint advocacy across lines of difference.

Consider the recent backlash that ensued when two gay advocates hosted a meeting for presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The gathering was purportedly intended as an opportunity to discuss gay rights and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Sen. Cruz and his hotelier hosts disagreed on the former subject, but were in consensus on the latter.

The gay left slammed the pair—and boycotted their business—for hosting a Republican lawmaker known for his opposition to marriage equality.

The reasons for boycotting businesses owned by Ian Reisner abound, but being in conversation with someone with whom you may not entirely agree is not one of those reasons. Instead, it’s precisely this kind of dialogue—characterized by a mutual willingness to reach across the aisle—that should be lauded, rather than criticized.

These instances call attention to a liberal double-standard, one in which the GOP is accused of intolerance, and Bruce Jenner is shamed and ostracized for holding a minority point-of-view.

Conservatives appear ready to accept Bruce Jenner as a transgender member of the GOP—indeed, support keeps growing. Can the liberals who question conservative inclusion say the same?

Gregory T. Angelo is Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans.