SOME IN GOP NOW WILLING TO BE SEEN IN PUBLIC WITH GAYS…. The headline in this morning’s Roll Call seemed odd and poorly timed: “Pro-Gay Groups Find New Allies in the GOP.”

After years of sending in their regrets, Republicans are RSVPing yes to gay causes more than ever.

Prominent GOP lobbyists, activists and Members of Congress will attend or lend their names to two big gay rights events tonight, including one co-hosted by Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee chairman and George W. Bush campaign manager who recently announced he was gay. […]

At the same time as the New York event, the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, will hold its national dinner in Washington, D.C. Among those attending the Log Cabin dinner or cocktail reception at the Capitol Hill Club are the anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

I suppose if we’re operating under the “soft bigotry of low expectations” rule, then sure, this development is something resembling a breakthrough. For as long as anyone can remember, Republicans would avoid events like these, but now, to the chagrin of the religious right, the NRSC chief is even willing to attend a Log Cabin Republican event in person.

But it’s a real stretch to suggest that Republicans have turned over a new leaf when it comes to respect and acceptance for minorities, especially right now. It was, after all, just yesterday that every member of the Senate Republican caucus killed a bill to fund the military because it included a provision that could lead to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Maybe Cornyn could take a moment to explain his support for the filibuster at tonight’s event.

For that matter, we also saw this occur yesterday.

A slur against gays left on the blog Joe.My.God was traced back to the Atlanta office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on Tuesday. Chambliss has confirmed to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that he is investigating whether one of his staffers left the comment, which suggested that all gays “must die.”

Blog readers helped trace the IP address of the commenter to either Chambliss’ office or the office of Sen. Johnny Isakson, nearby…. Chambliss confirmed that the comment came from his office, but he is not yet concluding that one of his staffers left it.

Hmm. How common is it, exactly, for random people to enter the senator’s office, sit down at one of the senator’s computers, and issue death threats against gays on a blog’s comments section? What kind of operation is Chambliss running?

Nevertheless, for all the talk about the LGBT community “finding new allies in the GOP,” I think the party has a very long way to go.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.