December 11, 2009 | by Chris Johnson
Gay group to co-sponsor conservative convention

A gay conservative group will co-sponsor a prominent national conservative convention next year and could have a speaking role at the engagement.

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, told DC Agenda on Tuesday that his group will be among those sponsoring the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is set to take place in D.C. in February.

“It’s the most important annual gathering of conservatives in the country,” he said. “And it’s important for gay people and gay conservatives to have a voice at that conference. And we’re glad to be there and to provide that representation.”

LaSalvia said his group contributed $4,000 — the minimum amount needed — to co-sponsor the conference. He said it’s unclear at this point whether GOProud’s sponsorship means one of its members will speak at the event, but noted that information should emerge in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for CPAC didn’t immediately respond to DC Agenda’s request for comment.

It’s not the first time a gay group has been among the sponsors for CPAC. In 2005, the Log Cabin Republicans was among the co-sponsors.

Patrick Guerriero, then-president of Log Cabin, and Chris Barron, now GOProud’s board chair but then Log Cabin’s political director, represented the organization at the event, according to ABC News.

At the time, ABC News reported that the American Conservative Union, which coordinates CPAC, wanted to have Guerriero debate Family Research Council President Tony Perkins during a panel discussion.

But a conservative source told ABC News that the Family Research Council wouldn’t participate in the debate and hinted it might withdraw its co-sponsorship unless the panel was canceled. A Family Research Council spokesperson denied that her organization threatened to withdraw its sponsorship, but the panel never took place.

LaSalvia said he’s not expecting GOProud’s sponsorship of next year’s CPAC to be controversial.

“I mean, we’re conservatives just like the other participants of the conference, and so we’ll be there as part of the conservative movement,” he said

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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