August 2, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
Gay GOP group barred from sponsoring CPAC

GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A gay Republican group that has riled critics on both the right and the left has been barred from full participation at an upcoming prominent national conservative convention.

Last week, the board for the American Conservative Union voted to deny GOProud the opportunity to co-sponsor the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, which is set to take place February in D.C. The gay group was a co-sponsor for the event in both 2010 and 2011.

The decision means GOProud won’t be able to pay to have a booth at the exhibition hall, nor will the organization have its name appear on promotional materials for CPAC 2012.

Kristy Campbell, spokesperson for the American Conservative Union, said ACU Chair Al Cardenas took the issue of GOProud’s participation — as well as other groups — to the board “given controversies surrounding a few CPAC 2011 co-sponsors” and “concerns raised by a number of our board members.”

The board, Campbell said, voted to bar GOProud from CPAC 2012 co-sponsorship. She declined to comment on the final vote tally for the decision, nor would she comment on the board’s reasoning for excluding the gay group from full participation at the event.

“As always, individual members of these organizations are welcome and encouraged to attend CPAC,” Campbell added. “We look forward to hosting an extraordinarily successful CPAC 2012 in our nation’s capital next February.”

GOProud wasn’t the only group that was excluded from full participation at CPAC. The board also voted to bar the John Birch Society, a political advocacy group that supports limited government and opposes economic interventionism and is known for holding extreme right-wing views. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the society as a “‘Patriot Group.”

Additionally, Campbell said the board also considered barring David Horowitz, a conservative author who writes about liberal political bias and indoctrination at universities. However, he was ultimately not barred from participating.

GOProud’s board members said in a joint statement they were “deeply disappointed” with the ACU’s decision to bar the organization from co-sponsorship at CPAC 2012 and said ACU has a “right to do so, but a decision like this will have consequences.”

“For the last two years, GOProud has sought to support CPAC and keep the conservative movement united,” the board members said. “Unfortunately, elements inside and outside of ACU have pushed their own narrow, divisive and sometimes personal agenda. They have done so at the expense of the conservative movement.”

The board members added that the ACU’s decision is “truly sad” because it comes at a time “when we should be united and focused on defeating Barack Obama” in the 2012 race for the White House.

“GOProud has been and will continue to be an outspoken proponent of conservative values and conservative policy,” the board said. “This organization will continue to work to bring conservatives of all stripes together to save this country and defeat the left. Obviously, that work will no longer be done at CPAC, but it will be done.”

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, declined to comment further on the decision to bar his organization from co-sponsorsing CPAC 2012 beyond the statement issued by the board of directors.

GOProud’s participation at CPAC had incurred the wrath of social conservative groups that pledged to boycott sponsorship of the event over the gay conservative group’s involvement. These groups include Family Research Council, Concerned Women For America, Liberty Counsel and Liberty University. In 2011, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a social conservative and Tea Party favorite, also declined to participate at CPAC.

Also last year, GOProud board chair Chris Barron took heat from conservatives after he described Cleta Mitchell, chair of the ACU Foundation, as “a nasty bigot” in an interview. Barron apologized, but ACU chair Cardenas told FrumForum that “it’s going to be difficult to continue the relationship” with GOProud and expressed disappointment in the group’s reaction to the furor over its participation at the event.

“I have been disappointed with their website and their quotes in the media, taunting organizations that are respected in our movement and part of our movement, and that’s not acceptable,” Cardenas was quoted as saying. “And that puts them in a difficult light in terms of how I view things.”

GOProud has also been criticized by many LGBT rights activists for, among other things, reaching out to Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann for potential support in 2012 race for the White House.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said his reaction to the ACU board’s vote to bar GOProud from CPAC 2012 depends on the reasoning for the decision.

“If the ACU board excluded any group based on sexual orientation, that is not OK,” Cooper said. “If the ACU decision, however, was due to unprofessional behavior by a sponsor, then it is well within reason for the ACU to decline sponsorship.”

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

18 Comments
  • You can’t build understanding from the outside. This group needs to understand that no matter how conservative they are – they are still seen as the pedophiles out to corrupt normal people. They are not welcome and never will be except for their votes.

    • And you are an ignorant homophobic bigot whose idiotic statement is in direct contradiction to the findings of every major scientific organization in the world. Thankfully, as always, you bigots are losing quite fast.

  • http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2011/08/17897/

    GOProud has always been as ridiculous as a clown raffle — and their current statement is just as absurd. In vain, they search to “bring conservatives of all stripes together” — which is useless when you are dealing with predatory leopards unwilling to change their anti-gay spots.

  • marc-no one sees gay groups as pedophiles-its fact that most pedophiles are hetereosexual white males-youre a bigot. Hopefully GOProud will stop self hating by associating with these monsters-the republican party is dying-gay equality is now the wish of teh majority-and it will grow every year, the republican party will die off unless they embrace equality for all-love seeing the repubs canniobalizing themselves!!

    • Norm, Actually, many in the GOP do see everyone in the LGBT community as a pedophile out to corrupt “their” young. Just look at the propaganda put out by GOP and other right wing organizations when it comes to their campaigns against non-discriminator use of a rest room facility. Every add depicts some “guy” in a dress trying to molest “their” daughters. This has happened repeatedly over the years and is still prevelent in the socila (un) consciousness of many concervative groups. They not only espouse that idea, they embrace it to give them an “Evil” to fight against so they don’t have to look themselves in the face and admit that it is the members of their own churches who commit the bulk of crimes against children.

    • I suspect you’ve misread Marc’s comment. I think he’s saying that with there are people within CPAC and on the ACU board who see gays as pedophiles and will regardless of the overwhelming and obvious evidence to the contrary. Regrettably, I suspect that’s completely correct. And while it may be technically true that no one, “see gay groups as pedophiles” there are some people who see gay groups as, well, groups of pedophiles. That’s why we’re out. That’s how we combat this nonsense.

  • I’m not yet ready to open fire. Calling the leader of the organizing body of an event you want to continue to participate in a “nasty bigot” isn’t normally the way to make friends and build relationships. And if that little contretemps was what led to GOPROUD’s exclusion, well, that’s kind of hard to argue – how many of you would play nice with someone busily calling you a hateful bigot.

    There are more and more LGBT folk of libertarian and conservative (primarily fiscally conservative, in my anecdotal experience) out there, participating and looking for a political home. And more and more libertarian and conservative folks in the majority community range from “don’t give a damn” to actively favoring

    And that’s a good thing unless we want to be marginalized as a captive political population that the DNC throws a sop to every decade or so to keep us on tenterhooks re actually being treated as an equal partner if we just support them vigorously enough. A population they don’t have to actually do anything for beyond throwing the occasional sop. Having out, proud, and ideally *effective within their party* LGBT folks on both sides of the aisle benefits us far more as a community than having all but the odd flyer on one side of the aisle.

    The more our community is seen as “in play”, available to be persuaded by either party, the greater the influence our community has on the political process.

    In the meantime, my question remains “Why?” before I’m willing to rush to judgement…

  • Wow, self-hating gay men are surprised that “conservative bigots” don’t want them sponsoring their convention. Maybe you should take a good look in the mirror boys. They may invite you to the table, but they’ll spit in your food.

  • lie down with dogs…

  • I’m sure once GOProud goes “Ex-Gay” CPAC will welcome it with open arms.

  • It is pathetic that go proud wants to be involved. Don’t they get it? They hate you. It’s that simple.

  • While this article was not un-informative I feel I got as much information by reading Roger Simon a week ago on PajamasMedia, when he (and Andrew Breitbart and other pro-gay rights conservatives) announced he would be boycotting CPAC if GOProud is banned (that seems to be missing from your article).

    You seemed to have failed to report that this action came AFTER CPAC and its sponsoring organization ACU had a change in leadership, as the people who originally invited GOProud to be a sponsor retired last year and new people now run the group.

    You also quote the Southern Poverty Law Center, which, whatever its past virtues (if any) now seems to be a self-parody of mendacious leftover parochialism. It maintains a blacklist of groups it labels “Patriots.” What does that say about them? It seems to be on the same moral and intellectual level as Janet Napolitano’s (please don’t come out and saddle the gay community with your sins Janet!) having DHS spy on people with Ron Paul bumperstickers.

    As usual most of the people posting attacks on GOProud here, from Wayne Besen to the complete unknowns, are often silly and tendentious, sometimes whoring after Obama and the Demwits who continue to temporize on delivering any goods (to gays or anyone else) while milking you as cash cows for donations. Far from being hated, GOProud has been sponsored by the most robust and influential tea party/limited government activists (especially those under 40 or 50), from Grover Norquist’s American for Tax Reform to Andrew Breitbart to Roger Simon at PJTV. And as one of the posters above noted GOProud was “bad mannered” in that they taunted all the “pro-family” anti-gay forces at CPAC last year who were so unmanly as to talk about GOProud behind their backs but not debate them to their faces. (Raising the question, since people “on the right” criticize each other all the time, if only gays are not allowed to be rude and confrontational in the CPAC leadership’s eyes.)

    But GOProud remains very popular. At their July Monaco Hotel event for Margaret Hoover’s new book “American Individualism” in DC, the 2/3 gay 1/3 straight audience was far bigger than the turnout at local Stonewall, HRC Federal Club, Gertrude Stein, GLAA, or CAGLCC events. At CPAC 2010 when a “pro-family” theologically inspired speaker attacked them, the younger set, mainly hundreds of libertarianish/Ron Paul college age CPAC registrants, almost shouted him off the stage. [At CPAC 2011 they shouted "war criminal" at Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.] What’s really going on here is the Republican and conservative think tank incumbotacrocy trying to protect itself from waves of change, from the tea parties, to Ron Paul, to gay Republicans. In that the GOP incumbatocracy are not unlike Obama and the Democrats.

    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi952nAd8PA

  • They are trying to square a circle, and it can’t be done. Chris Barron was right last February: Cleta Mitchell IS a nasty bigot; I watched her in action when she testified against marriage equality before the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. But she’s chair of the ACU Foundation; how did Barron expect them to react? But if you step back from that and consider all the lies and extreme proposals from the GOP in the past year, the amazing thing is that GOProud enthusiastically supports all of it excepting only the anti-gay part (well, ignoring their drooling over Ann Coulter and Donald Trump). They are little more than provocateurs, and love to imagine that they are constantly enraging the “gay left,” by which they mean all gay people who are not ultra-right-wing like them; but I know very few activists who take them seriously. My own column in Metro Weekly this week discusses them, but I doubt you’ll take it as a cry of alarm: http://www.metroweekly.com/news/opinion/?ak=6483

  • If you don’t know who Bruce Majors is, he is a far-right-wing Tea Party organizer. Check out TPM’s Troll Alert on him: http://tinyurl.com/25ryf5f

    • And if you don’t know who Rick Rosendall is, you can see him doing yeomen work for the gay community in a youtube I have saved on my blog, where he tells a reporter covering an event he is at to “drop dead” and then hisses at her over and over: http://bighomocon.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-tragic-homosexually-related.html. Rick has been defending the increasingly unpopular state schools (40% of DC kids now in charters with 5% leaving every year) because he is part of the slave trade (or one of its flaks) in black kids sold to the educrat cartel in exchange for Democratic Party donations. I don’t know that Rick’s shilling for human trafficking can be defended just because he hopes to get some rainbow crumbs from his political masters. (Supporting race slavery sounds pretty right wing to me Rick. Heil!)

      Rick and “Talking Points Memo” are performing the same function; smears in place of argument. Notice that Rick didn’t answer any of my detailed comments about the holes in the Blade article or the parochialism of the postings in reply to it.

      If you want to know about me you can also read an article by a former Talking Points Memo journalist written when working at The Daily Beast:
      http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-28/bruce-majors-an-unlikely-tea-partier/

  • And if you don’t know who Rick Rosendall is, you can see him doing yeomen PR work for the gay community in a youtube I have saved on my blog, where he tells a reporter covering an event he is at to “drop dead” and then hisses at her over and over: bighomocon.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-tragic-homosexually-related.html. Rick has been defending the increasingly unpopular state schools (40% of DC kids now in charters with 5% leaving every year) because he is part of the slave trade (or one of its flaks) in black kids sold to the educrat cartel in exchange for Democratic Party donations. I don’t know that Rick’s shilling for human trafficking can be defended just because he hopes to get some rainbow crumbs from his political masters. (Supporting race slavery sounds pretty right wing to me Rick. Heil!)

    Rick and “Talking Points Memo” are performing the same function; smears in place of argument. Notice that Rick didn’t answer any of my detailed comments about the holes in the Blade article or the parochialism of the postings in reply to it.

    If you want to know about me you can also read an article by a former Talking Points Memo journalist written when working at The Daily Beast:
    thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-28/bruce-majors-an-unlikely-tea-partier/

  • By the way, calling tea partiers right wing betrays limited, conventional, incumbentist/two party duopoly thinking.

    Polls show that the tea partiers are about 49% socially liberal/libertarian: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/the-tea-partys-other-half/

    and currently bloggers on the left predict the tea party will lead to defense cuts: http://comehomeamerica.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/tea-party-crushing-defense-hawks-on-military-budget/

  • By the way, calling tea partiers right wing betrays limited, conventional, incumbentist/two party duopoly thinking.

    Polls show that the tea partiers are about 49% socially liberal/libertarian: cato-at-liberty.org/the-tea-partys-other-half/

    and currently bloggers on the left predict the tea party will lead to defense cuts: comehomeamerica.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/tea-party-crushing-defense-hawks-on-military-budget/

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