After years of being turned away, the national LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans received notice on Wednesday that its application to become a sponsor of the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, has been approved, according to Log Cabin President Gregory Angelo.
Angelo announced what he called a “watershed moment” in Log Cabin’s history at the regularly scheduled meeting of the group’s D.C. chapter on Wednesday night.
“I couldn’t wait to share this news with all of you as so many of you have been asking me about this for probably a better part of a year now,” Angelo told the gathering, which included Jose Cunningham, the gay chair of the D.C. Republican Party.
“I’m happy to say, I’m pleased to say, I’m honored to say that this morning Log Cabin Republicans was accepted as formal sponsors at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference,” Angelo said.
His jubilant announcement came one year after Angelo and LGBT conservatives criticized the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual CPAC event, for rejecting Log Cabin’s request to become a sponsor on grounds that it wasn’t conservative enough and didn’t submit a proper application.
Last year’s rejection followed similar rejections of Log Cabin’s request to become a CPAC sponsor over the past several years. CPAC officials in past years had also refused to accept as a sponsor the conservative LGBT group GOProud.
Matt Schlapp, the ACU chair, has denied that his organization, which is considered the nation’s preeminent conservative advocacy group, turned down Log Cabin’s application in previous years because of anti-gay bias. Schlapp noted that many prominent conservative advocates who are gay have attended and participated in CPAC for many years.
A representative of the ACU and CPAC couldn’t immediately be reached by the Blade for comment.
At the D.C. Log Cabin meeting Wednesday night, Angelo said this year’s decision by CPAC to approve Log Cabin’s role as a sponsor – which enables the gay GOP group to set up an official booth at the event – came after nearly a year of negotiations.
“These negotiations with the American Conservative Union and CPAC were long,” he said. “They were challenging. They were often intense. But ultimately I think this is a watershed moment in Log Cabin Republicans’ history.”
In an interview with the Washington Blade following his announcement Wednesday night, Angelo said he isn’t sure of the internal process the ACU and CPAC officials used to approve the Log Cabin application. He said Log Cabin received CPAC’s notice of acceptance by email.
“After last year’s CPAC debacle, Log Cabin Republicans and myself personally had been in regular communication with the organization’s chairman, Matt Schlapp, and Executive Director Dan Schneider as well as with other members of the American Conservative Union staff,” Angelo said.
In what appeared to be a gesture of conciliation, Angelo said ACU officials attended Log Cabin’s national dinner last year.
“I think what we’re seeing here is two organizations that made a commitment a year ago to work together in good faith to an end that not only will ultimately benefit the American Conservative Union, Log Cabin Republicans, and CPAC but also the greater conservative movement – that we can move beyond this perennial fight between the two organizations every year and present a united front as we head toward CPAC and as we head toward the 2016 election,” Angelo said.
Angelo declined to disclose the cost of Log Cabin’s sponsorship for the CPAC event, but the CPAC website shows that the cost of the level of sponsorship that Angelo appeared to be describing Wednesday night is $7,500.