February 23, 2015 at 11:00 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Log Cabin accepts invite to speak at CPAC
Gregory Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade

Log Cabin executive director Gregory Angelo says he’ll speak on a CPAC panel. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

In a new development over its alleged inability to sponsor the Conservative Political Action Conference, Log Cabin Republicans has agreed to accept an invitation to speak at an upcoming panel during the event.

Gregory Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, announced in a statement on Monday that he’s set to represent his organization in a discussion titled “Putin’s Russia: A New Cold War?”

The panel is scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday at the conference, which is taking place at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, Md.

“Now is not the time to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” Angelo said. “Log Cabin Republicans will continue working toward full sponsorship of future CPACs. In the meantime, I look forward to bringing the gay conservative perspective to CPAC 2015 on behalf of Log Cabin Republicans, as well as the message that when conservatives focus on unity rather than division, we win.”

Others set to speak on the panel are neo-conservative writer Seth Cropsey, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, Foundation for Defense of Democracies Cliff May President, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Ph.D history candidate Amanda Bellows.

In a statement last week, Log Cabin accused the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, of denying the group the opportunity to co-sponsor the event. Although Log Cabin said it was told by CPAC organizers the gay group wasn’t conservative enough, Log Cabin insisted the reason it was rejected is because it’s an LGBT organization.

Denying a group co-sponsorship of CPAC for being a gay organization would be consistent with organizers’ decision in the past to bar from the event GOProud, a now-defunct gay conservative group, despite the organization credentials as a right-leaning organization.

The American Conservative Union responded to the accusation by saying Log Cabin had never formally applied to co-sponsor the event, but Log Cabin provided the Washington Blade an email sent to CPAC organizers with an explicit ask for co-sponsorship.

Angelo on Monday addressed the controversy in the few days, expressing regret if individuals believed they were unfairly characterized as anti-gay.

“There has been a great deal of confusion over the last 48 hours regarding the Log Cabin Republicans role in CPAC 2015,” Angelo said. “After some very fruitful conversations with the leadership of the American Conservative Union, we would like to express regret if anyone associated with The American Conservative Union felt unfairly maligned. That was never our intention.”

Asked by the Blade whether CPAC organizers continued to deny Log Cabin co-sponsorship during discussions that followed last week, Angelo replied, “Sponsorship wasn’t in the cards this year, but that doesn’t mean LCR won’t keep pushing for it in the future. We will.”

“That said, this is an important opportunity to show LCR is more than just ‘the gay marriage Republicans,’ and to bring a unique perspective to CPAC not represented anywhere else during this year’s conference,” Angelo continued.

Ross Hemminger, an American Conservative Union spokesperson, said the invitation to bring Log Cabin on to the CPAC panel was intended to make for a more “meaningful” experience when asked if the decision was the result of the controversy that emerged last week.

“We wanted to find a way to make LCR’s presence at CPAC meaningful for them and for our attendees, and we felt Gregory would bring an excellent perspective on the Putin’s Russia panel,” Hemminger said.

Jimmy LaSalvia, former executive director of GOProud, was unimpressed with the American Conservative Union offering Log Cabin the opportunity to speak at a CPAC panel. Since departing GOProud, LaSalvia has left the Republican Party.

“The ACU has tried to find a way to kind of include gay conservatives without totally including them ever since they caved to the anti-gay bigots in their coalition and kicked out GOProud in 2011,” LaSalvia said. “All you have to do is read the Bible to know that there is not a half-way solution to questions of right and wrong, splitting the baby never works. Until they make things totally right, the message is the same and bigotry continues to stain the conservative movement.”

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

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