When last we heard from GOProud, it was celebrating a pitiful victory: being able to attend CPAC, the big right-wing shindig from which it had previously been banned. As it turns out, that will be the last we’ll ever hear from GOProud. The organization dedicated to proving that LGBT wingnuts can be just as obnoxious as their straight counterparts is going out of business
In a story broken by the Bilerico Project, GOProud first denied that it was shutting its doors, saying “Nothing could be further from the truth,”( except, possibly, GOProud itself). But eventually the group’s leaders found the appropriate spin and fessed up.
“We’re leaving GOProud behind and re-branding the chapters,” Executive Director Matthew Bechstein told Bilerico Project. “There have been concerns among our members and investors about whether or not we can continue to grow and be effective without severing ourselves from past controversies,” Bechstein said in a separate statement.
The past controversies to which Bechstein refers are numerous. Founders Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia love to wallow in controversy, making endless political hay out of the fact that the group was banned from having a booth at CPAC. The pair left the group just over a year ago, but only after blazing a trail deep into the forest of political offensiveness, including support for U.S. soldiers desecrating the corpses of dead Taliban soldiers, endorsing a string of candidates who were openly antagonistic to gay causes, and waiting until January of last year to endorse marriage equality, but only as a state-by-state effort.
Bechstein and Ross Hemminger took over the reins upon the departure of the dynamic duo and seemed interested in a more conciliatory approach to the right-wing base which despises them for who they are. Thus their attendance at the CPAC convention last February, but only as guests. Barron was so infuriated by the move that he resigned from GOProud’s board of directors. In the meantime, LaSalvia gave new meaning to the word “belatedly” by announcing he was leaving the Republican party because it was homophobic.
Bechstein insisted to Bilerico Project that the group’s dissolution is a technicality, because it plans to re-form. “Technically, as some argue, this would be a legal closure,” he emailed. “But if it were to actually happen, it would only be momentary and certainly not the end of our organization.”
However, as the Bilerico Project story makes clear, Bechstein’s ideas for reconstituting GOProud are wrong. Once the group is dissolved, it’s gone. A whole new group would have to be formed in its place. What are the odds of that? Our guess is about the same odds that GOProud had of getting a booth at CPAC.