GOProud Gets To Go Back to CPAC As Guests. Just One Question: Why? UPDATE


For years, GOProud’s leaders loved to make hay out of the fact that they were banned from CPAC, the right-wing jamboree at which all the neuroses that are destroying the Republican party are celebrated. But with the departure of founders Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron, CPAC organizers are willing to show that they are big enough to allow gay people in their presence. 

“We welcome GOProud’s attendance at this year’s CPAC conference,” Dan Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which runs the conference, told the National Journal. “I believe their presence could help establish a productive relationship in the future.”

In case you were thinking this was progress of sorts, the GOProud attendees, Ross Hemminger and Matt Bechstein, will be attending only as guests. They are not sponsored and they will not have a booth. Just to put that in perspective, the John Birch Society, the radical right organization that thought President Eisenhower was a Communist, will have a booth.

Why the about face? It’s not that the CPAC organizers have gone soft. They are every bit as opposed to all things gay as they ever were. If anything, it’s because of the departure of LaSalvia, who got into a public spat with the ACU by calling board member Cleta Jones a “nasty bigot.” Hemminger and Bechstein, former summer interns who have taken over GOProud, are more pliable and happy to accept second-class status.

“We want to help grow the Republican Party,” said Bechstein. “Our agenda is to get Republicans—ideally pro-gay Republicans—elected.”

LaSalvia, who has now decided that the Republican party isn’t really all that gay-friendly, says he wouldn’t have taken the offer.  “I was still running GOProud,” he told Slate’s Dave Weigel, “I wouldn’t accept a three-fifths invitation to CPAC.”

Keeping the feud running would have been a smart media move. But realistically the policy differences between CPAC and GOProud came down to a single issue. Otherwise, there was no daylight between the two. Clearly, that single issue isn’t any longer enough of a principle to deter GOProud.

UDPATE: GOProud co-founder Chris Barron has resigned from the group’s board to protest the organization’s willingness to attend CPAC. “I cannot in good conscience sit by and watch as the current leadership of the organization disingenuously pawns off an unconditional surrender to the forces of bigotry as some sort of ‘compromise,’” Barron told BuzzFeed. “Nothing has changed in regards to GOProud and CPAC, GOProud does not have a booth, they are not a sponsor, they are not participating in any formal sense — individual members can attend and that’s exactly the terms ACU dictated the previous few years.”

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  • Mezaien

    TO ALL Republican, Christian who think they are whiter then I am! stop luting the USA.

  • Fitz

    Why? Because they are sad little quislings with self-esteem issues. How many times do you crash a party where you aren’t welcome? Where the theme of the party is mostly about how to attack you and your family? Didn’t they have moms who taught them any better? Mine did. I don’t go where I’m not welcome, unless it’s to fight.

  • Cam

    So they let them in to bus the tables all the while the speakers will fight to see who can endorse the most anti-gay bill possible knowing that GOProud will support them no matter what.

    Don’t forget, the majority of the board is not gay on that group. They were created to give cover to the GOP on gay issues.

  • the other Greg

    GOProud “will not have a booth.”

    Well, maybe in the men’s restroom.

  • BJ McFrisky

    The GOP actually welcomes us in most circles, it was CPAC who had the spat with LaSalvia when the religious Right got involved. But the bottom line is, votes. The GOP is fracturing, and they don’t want to alienate more voters than necessary. Hence, the cease-fire.

  • SteveDenver

    @BJ McFrisky: What GOP circles do you run in? Check out the GOP in the conservative south and it’s not as friendly as you suggest.

    GOPrude is intent on getting Republicans elected, meanwhile they’re getting married, adopting and enjoying the product of efforts to which they did not contribute and actually helped obstruct.

  • litper

    @BJ McFrisky: ugly right-wing troll and liar!

    What about that nasty anti-gay piece of paper that republicans try so hard to pass in several states this week?

  • Harley

    Welcome to the back of the bus GOProud. Just don’t even think about sitting in a damn seat. Those are reserved for the white str8 Christians.

  • dougmc92

    they are invited as of now- once the news gets around- the protests and boycott threats will start and they will be uninvited.

  • LifeNewbie20s

    Once again, the gays are just rolling over. This situation needed to be topped.

  • Mdterp01

    I don’t know much about GOProud but I’m imagining its even whiter than the GOP.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    BJ, that isn’t true. The GOP in multiple states at this moment is trying to pass laws allowing discrimination against gays.

    Shame on you for lying just to back up your party. It’s sad when you feel that you cannot tell the truth because the truth would kill your stated opinion.

  • BJ McFrisky

    I speak from experience dealing personally with people who affiliate as both Republicans and Democrats, as well as a lot of libertarians. What’s your experience? Blogs? MSNBC? Tell you what: Go out and join any right-of-center group that’s not based in religion and tell them you’re gay—contrary to how you’ve been indoctrinated, they won’t hang you from the highest limb and set you on fire. Rather, they’ll welcome you (not that you’d ever be courageous enough to attempt such an experiment, because being a dyed-in-the-wool hater is so much easier than thinking for oneself.)

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Notice how BJ will desperately try to pick a non-specific fight, but when you point out specific things to him, such as the fact that GOP politicians in multiple states are trying to pass anti-gay laws right at this moment he will ignore that.

    His post was made nearly 10 hours after mine and directed right at him, yet he completely ignores anything specific because he can’t argue with it.

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