The 3 Things I Learned At GOProud’s Happy Hour

We forgot to mention that I attended GOProud’s happy hour this weekend at the Right Online conference in Minneapolis. You know, GOProud, the “gay Republican” group loves Ann Coulter and supports anti-gay candidates. They’re usually known for hosting boring parties, but I actually had fun at their hotel lobby shindig. So what if they didn’t have an open-bar? I simply grabbed a four dollar glass of Coke and learned three very important things:

1) The very friendly Jimmy LaSalvia graciously took time out of his busy mingling to take photos with me and three others, all who had blinding camera flashes. His bright tan seemed inappropriate so early into the summer and his sandy blonde hair reminded me of a California surfer.

“Your blog calls me Farrah,” he told me.

“Really?” I asked, “As in Farrah Fawcett? Why is that?”

“I dunno,” he responded, “I guess it’s because of the hair.”

“It’s just sour grapes,” I replied. “You have amazing hair.”

And he did. Not a single strand out of place.

Later on, someone told me that older, over-tanned gay men sometimes get called “Mermaid’s purses.” Apparently a mermaid’s purse is a shark’s egg sack that gets washed up on the beach and left to crack and dry out on the sunny shore.

“That’s retched,” I said, thinking I’ll have to remember that.

2) Of the eight people I met my entire 90 minutes at the GOProud Happy Hour, I met not a single gay person nor a single bonafied member of GOProud. Everyone I met identified as straight and said that they came to show LaSalvia support.

I asked where Chris Barron was—because despite any political disagreements I might have with the man, I still wanted to see his washboard abs—someone told me “He’s home with a bleeding ulcer.”

“Ouch!” I said, imagining poor Mr. Barron, lying shirtless on the couch, a forlorn arm thrown across his sweaty brow, badly in need of apple juice and a nurse’s touch.

Everyone also had perfect teeth.

3) I had in-depth conversations with three different happy hour attendees: a drunk young woman who had glitter-bombed herself earlier that afternoon and still had sparkling confetti on her name tag and breasts, a large dark-skinned man who believed that states banning marriage equality will eventually suffer economically, and a very friendly Mormon father who wanted to know more about New York’s Marriage Equality Bill.

In short, all three of those people agreed that they would support marriage equality with religious protections for “conscientious objectors”—namely, legal exemptions that religious organizations to refuse accommodating gays on “moral grounds.”

I’ve already said that I don’t the government forcing churches to do anything. If marrying or adopting to two homos offends them, fine. Don’t force ’em to do it. I support the idea for two reasons:

a) It takes the wind out of the sails of anti-gay orgs who say that their stances against marriage equality iare based on religious freedom. Want religious freedom? Fine… now you’re free to discriminate openly against queers and we’re free to keep drawing attention to that fact. You can’t get sued (yet), but you can get smeared in the press.

b) As time marches on, it will become less and less socially acceptable for religions or anybody to discriminate against queers. Religious exceptions may let conservatives breathe easy about “freedom of religion” for now… but as more and more churches accept LGBT congregants and pink dollars, the day will come when even those exemptions will get dismantled in order to stay culturally relevant.

So could “religious exemptions” be the conservative middle ground that allows queers and Republicans to finally move forward together on this issue? I would have asked Chris Barron, but as I said, he wasn’t there.

Poor, hot, suffering, sexy Chris.

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  • Dave

    The thing about religious freedom exceptions that people tend to forget is that not everything a church does is a religious activity. Church bus drivers have to obey traffic laws. Church bakesales have to obey health and safety laws.

    If a church wants to rent out its spaces, then it has to obey public accommodation laws, and if it wants to run an adoption agency, then it has to obey all applicable laws there, too. If it employs people, it has to obey employment laws. The mere fact that the organization is religious doesn’t mean that all of its activities are religious activities, and a religious belief doesn’t exempt anyone from complying with religion-neutral laws that regulate non-religious activities.

    Should churches be forced to religiously marry anyone? Of course not. They can discriminate for whatever reasons they like–even race or religion. But that’s already the case, and always has been, and is in no danger of changing.

    The other problem is that it’s a short, short leap from a religious organization engaged in secular activity claiming that their religion protects them to a religious individual engaged in secular activity claiming the same. It might not seem like a problem when a church doesn’t want its annex used for gay weddings, but it’s a much bigger problem when a landlord is refusing to rent to gay couples, or a pediatrician is refusing to recognize a patient’s gay parents.

    Any religious exception would at best affirm the law that already exists and is already protected at a much higher level–the first amendment–and is therefore a complete waste of time. Any stronger protection–one that protects religious organizations or individuals engaged in wholly secular activity–creates a positive injustice.

  • Ganondorf

    retched? Hmmm. Anyway, that’s hilarious about the mermaid’s purse. Older men are not attractive, and the pretense that some employ to evade that fact intensifies the effect. Sounds like you had a nice time at the party, Daniel. Are you related to a certain evolutionary biologist, by chance?


    No open bar?!

    Tacky queens.

  • Politically Incorrect Thug

    Like a cool summer breeze, GOProud drifts in to refresh the currently stagnant atmosphere of the gay community. Refreshing indeed.

  • dazzer

    Daniel, you’re one hell of a lot hotter than the slightly melted Ken doll you’re standing next to.

  • Fausto Fernos

    I fucking love Chris Barron’s abs, but not his politics. I wish we could have hung out at this party together David, we would have torn up the place.

  • Elloreigh

    @Dave: Exactly. No special rights for anti-gay businesses and individuals who want to discriminate on “moral” grounds because of their religious beliefs. Not unless we get an equal right to discriminate against people supporting what we consider the immoral positions of certain church hierarchies (well, not even then – since I think any form of undue discrimination is just plain wrong).

    The other thing that seems to be overlooked in this equation is the kind of precedent this would set. Other states will try to copy those exemptions if they fly in New York – and they won’t necessarily be attached to marriage laws in those copycat instances.

    We’re basically looking at an issue unrelated to the civil recognition of a same-sex couples’ marriage – one that could have fairly dire consequences for anti-discrimination laws and the people they protect.

    Seriously: This looks very much to me like an attempt to find a way around the precedent set in Romer and the equal protection clause of the 14th.

  • John White

    Umm…boring parties? They’re parties have been pretty big so far. Obviously, you don’t have a good enough memory to remember their February CPAC party. As for LaSalvia, he’s a handsome guy for his age. Good hair, good teeth. Probably he just gets tan from walking around DC every day. Same thing happened to me when I lived there years ago.

    And why do you keep bringing up Chris Barron? He wasn’t there and had nothing to do with the event. Stop being infatuated.

  • An Ella Fan


    Quote: “Older men are not attractive, and the pretense that some employ to evade that fact intensifies the effect..”

    Just when you thought shallowness couldn’t get any deeper…..

    +100 on a snark scale of 1 to 10

  • Jason

    @Ganondorf: Older men aren’t attractive? Dude what planet are you on? Give me a Tom Ford or a George Clooney over any 30 year old any day. As for LaSalvia, I’ve seen him in person, and yeah, he does look like a melted Ken doll, but if that’s the look he’s going for, that’s his prerogative.

  • Ganondorf


    30? Criminy, you’re blowing bubbles in your apple sauce, gramps. I’m glad that you’ve found happiness in in older men, but you are not the norm, and for good reason. And you never will be.

    @An Ella Fan:

    Thankya thankya. I’ve anticipated the impetus behind this charge and the subsequent response in another thread, however.

  • Robert in NYC

    Dave, you make some interesting points. Actually, the roman cult of which I was once a member but long since renounced, would refuse to marry a divorced catholic and would not marry a couple of a different faith either. One of the two must be a catholic, unlike some other christian denominations where it doesn’t matter. I personally don’t have any problem with any religion deciding who it will and will not marry.

    That said, if religions want added protections not just for themselves but for other individuals whose religious beliefs would be in conflict with exemption laws as we’re seeing in the re-wording of the NYS marriage equality bill, then I think its only fair that gay businesses and individuals should be allowed to discriminate against religious people who oppose us or offend our beliefs for any reason. If we’re not allowed to bring lawsuits against them, then they shouldn’t be allowed to bring lawsuits against us if we smear them or even slander them. Isn’t freedom of speech protected not matter how offensive it might be? We’re entitled to our non-religious beliefs as much as they are entitled to what they believe in and the law should be applied equally in that context. The rewording of the marriage bill is going to open up a can of worms in other areas, even though I think the added exemptions should be approved just to get the bill passed. I think there will be repercussions as time passes for religious denominations who take this path and for politicians who defend discrimination.

  • Ruhlmann

    @Ganondorf: The thing about old is everybody gets there, much sooner than you’d think. Those you malign paved smooth your present.

  • Queer Supremacist

    Yawn. Call me when they’ve gotten some anti-gay legislation overturned in court or gotten a homophobic leopard to change his spots.

    Log Cabin Republicans throw better parties. And are better looking. And have integrity. GOProud was founded by former LCR members who had a problem with that last one.

  • Nick Thiwerspoon

    1. You’re sexy as, Mr Villareal.
    2. It’s ‘wretched’. ‘Retch’ is what you do when when you meet a gay Republican
    3. Getting old is better than the alternative
    4. I’ll do George Clooney any time. Any time. Or he can do me. Several times.
    5. No one should force the church to marry anyone they don’t want to. But nor should the church interfere in civil marriage (i.e., at a registry office — not the same as civil unions) By all means put provisions into gay marriage laws saying that churches don’t have to do gay marriages if they don’t want to. As long as we can get married, that’s what matters.
    6. The churches were once in favour of slavery, the monarchy, racial discrimination, and burning at the stake; and were against women’s rights, the women’s vote, women’s education, universal franchise, civil rights, civil marriage, divorce, birth control, Galileo and interracial marriage. Like all true conservatives, they’re always 50 to 100 years behind the times. The world moves on anyway.

  • Josh

    I can no longer tell the difference between qweerty and goproud. They both criticize every major proponent of gay rights. I think I’m bored of qweerty.

  • Chris

    I almost never correct spelling and grammar but could retched be wretched possibly? And by bonafied, do you mean bona fide? Like I said, I almost never point these things out, but my brain stops when it sees words it doesn’t recognize, and makes it hard to read the article.

    And to whoever said “older men are not attractive” — ALL the men I’m attracted to are 15+ years older than me — most are at least my mom’s age (31+ years older than me).

  • Steven

    Any person who finds Chris Barron attractive needs a cold glass of water thrown in their face. With great force.

  • Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

    Religious exemptions are interesting in that they have been found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in some circumstances. The other interesting thing is how broad they can be. In this instance, for example, do they exempt merely churches, or bona fide religious 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations, or any public business that claims a religious affiliation, such as a religious school, bookstore or photographer?

  • robert in NYC

    No. 15, GOProud’s Chris Barron married his partner in DC last year, yet opposes it as part of GOProud’s agenda and…..opposed repeal of DADT back in February and doesn’t support passage of ENDA. I don’t think voting for them is voting in your best interests, in fact its voting against yourself and the rest of us. If that’s not about self-loathing, I don’t know what is.

  • Politically Incorrect Thug

    @robert in NYC: A good example of self-loathing? Worshipping at the alter of Barack Obama . . . who doesn’t even like us! That is some twisted fucking logic.

  • Bob

    So, you think you will stay young and beautiful forever? Just wait and see how fast the years creep-up on you. But, it is amazing the number of younger guys who like us older men. I am having more fun in my 50’s than I did in my 30’s.

  • Bick

    Daniel Villarreal is sexy!

  • mikenola

    The religious exemptions, as the Dr. points out above, are an interesting point. Exactly how far will some groups go to grab that cover of a 501 (3)(c) just to discriminate? Will NOM finally admit they are a religious front group?

    What I would like to see happen in NYC is that now the Gov has signed the bill, that in the next Session of the NYC legislature, a new bill is sent forward that strengthens the bar against companies/organizations who get GOVERNMENT money from discriminating based on Sexual Orientation.

    That will put a wad in their panties.

    The fact of the matter is, anyone can “discriminate” against anyone if they want too. I just object to giving them Tax dollars if a group or organization decides to discriminate.

    Let Catholic Charities and all of Ruben Diaz’s pseudo-charities get private funding instead of public. After all it is “charity” work as defined by their religion and required by their God. so let him give them the money to operate.

    The other bill I would love to see is one that says that Gay Business can discriminate against Heterosexual businesses that discriminate. For example a gay owned business with a government certification to sell to the state, should be able to question a church organization or any 501 (3)(c) etc about their anti-gay activities. If that group discriminates, no sale!

    Florists would be another great place to see that type of questioning, along with waiters waiters, bartenders and hairstylists. I can see it now? “Welcome to the Salon, before we begin I need to check some things out… do you support SSM and equal rights for gays? NO? sorry get out of my shop! I don’t sell to homophobes!”

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