February 2010 Cover
When GOProud, a national organization of gay conservatives, announced
its co-sponsorship of the upcoming Conservative Political Action
Conference in Washington, DC, the group anticipated their news would be
welcomed by the gay community as a positive move toward building ties
with social conservatives.
But instead, the gay blogosphere exploded with news that GOProud
would not be allowed to speak at the conference, seemingly muzzled in
response to a call for a boycott by some right-wing leaders, including
the Liberty Counsel.
GOProud was formed last year by a group of gays who felt that
Log Cabin Republicans was too moderate.
According to the conference's organizers, gay rights issues
would not be discussed because of the "consensus positions" held
against them by the majority of co-sponsors, which include anti-gay
groups like the National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the
"Some of these issues draw significant support on both sides of
the question from the broad movement and these we often debate at
CPAC," said organizer David Keene, "while others like abortion are
consensus positions and while we accept those who differ from the
consensus, we see no reason for further debate. Gay issues fall within
In response to the criticism, Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director
of GOProud, claims speaking in the conference was never discussed as a
condition of co-sponsorship. Further, he says conference organizers had
decided not to include a gay marriage forum on the weekend's agenda
prior to GOProud's signing on.
"The bottom line is that we are a sponsor and we get all the
benefits of any other sponsor at our level," LaSalvia explained. "I
think it's important for us to be there and have the opportunity to
talk to people about the issues that are important to us."
|Author Profile: Joseph Erbentraut
Joseph Erbentraut is a Wisconsin-born freelance writer and editor
currently living in Chicago. His articles on politics, music and
culture have been featured in the Village Voice and other publications.
He also blogs at Chicagoist.
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