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GOProud Roils Conservative Confab for Second Year Running

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Dec 29, 2010

The annual convention of conservative organizations known as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) covers the ideological rightward rainbow, from moderate to fringe--and, as of last year, gay conservatives have also been part of that spectrum.

For the anti-gay fringe, however, GLBTs in the "big tent" of conservatism is not a welcome development. 2010's CPAC was co-sponsored by gay conservative group GOProud, which resulted in a flurry of homophobic pronouncements from bloggers like Peter LaBarbera, the driving force behind Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), who slammed GOProud last year in a posting that declared, "[W]e at AFTAH dispute their definition of 'conservative,' which would have the movement's Founding Fathers, like Russell Kirk... rolling over in their graves."

LaBarbera reported in a December, 2009, posting that Matt Barber of the anti-gay religious group Liberty Counsel was organizing a boycott of the event unless GOProud were dismissed as co-sponsor. The Liberty Counsel Web site describes the group's mission as "Restoring the Culture One Case at a Time by Advancing Religious Freedom, the Sanctity of Human Life and the Traditional Family."

"Among other things, GOProud advocates in favor of both 'gay marriage' and 'civil unions,' against pro-marriage constitutional amendments ; is pushing for the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and advocates in favor of federal 'partnership benefits' for homosexuals. This group is pushing a radical leftist agenda that is an affront to the GOP platform, conservatism and, most importantly, the Word of God," LaBarbera quoted Barber as writing in an email to religious conservatives.

What a difference a year makes... or doesn't. The 2011 edition of CPAC will include GOProud once more, and some of the biggest names in big-ticket homophobia are bailing on the event.

In a Dec. 28 posting, LaBarbera urged readers to "Contact American Conservative Union (703-836-8602) and urge them to live up to their name and stop 'gaying down' conservatism by embracing pro-homosexuality activism through CPAC." The posting included text that declared, "There is nothing 'conservative' about promoting homosexual behavior in the name of 'civil rights.' "

The posting also contained the content of a Dec. 27 article from anti-gay religious website WorldNetDaily that announced the event's boycotting by "[t]wo of the nation's premier moral issues organizations"--namely, vociferously anti-gay groups the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America.

"We've been very involved in CPAC for over a decade and have managed a couple of popular sessions," said the FRC's Tom McClusky, "However, we will no longer be involved with CPAC because of the organization's financial mismanagement and movement away from conservative principles."

CPAC organizer the American Conservative Union is in the midst of an embezzlement crisis, the WDN posting said.

"CWA has decided not to participate in part because of GOProud," said Penny Nance, the head of Concerned Women for America.

The FRC and CWA were not alone in forsaking the more inclusive conservative confab; WND reported that several other fringe groups, including equally anti-gay organizations the Center for Military Readiness (which stringently opposed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell), Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage. The latter is the group behind nation-wide attempts to roll back or prevent marriage equality, including the 2008 California ballot initiative Proposition 8, which rescinded then-existing marriage rights for gay and lesbian families.

The WND posting quoted LaBarbera in turn, with the anti-gay blogger saying, "It is gratifying to see FRC and CWA respond appropriately to CPAC's moral sellout of allowing GOProud as a sponsor." LaBarbera went on to claim, "By bringing in GOProud, CPAC was effectively saying moral opposition to homosexuality is no longer welcome in the conservative movement."

The AFTAH front man added, "Shame on CPAC for defending the absurd proposition that one can be 'conservative' while embracing moral surrender--in this case the idea espoused by GOProud of the government granting 'rights' and benefits based on sinful sexual conduct long regarded as anathema to biblical and Judeo-Christian values."

Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver was also quoted in the WND article. Staver claimed that GOProud was seeking to "undermine" the Armed Forces of the United States, as well as the institution of marriage. "Anything that undermines marriage also undermines our freedom and economy," Staver asserted. "It is contrary to our fundamental values to have as a cosponsor an organization that promotes same-sex marriage."

A Dec. 29 Twitter message from GOProud's Chris Barron stated the organization's stance on marriage equality succinctly. "GOProud does not have a position on marriage beyond believing it's a state issue," tweeted Barron.

GOProud not only co-sponsored last February's CPAC, but also ruffled fringe feathers over the summer by inviting right-wing icon Ann Coulter to deliver the keynote address at its Homocon convention in September. When Coulter agreed, she was dropped by WND, which had previously signed her onto speak at its own September gathering, the so-called "taking Back America" conference.

In describing its "Taking Back America" conference, WND posted text reading, "The choice is simple: the world of standards and morality, self-government and accountability to God or the world of tyranny and ever-changing moral codes enforced by government." Continued the text, "The only way we can reestablish our freedom--our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--is to break the hammerlock of statism and the notion that moral relativism holds the answers to ordering people's passions and behavior." The text did not indicate what agency, if not government, would enforce this brand of freedom.

Next: Ann Coulter Muzzled... by the Right



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