Log Cabin Republican Sets Record Straight on Not Being Invited to CPAC
While battles are being waged in Boston and New York between gay groups and St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers over open inclusion in the annual festivities, a similar fight continues several hundred miles south in Washington, D.C., between gay Republican groups and organizers of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
"In the case of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the old chestnut that 'those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it' has never been more applicable. That's why Log Cabin Republicans is not participating in this year's CPAC, and why, as an organization, it was necessary to explain to our members and supporters the truth as to why we are not," said Gregory T. Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans in a lengthy opinion piece published on conservative media outlet The Daily Caller.
Like an angry Cinderella uninvited to the ball with poison pen in hand, Angelo sets forth to dispel any myths that a ban on formal participation in the annual conference by gay groups, panelists or speakers has been lifted.
"Egregious reporting by many in the media, spurring subsequent chatter on Twitter (including by conservative luminaries such as Ari Fleischer and Pat Brady who should have known better) - announced a "ban" on gay conservatives attending CPAC had been "lifted" this year, marking an historic turning point. This is absolutely wrong, and the record needs to be corrected."
"To the credit of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which produces CPAC each year, there has never been a ban on anyone "attending" CPAC. Log Cabin Republicans members attend every year, as paying guests. This is hardly something worth tweeting, much less trumpeting via press releases. Anyone can attend CPAC as a paying "guest" - CPAC has never had a policy of discrimination when it comes to individuals being "allowed" to attend. Jimmy Carter could buy a ticket and go to CPAC. [...]
At a time when state legislatures around the country are proposing, debating and - in some cases - passing legislation that allows individuals to discriminate against Americans exclusively because of their sexual orientation, we could not in good conscience agree to a settlement in which Log Cabin Republicans was expected to celebrate the equivalent of not being allowed to sit at the lunch counter but still be served food?, or sitting in the back of the bus, as long as we were allowed to ride it."
According to The National Journal, the ACU's policy of excluding gay groups goes back to 2011, when a number of conservative Christian groups, including the Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council, declined to participate in the annual conference if Log Cabin Republican off-shoot group GOProud attended.
Confusion and conjecture that the ban on gay groups at CPAC may have been lifted stemmed from the announcement that Ross Hemminger and Matt Bechstein, two former GOProud summer interns who are now part of the organization's new leadership, reached a compromise with the ACU in which GOProud will attend CPAC next month as guests, but have no official presence.
While Hemminger and Bechstein saw the compromise as an important step, like LCR's president Angelo, GOProud co-founder Chris Barron thought otherwise.
"Last night I resigned from the Board of GOProud, the organization that I co-founded back in April of 2009. 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."
With or without official participation by Log Cabin Republicans or GOProud, the first day of CPAC went off today without a hitch. Thursday's roster of speakers included Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the SPLC designated anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, and Phyllis Schlafly, who in the past made the claim that "the main goal of the homosexuals is to silence any criticism. Most of them aren't interested in getting married."
Maybe not being invited isn't such a bad thing after all.