The religious right has grown apoplectic over what it sees as the harbingers of its demise: gay conservatives. The emergence of the GOProud, a right-wing group of conservatives that support gay rights, is spurring a civil war between conservative bigwigs. This summer, WorldNetDaily publisher and proud “birther king” Joseph Farah and right-wing ranter Ann Coulter launched into a hyperbolic squabble after Coulter agreed to keynote GOProud’s inaugural “Homocon” conference. Fearful of GOProud’s impending “coup” of the conservative movement, Farah even called for extra security at his WND conference panel “is GOProud conservative?” because, as his loyal followers noted, GOProud could bring its “radical gay” supporters to help in its “infiltration of the conservative movement.”
Ever vigilant against “twisted and dangerous” threat of gay conservatives, right-wing groups are now repudiating any person, place, or thing that may associate with these wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing, most notably the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Despite receiving flak last year for their association with GOProud, CPAC organizers recently confirmed that GOProud will be a “participating organization,” at next year’s conference, “the second highest level of participation. As a ‘participating organization,’ GOProud has a voice in planning the conference.”
The possible presence of gay people sparked the far-right American Principles Project to instigate a growing boycott of CPAC in November. Yesterday, WND announced that the Family Research Council and the Concerned Women for America are now the most high-profile conservative groups to join the boycott:
Two of the nation’s premier moral issues organizations, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, are refusing to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in February because a homosexual activist group, GOProud, has been invited.
“We’ve been very involved in CPAC for over a decade and have managed a couple of popular sessions. However, we will no longer be involved with CPAC because of the organization’s financial mismanagement and movement away from conservative principles,” said Tom McClusky, senior vice president for FRC Action.
“CWA has decided not to participate in part because of GOProud,” CWA President Penny Nance told WND.
FRC and CWA join the American Principles Project, American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage in withdrawing from CPAC.
The far-right Americans for Truth about Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera, who is also boycotting CPAC, finds it “gratifying to to see FRC and CWA respond appropriately to CPAC’s moral sellout of allowing GOProud as a sponsor.” “By bringing in GOProud, CPAC was effectively saying moral opposition to homosexuality is no longer welcome in the conservative movement.”
This increasingly popular censure of CPAC is not just limited to GOProud itself, but to lawmakers as well. As Right Wing Watch notes, CPAC isn’t just “one of the largest gatherings of right wing activists,” but a long-standing, popular “platform for Republican presidential candidates.” Indeed, possible 2012 GOP presidential candidates Gov. Haley Barbour (MS), Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN), Rep. Mike Pence (IN), and Sen. John Thune (SD) are slated to speak at CPAC next year. Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Thune have already come under fire for their association with GOProud.
GOProud has dismissed this kind of far-right thinking before as “clearly out of the mainstream.” However, given the GOP’s number one priority and its penchant for “out of the mainstream,” Republicans may not have room for GOProud’s brand of thought, no matter how conservative.