Conservative activist raises concerns after comments from GOProud leader
February 11th, 2011
09:33 AM ET
11 years ago

Conservative activist raises concerns after comments from GOProud leader

Washington (CNN) - The controversy over the participation of a conservative group of gay and lesbians as part of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference is taking a new twist. Al Cardenas, the new chairman of the American Conservative Union and a prime sponsor of the event, took issue with some comments made by a member of the board of GOProud. Already several prominent social conservative groups had decided to boycott the conference because GOProud was one of about 100 "participating organizations."

"We expect civility amongst all of our participating organizations, and I was concerned about statements on their website and comments made towards members of our board, participating organizations. And there is a certain amount of decorum we expect from anyone who participates as an organization here. After all they are not coming in as an individual activist. They are coming in as an organization," Cardenas told reporters Friday morning.

"I expressed my disappointment over over their discourse over the last few days. I notice they issued an apology yesterday," Cardenas said calling that "a good start."

GOProud Board Chairman Christopher Barron called Cleta Mitchell, a prominent Republican lawyer and a board member of the American Conservative Union, a "nasty bigot" in an interview talking about the boycott of some groups.

After Cardenas initially raised some concerns Thursday in an interview with David Frum, GOProud Board Chairman Christopher Barron issued a statement saying "For the past six months, we have watched as unfair and untrue attacks have been leveled against our organization, our allies, our friends and sometimes even their families. Everyone has their breaking point and clearly in my interview with Metro Weekly I had reached mine. I shouldn't have used the language that I did to describe Cleta Mitchell and for that I apologize."

GOProud had no further comment.

As for whether GOProud would be welcome to take part in next year's CPAC, Cardenas was non-committal. "We had a significant waiting list this year for people, for organizations that wanted to be participating organizations. I met quite a few who gave me their card and who didn't want to miss out next year. So actually that is a good problem to have," Cardneas said. "Where we go from here. We are going to start thinking about that after CPAC, not during CPAC."

The conference is the largest annual gathering of conservative activists and with just under a year to go until the start of the GOP presidential caucus and primary season, it's also considered the first major cattle call for possible Republican White House hopefuls.

Filed under: CPAC 2011
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. TB

    A lot of people who identify themselves as "conservatives" are actually RELIGIOUS THEOCRATS. True conservatism is about individual freedom and liberty. It is about reducing the size of government and getting the government OUT of people's lives. A true consevative would NEVER seek to impose the rules of his or her religion on the whole of society via the government. Nor would a true conservative stand for the government imposing it's rules on his or her religion. I think it's time for true conservatives give religious theocrats "the boot". I also think it's time for religious theocrats to stop calling themselves "conservatives".

    February 11, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. CJ

    If bigots don't have to apologize for their actions why should anyone have to apologize for calling them bigots! This is making the rape victim apologize to the rapist for the inconvience the rapist had to endure during the rape...

    February 11, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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