Fresh off CPAC, gay conservative group to hold fundraiser
February 17th, 2011
09:41 AM ET
12 years ago

Fresh off CPAC, gay conservative group to hold fundraiser

Washington (CNN) - The gay conservative organization GOProud will hold a fundraiser next week at the Virginia home of Republican strategist Mary Matalin, following its successful, yet controversial, participation in the recent Conservative Political Action Conference.

Tickets for the "Party on the Potomac" event run $500 per person and GOProud Chairman Christopher Barron said that the goal is to raise $100,000. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who revealed last year that he was gay, will be among those attending the event at Matalin's home, Barron said. (Matalin is a CNN contributor.)

The American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, was criticized by some social conservatives for allowing GOProud to be part of the three-day conference that was held last week in the nation's capital.

And newly installed ACU Chairman Al Cardenas expressed his displeasure with GOProud when Barron called ACU board member Cleta Mitchell a "nasty bigot" in an interview regarding opposition to GOProud's inclusion in the conference. Cardenas left open the possibility that the conservative gay organization would not be welcomed back to next year's conference.

"We are doing our part to reach out to the ACU board to make sure things can be smoother next year," Barron said. "We never wanted this fight. It got a little more heated than I would have liked and I take responsibility for that."

Still, the anti-GOProud sentiment was largely diluted by conservative commentator Ann Coulter's defense of GOProud in her speech at CPAC, as well as conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart's decision to host a party for the organization on the opening night of the conference. GOProud was also responsible for having businessman Donald Trump, who is considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination, address the conference.

Barron and GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia founded the organization in April 2009 after working for the Log Cabin Republicans, another gay conservative organization. In the last six months, GOProud has raised $300,000 – donations that are used to advocate for issues ranging from tax cuts and Social Security reform to national defense.

Barron and LaSalvia said the organization is growing and will expand from two full-time staffers and one part-time aide to five full-time staffers by the end of June.

As for the controversy regarding the anti-GOProud sentiment harbored by some Republicans, LaSalvia said that the overwhelming majority of attacks on the organization come from liberals not conservatives.

"Ninety percent of the attacks are from the left," he said.

Filed under: CPAC 2011 • Gay rights
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. John in Brooklyn

    Talk about the embodying the definition of self-loathing!

    February 17, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Casual Citizen

    When will you Republican gay people wake up? In some ways I respect what you are trying to do, but, are you not beating a dead horse?
    You can't have it both ways. Like I tell my co-worker who has a gay couple she knows and likes. "They should be able to get married' she says. Well, I know her to be a giant Republicanknucklehead. So, let me get this right, it is 'okay' for this gay couple to get married.....but not everyone?

    But... all too often this is how Repugs think. I'm a huge supporter of gay rights, a straight white married female with grandkids to boot, not old, but not young. But.... you people are on the wrong side.

    WE actually care about you, and will not be hypocrites about the people you are......come on this side the water is real warm, and we won't insult you to your face, or like most Repugs, just wait for you to walk away. Vote Democrat, stop trying to make these people get it, as long as the have their Bible in their back pocket, you are a sinner. You are wasting your time and energyu, bring it the side that feels like you do.

    February 17, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. mikael

    This is too funny as a gay idependent voter in a high tax bracket, it is always baffles me the thought of gay republicans. i am fiscally conservative but more a social liberal, To blame the left for attacks within their own party , well they do live up to republican values which is blame the left , that is why its so bad. lol.

    February 17, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    GOProud members are living a dream world if they believe the family values wingnuts in the GOP welcome them with open arms.

    February 17, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. NVa Native

    As all the Repubs are consumed with trying to appease the pruritain radical wing of their party by demonizing anybody or anything that doesn't match their fantasy of an all white middle class and married heterosexual world ~ the GOPride group is trying to appeal to the non-existant "rational" side of the GOP??

    February 17, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. jarhead

    Well I tried to keep up with some of CPAC, and the only republican that even had the nerve to mention gays was Ann Coulter. Does this group even know what being ignored looks like?

    February 17, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I wonder if LaSalvia has ever been to Iowa. The is the Iowa republicans that seem hell bent on destroying the gay marriage rights.

    February 17, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. ART

    I guess the go proud people like being treated like second class citizens, being gay and Republican is an oxymoron.

    February 17, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    [LaSalvia said that the overwhelming majority of attacks on the organization come from liberals not conservatives. "Ninety percent of the attacks are from the left," he said]

    Who took that poll???? What are the ATTACKS?? I guarantee you if there are any – you are probably being told it's ABOUT TIME you came out of the closet instead of pretending you are so righteous and NOT gay!!! Also, how do you know if it's not RIGHTIES making believe they are LEFTIES!!! Jeez!!

    February 17, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. gar

    How soon before Matalin is driven out of the Republican party for her support for a gay rights group?

    February 17, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Grundoon

    The attacks are coming from the left? Really? I guess the left did boycott CPAC big time. *snicker*

    I would say the the far-right fringe boycotting the conference because the presence of gays so upsetting for them is far more a profound criticism – inherently hateful and bigotted. Being called out for the duplicitous nature of supporting those who wish you didn't exists and work to trample your rights is quite a bit different. Be smart enough to know the defference.

    February 17, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |