02/10/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
People often believe that LGBT Rights is a Left issue. In many ways, it is not. It is an issue which crosses the political divide even though it is most often taken up by Democrats. The Conservative LGBT Rights group GOProud will be allowed to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference on 20 February. While GOPround had been a sponsor of the conference, they were not allowed to speak in any capacity due to pressure from Religious groups who were planning to be at the conference. GOProud will be allowed to speak at CPAC, though they will be addressing how they use technology to spread their message instead of discussing LGBT Rights. It is a small step in the right direction. GOProud’s executive director Jimmy LaSalvia, when asked as to why his group was not addressing social or LGBT issues, stated “Frankly, there really aren’t any [panels]. If you look at the overall program, there is a lot of discussion about economics and national security, as it should be,” LaSalvia said. “That’s what most of the country is focused on and that’s what most conservatives are focused on.” There is one panel on social issues, but it does not seem to be about specific social issues.
The move to allow GOProud to co-sponsor CPAC has caused some problems with Social and Religious conservative groups such as Liberty University Law School, which withdrew its sponsorship from CPAC over GOProud’s involvement. The compromise was that GOProud was to help sponsor the conference, but not speak. Many groups like Liberty University chose not to support CPAC anyway.
Recent polling on the subject of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell shows movement towards supporting the repeal from within the Republican Party and among Conservatives. Many Conservatives support LGBT rights, and often they feel pushed to either support the Democrats and betray their fiscal views, or support the Republicans and betray their social views. Many gays and lesbians are, in fact, caught in that quandary. Many gays, lesbians and transpeople are fiscally conservative in their views, but socially liberal and seeking equal rights.
A recent discussion on one of LGR’s articles resulted in one Conservative ally bringing his disapproval of the ban on GOProud speaking at CPAC to their attention. He may not have been the only one. Here is the letter, which Mr. Millenacker wrote to them and submitted a copy of on this site. While many in the LGBT Community are often hostile to our allies as well as our brothers and sisters on the Right, bridging the political divide is likely the best way in which to bring about equal rights for LGBT Americans.
“I am a conservative who shares your objectives on economic, tax, budget, national defense, foreign and most other public policies. I am contacting you regarding the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference.
I would like to express my whole hearted approval of the CPAC decision to welcome the participation of GOProud as a sponsor of the conference. That decision is entirely in keeping with the best conservative ideals of strict constitutional construction, individual liberty, personal autonomy, freedom of conscience, and freedom to live lawfully as one chooses without the necessity of permission from the government or any third party.
In my opinion the American people are desperate for a new political reality based on tolerant conservatism. Our country is in crisis so deep that it can only be saved by unity. However, without tolerance, unity will not be possible. I congratulate CPAC for making room in the Big Tent for GOProud and our brothers and sisters in the LGBT communities.
However, I am informed that GOProud will not be permitted to speak at the conference. Is this true? If so, that decision is profoundly misguided in my opinion. If we want solidarity with conservative lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals and groups we must express solidarity with them. I urge you to permit GOProud representatives to address the conference.
Mark A. Millenacker
To Mark, thank you for your support, and thank you for your letter.