One of the odd coincidences of CPAC is the location of the National Organization for Marriage’s booth just 20-odd feet away from the booth of GOProud, the
One of the odd coincidences of CPAC is the location of the National Organization for Marriage’s booth just 20-odd feet away from the booth of GOProud, the upstart gay Republican organization. On Thursday, leaders of both groups posed for an impromptu meeting in view of CNN’s cameras, joking about the possibility of a beer summit. But on Friday morning, the National Organization for Marriage preemptively blasted GOProud in a surprisingly acid press release.
Many reporters, including Politico, have asked us how we feel about the fact GOProud is just a few booths over from us. We welcome everyone’s right to participate in the democratic process, but we have a message for GOProud on marriage: If you try to elect pro-gay-marriage Republicans, we will Dede Scozzafava them. The majority of Americans, and the vast majority of Republicans, support marriage as the union of husband and wife, and NOM is here to make sure these voters and their voices are heard loud and clear.
GOProud’s executive director Jimmy LaSalvia was furious. “When the cameras were rolling,” said LaSalvia, “they were very nice. Now that the cameras aren’t rolling, rather than walking 20 feet over to us, they fire off a news release. What kind of man can’t walk across the row to deliver a message? I just have a question for them: Who’s the pansy at CPAC? What wusses. Just come over. Don’t play nice if you’re not going to be nice.”
I told LaSalvia that in my interactions with NOM, they’ve stressed that they respect gays and gay rights. “That’s their tactic,” he said. “Bottom line, that’s what they do. They’re very nice and friendly, and they put on a pretty face, then they play in the gutter.”
I talked to Justin Haas over at the NOM booth about the CNN moment and LaSalvia’s criticism; Haas said GOProud’s embrace of gay marriage and abortion rights raised questions about the role they wanted to play in conservative politics.
“They claim they’re not funded by Tim Gill,” said Haas, referring to the gay multi-millionaire whom conservatives blame for organizing big money against pro-traditional marriage activists. “That’s why they broke away from the Log Cabin Republicans. But that doesn’t make any sense if they’re making a statement now that they’re pro-gay marriage.”
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