While the annual mega-gathering of conservatives ranging from Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity, The NRA, the Media Research Center, and all the other usual characters is poised to be one of the largest, most televised of its kind yet, it will (once again) ban the only group representing LGBT conservatives.
The latest disagreement between the organizers of the event and the gay-Republican outfit is yet another chapter in CPAC's colorful past with gay conservatives. The now defunct GOProud organization participated in CPAC in 2010 and 2011 to the protests of social conservatives, but was kicked out of the conference in 2012 after its co-founder/president called conservative attorney Cleta Mitchell a "nasty bigot" and blamed her for the decision by the Heritage Foundation to remove itself from the conference over GOProud's mere presence.
In the years prior to this last disagreement, the organizers of CPAC (the ACU) have rationalized the exclusion of LGBT-conservative organizations on the basis of their apparent lack of conservatism, that they weren't sufficiently socially-conservative, and that the annual event was for conservatives not libertarians.
However, the president of Log Cabin has repeatedly argued against that sentiment saying that his organization sent a list of its conservative principles to the American Conservative Union, which included support for gun-ownership rights, preserving budget sequestration, and calls for tax reform. He went on to say that his group is the only LGBT organization that has called for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, signing a letter in 2013 with 21 conservative organizations to denounce the law as "tyrannical."
"Time and again, when we showed the ACU that we met their criteria for sponsorship, the reasons for our exclusion changed," the president of Log Cabin said. "The only conclusion that can be made is that the organizers of CPAC do not feel gay people can be conservative -- a position opposed by the thousands of millennial CPAC attendees who have been asking Log Cabin Republicans for months if we would be participating at this year's event. We owed it to them to explain why we are not."
Of course, the major takeaway here is the larger message that the conservative movement is choosing to send to the nation with regard to American Conservatism's view of gay and lesbian people in general. It is that they not just oppose the specific rights of marriage, adoption, hospital visitation, etc, but rather oppose their mere presence as a group and that is what is truly disturbing in this whole situation.
Disturbing not just in the eyes of the thousands of gay and lesbian Americans across the country who are essentially being told that they are not welcome in any 'big tent' here, but frankly should be more disturbing in the eyes of Republican strategists, pollsters, and activists because the nation is not only moving on, but it already has moved on and left this issue to the history books. Walk into any bar, any restaurant, any college or gym, just ask anyone on the street if they know a gay person and they will immediately smile at you and rattle off their list of friends, family members, co-workers, and others in their lives and tell you who the are and that they are here to stay.
Perhaps the president of the Lob Cabin Republicans said it best himself: "CPAC has a problem allowing any formal recognition for organizations affiliated with gay people," Angelo said. "That is the only logical conclusion to come to."