Huffpost Politics

Social Conservatives Desert CPAC Over Invite Of Gay GOP Group

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Two large social conservative groups have added their names to a growing boycott of next year's Conservative Political Action Conference over the organizers' decision to include gay Republican group GOProud as a "participating organization" for the second year in a row.

WorldNetDaily reports that the Family Research Council and the Concerned Women for America are the latest associations to add their names to the list of boycotters.

"We've been very involved in CPAC for over a decade and have managed a couple of popular sessions. However, we will no longer be involved with CPAC because of the organization's financial mismanagement and movement away from conservative principles," FRC Action senior vice president Tom McClusky told WND.

Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance similarly told WND that the group had "decided not to participate in part because of GOProud."

As WND reports:

FRC and CWA join the American Principles Project, American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage in withdrawing from CPAC. In November, APP organized a boycott of CPAC over the participation of GOProud.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, told WND that the inclusion of GOProud at CPAC was a "moral surrender" of conservative values, while Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, said that it was a sign that CPAC's organizing body had "gone libertarian" in their refusal to bar the group.

GOProud director Jimmy LaSalvia responded to Talking Points Memo:

"[W]e hope that all conservative organizations would participate, because it takes a broad-based conservative organization to come together to work, to offer solutions to the problems facing our country, and we think it takes everybody. And we hope all conservatives will participate in CPAC. It's an enormous event, and it brings people from all over the country, and we're excited to be a part of it."

Slate's Dave Weigel provides some answers as to why the American Conservative Union, chief organizer of CPAC, appears to have been mum on the latest flare up. He also sees a potential future point of contention:

ACU Chairman David Keene was on a conservative cruise when the boycott began and when WND ran with the news that a U.S. attorney was looking into financial mismanagement at the group. I'm just wondering when WND will notice that Muslims for America is also participating in CPAC. Founded in 2004 as "Muslims for Bush," the group is run by Colorado Muslim Muhammad Ali Hasan, who recently announced that he'd become a Democrat in response to Republican bigotry during his failed bid for state treasurer.

Social conservatives have clashed with their counterparts over the perceived shift in emphasis in the past. When a conglomeration of Tea Party and gay GOP leaders drafted a letter encouraging incoming Republican legislators to reject an expansive social agenda and focus more strongly on fiscal issues, Concerned Women for America leader Penny Nance responded in her own letter arguing that "social issues should be at the very top of the list of priorities."

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