CPAC Gay Bashing Heats Up

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It looks like gay conservatives still have a long way to go before they’re going to make it into the Big Tent of GOP politics. Friday afternoon at the Conservative Political Action Convention, a dozen conservative college students and other young people got two minutes to address the huge crowd. Ryan Sorba, from the California Young Americans for Freedom, used his time to bash the very conference organizers who had invited him to speak. Why? For allowing the tiny conservative gay organization GOProud to co-sponsor the convention and to man a booth in the exhibit hall. Sorba expressed outrage that CPAC would allow such a group in the hallowed grounds of the conference. He made some incoherent comments about how “civil rights is rooted in natural rights,” and how that made GOProud something of an abomination. The virulently homophobic rant sent the crowd into a frenzy. People jeered and hooted and gave him an ugly and welcome response to his comment.

GOProud has had an uneasy time mingling at this right-wing confab. Social conservative organizations threatened to boycott CPAC this winter after the news of GOProud’s involvement first broke. CPAC held its ground and allowed the group to participate. And the Christian right groups mostly still showed up. But the gay conservatives haven’t exactly been welcomed with open arms. GOProud is working the same exhibit hall as a group hotly opposed to repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” and in a cruel bit of convention-planner humor, someone decided to situate GOProud’s table in the exhibit hall one down from the National Organization for Marriage, the country’s leading anti-gay marriage organization. Yesterday, NOM staffers in the convention hall made nice with the gay guys on CNN, but shortly after the segment aired, NOM issued a nasty press release bashing GOProud, warning that it would continue to fight any candidate it pushed that attempted to promote gay marriage.

GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia told Huffington Post that NOM’s move was pretty cowardly. He challenged its leaders to make such a statement to his face, especially given that he was standing 20 feet from their table.

“When the cameras are rolling, they can fake a smile. But when they have a message for us, they’re not even man enough to walk 20 feet. They have to issue a press release,” LaSalvia told HuffPost. “So I’ve been saying, who’s the pansy at CPAC?”

UPDATE: More on Ryan Sorba.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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