As many of our readers know, CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) is one of the premier, if not the premier, annual conservative gathering. Slated to begin on February 18, 2010, it will draw leading conservative intellectuals and activists from around the country. Among the group’s many sponsors with be our friends at GOProud.
Announced that his organization will be “a cosponsor of the single most important conservative gathering in the country” Jimmy La Salvia, the group’s Executive Director pointed out that the “gathering of the nation’s most influential conservatives gives us an incredible opportunity to deliver our message.” When the various conservatives assembled for this shindig see gay Americans speaking out against Obama’s statist policies while calling for smaller government and more personal freedom, some may reconsider how they view gay people.
At the same time, by allowing this gay group to cosponsor their marquee event, the American Conservative Union (the leading sponsor of CPAC) shows that it welcomes gay people. Left-wing misconceptions notwithstanding, most mainstream American conservative organizations don’t discriminate against gay people. And while there remain many in the conservative movement who continue to harbor unwarranted prejudices against gay people, their attitude is not–and never has been–central to American conservatism.
As gay individuals becoming increasingly visible on the right, we can help correct those prejudices still present in pockets of our movement. Indeed, some groups, as one of our readers points out, who continue to promote such prejudices are also cosponsoring the conference. Let us hope the presence of GOProud alongside them at the conference helps wean them of their prejudice.
By cosponsoring CPAC, GOProud is doing something other gay organizations refuse to do: establish a gay presence an environment where prejudice persists. If we really want to change attitudes toward gays, we need to work in environments where attitudes need to be changed.