A Republican group that advocates for gay rights, the Log Cabin Republicans, says it's been barred from sponsoring CPAC. Again. The American Conservative Union (ACU) sponsors CPAC, which serves as an annual platform to rank Republican officials and activists. And this year, once more — for reasons contested between Log Cabin and the ACU — Log Cabin should be present, but won't be.
The group's Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said in a statement:
The only conclusion that can be made is that the organizers of CPAC do not feel gay people can be conservative.
In response, the ACU's Chairman Matt Schlapp sent a statement to POLITCO:
Had they applied, they would have been subjected to the same review as every other application. All conservatives, including gay conservatives, are welcome to be at CPAC. In fact, we have invited main stage and break out panelists who are conservative and gay, and we thank them for their contribution to our movement and CPAC 2015.
Then this happened: Schlapp, talking to Politico about the problem of Log Cabin joining the sponsors list, said: “It’s a great discussion to have, but at CPAC it’s about bringing conservatives together." He finished with “It’s not a Republican event, it’s a conservative event.”
The organization is probably trying to save themselves with this excuse — predetermining that Log Cabins wouldn't even qualify because it's not "conservative." But if you look at typical sponsorship, this statement doesn't hold up. The CATO Institute says it provides speakers to support societies "founded on libertarian principles." Many libertarians would argue that they are not conservatives. The libertarian-learning Competitive Enterprise Institute has also sponsored the event, even hosting a tolerance panel on-site "A Rainbow on the Right" (unsurprisingly, CPAC did not endorse it).
So let's examine the Log Cabin mission statement and see how not "conservative" they are.
LGBT Republicans and allies who support equality under the law for all, free markets, individual liberty, limited government, and a strong national defense.
OK, it might say "Republican," but all else indicates an alignment with what CPAC represents. There's nothing not "conservative" about that list, plus it's insane that the ACU labels libertarian organizations more "conservative" than Republican ones.
The Log Cabin's statement addressed this:
We are just as conservative as anyone else at CPAC — I dare say even more conservative than many; the only difference is that we are gay. Remarkably, in 2015, that’s all the ACU needs to know to shut an organization out.
In an op-ed for The Daily Caller, Angelo writes that he wants official Log Cabin participation at CPAC that's "meaningful," and "meaningful participation does not begin and end with buying a ticket to CPAC." CPAC is hosting a panel on "The Future of Marriage in America," which — surprise! — doesn't feature any organizations promoting LBGTQ rights. But even if Log Cabin hadn't applied, it would be in the interest of the ACU to reach out to the organization about forming a partnership.
A poll conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post noted that four in five percent of millennials support gay marriage. Conservatives already have a problem with this demographic, and barring gay-rights organizations from sponsoring the preeminent conservative conference isn't just discriminatory, it further alienates this demographic. It detracts from the overall message of conservative groups. This needs to stop. And the conversation needs to change.
It's 2015. Come on — let's get with the program and put Log Cabin on the CPAC agenda.
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