Friday, June 16, 2017

From the Archives: GOProud’s Jimmy LaSalvia talks about CPAC and gay conservatives

GOProud’s Jimmy LaSalvia talks about CPAC and gay conservatives
February 17, 2011 2:03 PM MST

Jimmy LaSalvia No Hope GOP GOProud gay RepublicanA minor controversy erupted in the weeks leading up to the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in regard to the participation of GOProud, an organization of gay conservatives. A handful of groups decided to sit out this year’s CPAC rather than be seen in the same room with gay men and lesbians.

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, spoke to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner at CPAC about the controversy and about his organization’s mission and plans for 2011 and 2012.

GOProud, LaSalvia explained, is a national, 527 political organization representing gay conservatives and their allies.

“We started in 2009,” he said, “so we’re about a year and a half old. We’re growing, with about 10,000 members. We bring the perspective of gay conservatives to every issue that affects Americans.”

Federal issues
GOProud is based in Washington works only on federal issues, he said, “like a lot of organizations that you see here at CPAC.” He gave as examples Americans for Tax Reform and the Club for Growth as national organizations “that have a Washington presence.”

The issues that most concern GOProud, LaSalvia said, are “whatever comes up in Washington. The priorities of our membership are the same as the priorities of most conservatives and, in fact, of most Americans.”

GOProud, he said, wants to help the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives “to rein in the size of government, control spending, protect our borders, and protect us from the terrorists.” In that, he noted, “we’re just the same as everybody else in America.”

‘Biggest, best CPAC’
Despite the controversy and the absence of a few groups from the CPAC exhibit hall, La Salvia said, this year’s conference was “the biggest, best CPAC ever.”

GOProud gay Republicans homosexual conservatives Jimmy LaSalvia Rick Sincere CPAC
The message of CPAC, he pointed out, “is that the conservative movement is united. We’re united around those priorities that I just talked about, the priorities of the American people. It’s been a great CPAC so far.”

LaSalvia said the reception of GOProud by CPAC attendees has been positive.

“We’ve had a lot of people come up to our booth and tell us that they’re glad that we’re here, that they’re glad that we’re part of the discussion that’s happening here at CPAC to offer solutions to our country, to help get our country back on track. It’s great,” he added.

When reminded that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin had also spoken out in favor of including GOProud in CPAC, LaSalvia noted that she “went out of her way to say” that her own absence from the conference was due to scheduling conflicts and not because she wanted to endorse those who were shunning GOProud.

LaSalvia also pointed out the millionaire businessman Donald Trump spoke to CPAC because he was invited by GOProud and that he also favored an inclusive conference and conservative movement.

Support like that expressed by conservatives at CPAC, LaSalvia added, “has really been heartening.”

Differences in approach

Asked if there’s a difference between the way conservatives and other people approach gay issues, LaSalvia said there was not.

“There may be policy differences here and there among conservatives with issues relating to gay people, but conservatives aren’t any different than any other Americans,” he said.

“As you know,” he continued, “in the past couple of decades, more and more gay people are coming out and living their lives openly and honestly. The vast majority of Americans and the vast majority of conservatives have gay people in their lives, so as folks around the country think about issues that affect gay people, they think about people who are in their lives. They think about Joe and Bill and Sue and Lynn and their lives when they think about these issues.

The consequence of knowing gay people personally, LaSalvia explained, is that “conservatives are no different than anyone else [who] thinks about these issues.”

'Fun' plans for 2011 and 2012

GOProud’s plans for 2011 and the presidential election year of 2012, he said, are “to engage in the debate as it occurs on Capitol Hill and across the country.”

Noting that CPAC marks the kickoff of the presidential campaign season, LaSalvia said that “we’ll be very engaged in that.”

He hesitated to give more details and cautioned that “I can’t really tell you the specific things that we’ve got planned this year but a lot of them will relate to the presidential election.”

What he would say for certain is that, whatever GOProud has planned, “it’s going to be fun for everybody. It’s going to be fun for our country and the Republican party and we’re looking forward to engaging in it.”

Publisher's note: This article is part of a series marking June as gay pride month. It was originally published on on February 17, 2011. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

No comments: