LGBTQ South Florida

Log Cabin Republicans: CPAC not ‘honest’ about why gay people are excluded from 2015 conference

The 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) runs Feb. 25 to 28.
The 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) runs Feb. 25 to 28. Via Facebook

Once again, Log Cabin Republicans has announced it is not welcome to participate in the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

“The American Conservative Union has the right to invite or not invite whoever they want to the Conservative Political Action Conference, but they should be honest about the reasons why. The ACU is fond of hiding behind a fig leaf stating gay people are welcome as guests, but the ability to buy a ticket to CPAC was never what our debate was about; indeed, I will be attending CPAC, as will hundreds of other Log Cabin Republicans members and supporters,” Log Cabin National Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said in a statement Thursday. “Make no mistake: LCR is actively being prohibited from sponsoring CPAC.”

This year’s CPAC runs Feb. 25 to 28. Sponsors include Breitbart, Leadership Institute and the NRA. Scheduled speakers include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, all possible Republican presidential candidates in 2016.

Log Cabin and other gay conservative groups, including the now-defunct GOProud have long been excluded from CPAC, including the years Miami attorney Al Cardenas served as national ACU chairman.

Cardenas is still an ACU board member and was succeeded last year as chairman by Matt Schlapp.

Schlapp on Friday told the Miami Herald in an email that Log Cabin Republicans never applied for sponsorship at this year’s CPAC.

“The intent of CPAC is to highlight the efforts and advocacy of conservatives. The agenda is intended to help make the country and the political party structure more solidly conservative. The Log Cabin Republicans have not applied to be co-sponsors of CPAC 2015. Had they applied, they would have been subjected to the same review as every other application. We do not bar any groups or individuals based on sexual orientation. Our standards for any group are the strength of their conservative principles. 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,” Schlapp said.

“If the Log Cabin Republicans want to take a leadership role in the conservative movement, they need to start advocating for conservative policy solutions and siding with conservative candidates in primaries, even when it means taking on moderate Republicans. We encourage them to do just that.”

In Log Cabin’s statement, the organization points to 10 conservative issues it supports, including Obamacare repeal, comprehensive tax reform and Pro-Growth budgeting.

Here’s the complete Log Cabin news release:

Washington, D.C. — In the wake of increased inquiries as to whether or not Log Cabin Republicans would be participating at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) organized by the American Conservative Union (ACU), Log Cabin Republicans National Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo issued the following statement:

“The American Conservative Union has the right to invite or not invite whoever they want to the Conservative Political Action Conference, but they should be honest about the reasons why. The ACU is fond of hiding behind a fig leaf stating gay people are welcome as guests, but the ability to buy a ticket to CPAC was never what our debate was about; indeed, I will be attending CPAC, as will hundreds of other Log Cabin Republicans members and supporters. Make no mistake: LCR is actively being prohibited from sponsoring CPAC. For our organization, this has always been about contributing to CPAC as sponsors or in some recognized capacity. Time and again, when we showed the ACU that we met the criteria for sponsorship, the reasons for our exclusion changed. The only conclusion that can be made is that the organizers of CPAC do not feel gay people can be conservative—a position opposed by the thousands of Millennial CPAC attendees who have been asking Log Cabin Republicans for months if we would be participating at this year’s event. We owed it to them to explain why we are not.”

Discussions with the ACU and its new leadership began in July of 2014, at which point Log Cabin Republicans was told CPAC participation would be difficult because LCR is a “Republican” organization rather than a “conservative” organization. When Log Cabin Republicans contended that regular CPAC participation of other explicitly Republican organizations was common, the ACU stated Log Cabin Republicans was not “conservative enough,” prompting LCR to send the ACU the following list of conservative positions the organization has taken over the past two years alone:

“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,” Angelo added. “Incredibly, among the greatest ironies at CPAC 2015 is that Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson will be honored with a Freedom of Speech Award at this year’s event, when Log Cabin Republicans was one of the only conservative organizations with the guts to defend him in the aftermath of his notorious comments to GQ Magazine in 2013. If anyone should be honored with a Freedom of Speech Award at this year’s CPAC, it should be Log Cabin Republicans.”

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