The Conservative Political Action Conference is coming up in mid-February, and word is out that some organizations and invited speakers have backed out due to the inclusion of GOProud, a group that supports gay conservatives, among the CPAC's participants.
Groups who have elected not to attend the conference include the Heritage Foundation, the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America. Additionally, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and New Jersey governor Chris Christie have declined invitations to speak. DeMint's spokesman essentially said that if those conservative groups weren't coming to CPAC, neither was DeMint.
What's interesting to me is that plenty of other conservatives who have cheered family values -- though strictly limited to the type of family that includes a man, a woman, and 2.3 children who attend Protestant services every Sunday -- have been confirmed as CPAC speakers. They've got Ann Coulter, Andrew Breitbart, and Mitt Romney, among many other well-known conservatives.
Of course, I don't think that the presence of these conservatives at CPAC alongside GOProud signifies a change of heart concerning gay rights. But it is heartening to see that they are willing to share space with others whose views don't align with theirs. Gay conservatives exist; they deserve a place in the party. In fact, as a social liberal myself, I might begin to find my own way back to the GOP if it recognized the rights of all people, gays included.
I'm not hopeful though. One of the anticipated sessions at CPAC is "Traditional Marriage as a Cure to Poverty." Aside from the fact that many families rely on two incomes, making so-called "traditional marriage" an impossible standard regardless of politics, gay families run the gamut of structures just as all families do. Families will never fit a pre-conceived mold, and it's disappointing to see conservatives continue to hammer away at what's really not under the purview of government.
I admire GOProud for going where they may not be wanted in an effort to demonstrate the breadth of the party, and I'm cautiously pleased that their presence has not driven away others who've opposed them in the past.