It was announced several days ago that the gay conservative group GOProud will shut down in order to restructure and reorganize itself. Many journalists and bloggers were quick to report the news, including Lisa De Pasquale, a board member of GOProud for several years.
In her piece, she writes:
I was the Director of CPAC from 2006-2011. I fought for GOProud’s inclusion. When they let me go in 2011, the board also voted to keep GOProud out. Unfortunately, that didn’t change in 2012, 2013 or 2014. Later in 2011, I joined the GOProud board of directors. I was then elected chairman in January 2012. I decided to leave the board earlier this year because I didn’t think I had anything to contribute given their new direction and activities. Others also felt the same way and left the board.
She continues by adding that the organization should have ended “about a year ago,” when the two original founders left the organization.
Meanwhile gay conservatives are coming under fire at the Texas GOP convention. According to the AP this morning, social conservatives are on the attack in Fort Worth:
The Texas Republican Party would endorse psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight under a new platform partly aimed at rebuking laws in California and New Jersey that ban so-called “reparative therapy” on minors.
How utterly embarrassing. The report goes on to indicate that there was a vicious fight over 1950s-esque language stipulating that “Homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.” Also, according to the piece, gay conservative groups have had the same problem they used to have at CPAC: not being permitted a booth.
The Texas GOP should learn a little history from a great man and president, whose death was only a decade ago. President Reagan, who ushered in modern-day conservatism, once took a huge, and at that time risky, stance against Prop 6, otherwise known as the Briggs Initiative, in California while preparing to run for president.
The Briggs Initiative, as it was known, would have banned openly gay teachers from teaching in public schools. According to Gregory T. Angelo, founder of another gay conservative group the Log Cabin Republicans, in a speech reported by the Carolina Review Daily:
Log Cabin was founded by a group of gay Republicans in 1977 in California was a response to a bill called Prop 6, similar to that of Prop 8 that went to the voters recently in California. The bill would have banned open gay teachers from teaching in schools. …[A]t great political risk, Ronald Reagan, who was preparing to run for president at the entered into the discussion. The polls showed that the bill was supported 2-1 in California, but Reagan, risking the presidency, came out against the bill and claimed it to be discriminatory. [The Briggs Initiative] went down 2-1. Reagan made the difference.
Reagan understood that, while he might not support gay marriage, gays and the greater gay community had a right to what the Founding Fathers enshrined in our Declaration of Independence: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” whatever that happiness might be. The Texas GOP could learn a lot from Reagan’s example.
Let’s hope they do. The comments section on Pasquale’s piece is horrendous, with people demanding that gays “leave our party,” and wondering “why don’t they go join the Democrats.” Many gay conservatives are pro-small government, pro-market, freedom-loving individuals. Are we willing to risk that small but valuable voting block through discriminatory language and policies? The Texas GOP seems to think so.