A Republican group that advocates for gay rights says it was excluded from the biggest conservative conference of the year — again.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland next week will not feature the Log Cabin Republicans, a group whose mission statement says it represents gay conservatives, on its list of sponsors. That means for the third consecutive year, gay conservatives will not be represented on the sponsor list.
Gregory T. Angelo, the national executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, charged in a statement that the exclusion was deliberate.
“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,” Angelo said.
Angelo said his group and the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, entered into discussions about sponsorship last July. But Angelo said ACU leadership told him sponsorship would be difficult because the Log Cabin Republicans are mostly a “Republican” organization, not “conservative.” Soon after, Angelo said, ACU told the Log Cabin Republicans that it was simply “not conservative enough.”
It’s “among the greatest ironies” that the Log Cabin Republicans won’t be invited to be sponsors at CPAC, Angelo said, given that “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson will be presented with an award. The Log Cabin Republicans were among the prominent defenders of Robertson after his controversial remarks about gays in late 2013.
“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,” Angelo said. “Remarkably, in 2015, that’s all the ACU needs to know to shut an organization out.”
An ACU representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is not a new controversy for the conference. In previous years, ACU has said that the Log Cabin Republicans are not sufficiently conservative to be among CPAC’s sponsors. But they have said gay Republicans are more than welcome to come to the conference as attendees.
This year’s CPAC will feature addresses from some of the biggest-name Republicans and many of the party’s prospective presidential candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Kentucky), and Marco Rubio (Florida).
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.