Gay conservative condemns “bigotry” at CPAC

Gay conservative tells CPAC panel that some Republicans "just don't like gay people"

Topics: CPAC, cpac 2013, LGBT, Gay Rights, Conservatives, Racism,

Gay conservative condemns "bigotry" at CPACTerry Gilbert, left, kisses his husband Paul Beppler after wedding at Seattle City Hall, Dec. 9, 2012. (Credit: AP/Elaine Thompson)

Jimmy LaSalvia, the head of the pro-gay conservative group GOProud, told a panel at CPAC Thursday evening that the movement needs to stop its bigotry against gay people.

“We have tolerated something in our movement for far too long: bigotry against gay people,” LaSalvia said on a panel called “Rainbow on the Right” about expanding the GOP tent. “There are a few in our movement who just don’t like gay people.”

LaSalvia, deploying stronger language than he’s used in the past, said “bigotry has to be called out and condemned.” It’s the “same as racism,” he said. He continued: “If we don’t stand up to it, everyone will think we agree with it.”

He also said that he thinks homophobia “contributes more to conservatives’ image problem than anything else,” because there are gay people in every community and demographic group and almost every family in the country. Opposition to marriage equality alone, however, is not bigotry, he added.

GOProud was not allowed to get a booth or official speaking slot at CPAC this year, but the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute used its allotted sponsorship rights to host LaSalvia.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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