It’s still Santorum’s party: Pro-LGBT Republican group GOProud folds

A quixotic attempt to carve out a relevant pro-LGBT space in the modern GOP fails

Topics: GOProud, LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBT Rights, lgbtq rights, Republican Party, Homophobia, GOP, Matthew Bechstein, Jimmy LaSalvia, Chris Barron, , ,

It's still Santorum's party: Pro-LGBT Republican group GOProud foldsFormer Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (Credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

After a noble if perhaps doomed effort, GOProud — the group formed five years ago in an effort to create a gay-friendly space in the Republican Party — is folding as part of an effort to “re-brand.”

“The fact is, in order to continue promoting the conservative principles upon which this organization was founded, change is needed,” GOProud Executive Director Matthew Bechstein wrote in an email to Bilerico, which first broke the story. “One of the changes under discussion is a switch to a different legal type of organization — basic paperwork that requires dissolution and immediate subsequent reorganization,” Bechstein continued.

“Technically, as some argue, this would be a legal closure,” he acknowledged. “But if it were to actually happen, it would only be momentary and certainly not the end of our organization.”

According to Bilerico, however, the government requirements Bechstein mentions in his email do not, in fact, exist. If Bechstein and his GOProud colleagues intend to keep up the fight, in other words, they’ll have to do it under a different name and as a separate legal entity.



What makes GOProud’s shutdown all the more ignominious is that it follows a series of major personnel changes which ultimately saw its co-founders ousted. In 2013, founder Jimmy LaSalvia left the GOP and GOProud, both; Chris Barron, another founder, also left that year, and tweeted the following in response to Bilerico’s news:

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at eisquith@salon.com.

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