GOProud Leaders Step Down to Let Someone Else 'Shake Things Up'

Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron will step down from the conservative gay group they founded four years ago.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

April 26 2013 4:24 PM ET

Jimmy LaSalvia (left) and Chris Barron cofounded GOProud in 2009.

The two co-founders of gay conservative group GOProud will be stepping down from their day-to-day duties as the organization searches for a new executive director, reports BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner. 

Jimmy LaSalvia, the outgoing executive director, and senior strategist Chris Barron, told Geidner the organization is ready for some fresh ideas and new leadership. 

"It's time," said LaSalvia. "We don't want it to get stale."

Barron, who served as GOProud's chairman until 2011, told Geidner the organization's business-as-usual model just isn't cutting it, these days.

"The reason why GOProud has been so successful is because we have brought new ideas and new energy to the arena," said Barron. "At some point, what was the outside-the-box thinking all of the sudden becomes the box, and so now, that's the way that GOProud does things. It's our box. It seems crazy to everyone else, but, for us, it's like standard operating procedure. It's time for someone else to come in and shake things up."

GOProud has often garnered the ire of the mainstream gay community for its questionable endorsements, like when the group endorsed Mitt Romney, or  Republican Tommy Thompson for an Illinois Senate seat that ultimately went to Tammy Baldwin, making her the nation's first openly gay Senator. GOProud has also earned critique for its strident defense of right-wing darling Ann Coulter, who the organization hosted as its keynote speaker at its HomoCon party in New York City in 2010, and from whom the group defended a tweet around National Coming Out Day last year where Coulter snarked that the day would better be named "Disown Your Son Day." 

LaSalvia acknowledged that it's not alway easy to represent gay and staunchly conservative values in today's polarized political climate. 

"There was this little patch of ground that nobody else wanted," said LaSalvia of the group's more conservative, grassroots alternative to the Log Cabin Republicans. "And that's where GOProud is. We built a foundation on that patch of ground, and I'm really kind of excited to see where it goes from here."

Read more at BuzzFeed

Tags: Politics

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