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GOProud Defends Conservative Event

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The chairman of the conservative gay group GOProud is defending his organization's presence at an annual conference of its political brethren.

Christopher Barron wrote in an op-ed for Metroweekly on Thursday that GOProud's objective is to make gay people more visible to conservatives, who are less likely to personally know gay and lesbian individuals and therefore less likely to support gay rights. He also blasted liberals for their lack of support for GOProud's presence at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference.

"In a case of truly strange bedfellows, the gay left has joined the most radical elements of the social conservative movement in attacking GOProud's participation," he wrote. "You can understand the fear of extremists on the far right: They know the impact GOProud's sponsorship will have on undercutting their anti-gay message. These people rely on manipulating fear of what is unknown or different. But why is the gay left so angry about it? The answer is simple. They are far more interested in politics [than] they are in achieving equality of opportunity for gays and lesbians and their families."

While GOProud announced its cosponsorship of CPAC with great fanfare, right-wing groups have blasted its presence at next month's convention. Some, like Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, have threatened to lead a boycott of the inclusion of GOProud. Despite the outcry, CPAC organizers have said they will keep GOProud on its slate along with other cosponsors like the Alliance Defense Fund and the National Organization for Marriage.

However, as Barron also pointed out, the Log Cabin Republicans, another gay GOP organization, had acted as a cosponsor of the event in the past.

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