|Formation||April 15, 2009|
|Dissolved||June 2, 2014|
|Christopher R. Barron
|Affiliations||Metroplex Republicans Dallas
GOProud is a defunct American tax exempt 527 organization that represented conservative gay men, lesbians, and their allies. GOProud advocated for free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights and worked at the federal and state levels to build strong coalitions of conservative and libertarian activists, organizations and policy makers to advance their shared values and beliefs.
GOProud was founded by Christopher R. Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia, two former Log Cabin Republican staffers who expressed dissatisfaction at that organization's generally centrist political positions. GOProud subsequently co-sponsored the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and added political commentator/author Ann Coulter, political commentator/strategist Margaret Hoover, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, new media specialist Liz Mair, political analyst Lisa De Pasquale, and political communications consultant Chuck Muth.
In June 2014, it was reported that GOProud had ceased operations and was shutting down as a political committee. After initial denials, the executive director later confirmed that they were "leaving GOProud behind" and that GOProud would be dissolved.
- 1 Board of Directors
- 2 Advisory Council
- 3 GOProud affiliates
- 4 History
- 5 Political positions
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Board of Directors
Jimmy LaSalvia and Christopher R. Barron co-founded GOProud on April 15, 2009. LaSalvia was the Director of Programs and Policy for the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay organization identifying with Republican ideals. Barron was the Political Director at Log Cabin Republicans before both men decided to leave with hopes of a creating a better organization that dealt with more conservative values. They wanted to focus on the issues of the conservative agenda rather than social issues, the focus of Log Cabin Republicans. Barron and LaSalvia believe that same-sex marriage is a state issue and therefore wanted an organization that focused on the real conservative agenda. Margaret Hoover, a member of the advisory council, added her opinion into the mix, "GOProud has helped force gays out of the conservative establishment-- what I would call the 'conser-va-gentsia'--to take on these self-anointed leaders of social conservatism."
On October 21, 2010, GOProud became the first gay rights organization to release a campaign commercial against Democratic candidates. The commercial, titled "The Real Democrats of Washington, D.C.", specifically targets openly gay Representative Barney Frank, as well as Senator Barbara Boxer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States invited GOProud to its 2010 conference. The Family Research Council was the first to start an uproar and boycott CPAC over the GOProud invite. Groups that followed the FRC in boycotting included the Concerned Women for America, American Principles Project, Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Council, and National Organization for Marriage. These conservative groups worry that adding gays will weaken the movement.
During a panel at the 2010 CPAC, Alexander McCobin, co-founder and executive director of Students For Liberty, opened his remarks by thanking the American Conservative Union for welcoming GOProud as a co-sponsor of the event. Ryan Sorba, chairman of the California Young Americans for Freedom and author of The "Born Gay" Hoax, attempted to derail support for GOProud at CPAC. During his speech at the convention, he condemned GOProud for entering the conference but was eventually booed by the audience.
Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential Candidate, and Sharron Angle, 2010 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Nevada, joined the fight in support of GOProud. Palin commended CPAC by saying she is "always in favor of freedom" and that GOProud is included in the "different, diverse groups... involved in political discourse." Angle told the Huffington Post, “We need to be very careful when we get to talk about our opinions and be inclusive.”
Homocon was a meeting for GOProud members on September 25, 2010 in New York City. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and GOProud donor, hosted the event at his home in the city. Ann Coulter was the headline speaker at this meeting. Coulter declared herself as the "right-wing Judy Garland". Christopher R. Barron, the co-founder had said, "Among gay conservatives, she is an icon. We could not think of anyone who we would want to party with more."
Coulter told the audience that she did not support gay marriage and that marriage is not a civil right. Coulter also criticized sex education in schools. She also said that "not only can gays be conservative, you pretty much have to be," because they are the "highest income demographic," because "gays are too stylish to work for the federal government," because radical Muslims want to execute them, and because "once [scientists] find the gay gene, guess who's getting aborted?" Barron defended Coulter against some critics, explaining, "Homocon 2010 was a complete and total success. GOProud set out to throw a great party, not hold a policy event, and that’s exactly what we did."
GOProud attended the 2011 CPAC as a co-sponsor. At the 2011 CPAC, during Ann Coulter's question and answer segment, she was asked about GOProud and the controversy over the groups participation. She boasted how she talked GOProud in dropping its support for same-sex marriage in the party's platform and said that "The left is trying to co-opt gays, and I don't think we should let them. I think they should be on our side" and "Gays are natural conservatives".
"Don't ask, don't tell"
"Don't ask, don't tell" is a political issue and policy enacted in 1993. This policy allowed homosexuals to serve in the military as long as their sexual orientation was undisclosed. GOProud was an outspoken supporter of repealing the policy and made "don't ask, don't tell" a priority. In order to help reverse this policy, GOProud went after the politicians who wanted to reinstate or reverse the repeal. GOProud condemned Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum - both candidates for the Republican nomination for President in 2012 - after they favoured reinstating the policy.
Founders LaSalvia, who is also Executive Director, and Barron outed gay pollster and Perry campaign adviser Tony Fabrizio over Rick Perry's "Strong" campaign ad, citing what they viewed as homophobic themes in the ad. LaSalvia also used a homophobic slur in his own tweet on the subject: "I've just about had it with faggots who line their pockets with checks from anti-gay homophobes while throwing the rest of us under the bus." The ensuing fallout over the outing caused the late conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart to resign from GOProud's board. This move has also caused controversy inside the group, with many top members expressing disagreement and disgust over the outing.
In July 2011, American Conservative Union’s board voted to not allow GOProud to co-sponsor the 2012 CPAC event. This led to controversy among the entities who wanted GOProud to sponsor the event.
2012 presidential election
On June 20, 2012, GOProud endorsed Mitt Romney for president even though Romney opposed same sex marriage and civil unions, supported a federal marriage amendment banning same sex marriage, and supported strict gun control as Governor of Massachusetts. However, Romney did support limited domestic partnerships for same sex couples, same sex adoption, and anti-discrimination laws for LGBT people at the state level, and said he would not reinstate Don't Ask Don't Tell if he was elected president.
GOProud was once again excluded from sponsoring CPAC in 2013, however this led to some criticism from some, such as S. E. Cupp and Chris Hayes, who boycotted attending CPAC that year over the issue.
In April 2013, the two co-founders, executive director Jimmy LaSalvia and senior strategist Chris Barron, sold the GOProud name, a computer, a contact list, and some posters to three former interns, and announced plans to step back from their day-to-day roles with the group.
In July 2013, the organization's Board of Directors announced that their new Leadership team consisted of Ross Hemminger, a former aide to US Senator Scott Brown; and Matthew Bechstein, a public relations consultant from California.
In October 2013, Jimmy LaSalvia endorsed Libertarian Robert Sarvis for Governor in the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election. Chris Barron would declare, on Twitter, that he voted for Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Founders leave GOProud and 2014 CPAC
In January 2014, Jimmy LaSalvia left GOProud and the Republican party and became an independent. This was due to LaSalvia viewing the Republican Party as too bigoted and closed minded towards LGBT people.
In February, founder Chris Barron resigned from GOProud to protest what he called "an unconditional surrender to the forces of bigotry" after the new leaders, Hemminger and Bechstein, accepted an offer from the organizers of CPAC to allow them to attend the conference as guests, without a booth or other formal presence for GOProud.
In June 2014, reports surfaced that the GOProud leadership had decided to dissolve the organization. Executive Director Matthew Bechstein issued a denial of the report, stating that it was untrue and that the organization would continue operating as it had. But the following day he admitted that "I posted what I had to on Facebook so I wouldn't scare our members and thwart our fundraising efforts. I wanted to mitigate a disaster." He then stated that GOProud did indeed plan to file dissolution papers with the government.
According to its website, the top four issues concerning GOProud included "tax reform", "limited government", "freedom-focused foreign policy", and "choices in education".
On January 18, 2013, GOProud officially came out in support of same-sex marriage at a state by state level. Prior to that, GOProud had no official position on marriage or relationship recognition. In 2011, Ann Coulter claimed she had got GOProud to take its support of same sex marriage out of its platform.
While GOProud didn't have an official position on abortion, GOProud attended anti-abortion rallies and Christopher Barron said that "I want pro-life gays to know they have a home here." Jimmy LaSalvia is pro-life and warned the gay community should be pro-life because of the threat of selective abortions of gay fetuses.
GOProud had no official position on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act or the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. In 2009, GOProud supported the inclusion of the Thune-Vitter Concealed Carry Reciprocity Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
- Mcgurn, William (2009-04-14). "Gay, Proud and Conservative". The Wall Street Journal.
- Tim Mak. "Inside the Implosion of GOProud, the Right’s Most Notorious Pro-Gay Group". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Our Mission". Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- "Board of Directors & Advisory Council". Goproud.org. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- "New Media Specialist Liz Mair to Join GOProud's Advisory Council". Goproud.org. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- Chris Geidner (2011-02-12). "For GOProud, Tammy Bruce Is Out And Former ACU Executive Director Chuck Muth Is In - Poliglot". Metroweekly.com. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- "GOProud Denies, Then Admits It Is Closing Down". The Bilerico Project. 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Chris Geidner. "Board of Directors".
- "Ann Coulter Joins Advisory Council of GOP Homosexual Group". Christian Post Politics. August 10, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
- "State/Local Affiliate Ranking". Join-goproud.kintera.org. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- "Metroplex Republicans Dallas". Metroplexrepublicans.com. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- "Right Pride". Right Pride. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- Zeller, Shawn (2010). "Out But In: New Strategy For Conservative Status". CQ Weekly 68 (27): 1610–1611.
- "A New Conservative Agenda." Advocate 1051 (2011): 7-8. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Dec. 2011.
- "GOProud Unveils Television Advertising Campaign Targeting Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer and Congressional Democrats". Goproud.org. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- "Real Democrats of Washington DC". YouTube. 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- "New GOP Gay Group Promotes Conservative Philosophy." Contemporary Sexuality 45.4 (2011): 9. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2011.
- Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times. "CPAC Meeting Raises Gay Issue." Washington Times, The (DC) (2010): 3. Regional Business News. Web. 5 Dec. 2011.
- "Gay rights groups ignore - Sarah Palin - GOProud hits back". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- Holson, Laura. "Not Done Yet." The New York Times p1(LifeStyle) Oct. 10, 2010. Web. 5 Dec. 2011
- "Ann Coulter Loves the Gays? Inside a Surprising Culture War". Esquire. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- Chris Geidner (2011-02-12). "Coulter Says "Gays Are Natural Conservatives" - To Cheers From CPAC Crowd". Metroweekly.com. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- "Guess Who's Coming to CPAC?: GOProud has taken the conservative and LGBT movements by storm by being brash, loud and uncompromisingly conservative - and just as uncompromisingly gay". Metroweekly.com. 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- Advocate.com Editors. "GOProud Slams Pawlenty Over DADT". The Advocate. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- Lavender, Paige (2011-09-23). "Rick Santorum Condemned By Gay Rights Group GOProud For DADT Debate Comments". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- "Tony Fabrizio, Rick Perry's Top Pollster, Is Gay: GOProud Leader". Huffington Post. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- "GOProud Outs Rick Perry Adviser After Antigay Ad". Newsy. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
- Matt K. Lewis (2011-07-29). "GOProud and Birchers ousted as CPAC co-sponsors (David Horowitz survives vote)". Dailycaller.com. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- "Chris Hayes, S.E. Cupp Walk On CPAC Over GOProud, Does It Matter?". lezgetreal. February 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "GOProud Leaders Stepping Aside For "Someone Else To Come In And Shake Things Up"". BuzzFeed. April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "Jimmy LaSalvia". Twitter. September 18, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- "What the hell happened with GOPROUD?". redstate.com. November 5, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-30.
- LaSalvia, Jimmy (January 13, 2014). "No Party". Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- Michelangelo Signorile (2014-01-20). "Jimmy LaSalvia, Former GOProud Founder, On Republican Party's 'Cultural Disease,' Aaron Schock". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- Chris Geidner (2014-02-20). "GOProud Founder Chris Barron Quits Board Over CPAC Flap". Buzzfeed.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- "LGBT Republican Group GOProud to Shut Down". The Bilerico Project. 2014-06-01. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "GOProud Denies, Then Admits It Is Closing Down". The Bilerico Project. 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- David Badash (2014-06-02). "Gay Tea Party Group GOProud Definitely Shutting Down — Director Admits He Lied". The New Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "What we believe". Goproud.org. Retrieved 2013-12-19.[dead link]
- "GOProud Backs Civil Marriage For Gay Couples". BuzzFeed. January 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "GOPROUD ON MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIP RECOGNITION". GOProud.org. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "Ann Coulter Wants Thanks For Talking GOProud Out Of Supporting Gay Marriage". On Top Magazine. February 16, 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "I am excited to have this opportunity to... - Conversation with GOProud's Jimmy LaSalvia". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "GOProud Attends Anti-Abortion March | Regator - Curated Blog Search and Discovery". Regator. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- McGurn, William (2009-04-14). "William McGurn Says GOProud Is Asking Republicans to Return to Its Reaganite Roots - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Amanda Hess (2010-11-20). "Jimmy LaSalvia on gay activism and the anti-abortion movement - Amanda Hess". TBD.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Guest Commentary on ENDA from Corinna Cohn". GOProud.org. April 28, 2010. Archived from the original on January 18, 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "Concealed Carry: If You're Interested in Preventing Hate Crimes, Let's Stop them Before They Happen". On Top Magazine. February 16, 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "GOProud’s Support of Thune Amendment in Advocate Story". GOProud.org. July 21, 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-18.