Many people in the media and on political blogs have been talking about how some social conservative groups are boycotting the the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because they have invited a group of gay conservative activists known as GOProud to attend the event in February. Gabriel Malor, writing a post on Ace's blog, explains that this isn't a complete boycott by social conservative groups since many of them still plan on attending the event. I don't think any fireworks will happen this year as it did last year when a social conservative named Ryan Sorba made a fool of himself by during his criticism towards the organizers of CPAC for inviting gay conservatives to the largest conservative forum in America.
In any event, GOProud Chairman Christopher Barron did an excellent job of explaining how a gay man can be a conservative on MSNBC. As you can tell by the watching the video above, the fill in host Cenk Uygur is flabbergasted over the idea that a gay man could be a conservative despite the fact that many conservatives are opposed to gay marriage and the repeal of DADT. I liked that Christopher Barron explained his support for conservative ideas and principles but I don't agree with his claim that the conservatives are united on the idea of gay conservatives or on issues that are important to gays and lesbians. However, as Hot Air points out, there is a split among conservatives that appears to be a generational gap in terms of support for gays:
"There may be, as RCP argues, a generational gap on this question in Congress, with senators in their early 50s — even conservatives ones like Richard Burr — more prone to siding with the left on gay issues than older Republicans are. That’s perfectly in keeping with national polling showing more tolerance for gays among younger demographics. Which is to say, per Uygur’s critique, while the GOP hasn’t traditionally welcomed gays, it’s far more likely to do so in the future."
Despite the disagreement among conservatives about allowing gay conservatives to come into the fold, the Republican party has been making great improvements among gay voters. As I pointed out in a previous blog post, Republicans made history in the 2010 elections with gay voters:
"In 2008, only 19% of gay voters supported Republican candidates in 2008. In 2010, it jumped up to 31% of self-identified gay voters supported Republican candidates for the U.S. House."
Unless something big happens, the future for gay conservatives is looking good for them. Christopher Barron is absolutely correct that conservatives, as a whole, are more tolerant of gays than liberals are. Tammy Bruce, a well known lesbian conservative talk show host explains:
"So, when it comes to my comfort level as a conservative who happens to be gay, here's what I know: while many conservatives are people of faith and their religion promotes a very different point of view than mine on homosexuality (and a few other things!), I have found conservatives to be more tolerant, more curious and more understanding of those who are different to them than I ever did when ensconced in US liberal leadership.Are there religious extremists on the right? Of course, but they are marginalised and rejected. As an example, this year at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference), considered the premier, annual conservative gathering in America, a speaker stepped up to the podium and began verbally to attack gays and lesbians. He was summarily booed from the stage by a conservative audience that refused to allow such bigotry to continue.As you might have gathered, I prefer the honest, decent and genuinely accepting friends and family I have in the conservative world. We don't always agree on everything, but isn't that the point? – being able to be yourself, make choices that best suit you, without fear of punishment or retribution. My friendships and relationships in the conservative world are not predicated on political correctness and enforced conformity of thought. They are based, instead, on mutual respect, honesty and understanding – concepts many modern liberals should consider revisiting."
While Cenk Uygur laughs at Christopher Barron for being a gay conservative, the laughter masks the fear that many liberals have over the truth that the Republican party are pulling gay voters away from the Democratic party and that many gay people are finding themselves at home with conservatives.