When GOProud, the recently formed gay group for conservatives, announced on Wednesday, May 5, that popular conservative lesbian radio host Tammy Bruce would be heading up its new advisory council, they expected many responses – but not the one that came from The Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel.
Weigel, who writes the Post‘s ”Right Now” blog covering the conservative movement, argues that Bruce’s appointment ”actually represents a small shift in GOProud’s issue stances,” referring to a 2004 column she wrote in which she offered that she ”respect[s] the majority of Americans and their opinion that marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman.”
In Bruce’s announcement of the news on her website, she wrote that the article was still indicative of her views, pointing readers to it as ”my position on gay marriage.” In that 2004 column she wrote, ”I also believe that every American deserves the same rights and protections as every other.”
Chris Barron, GOProud’s board chairman, said on Thursday morning of Weigel’s assessment, ”I think he was looking for an angle and looked too hard.”
Of Bruce’s appointment, Barron said, ”It doesn’t change any of our positions. There are going to be times when all of us disagree. We’re not the ‘pod people’ here.”
On the issue of marriage, he said, ”We are a federal organization; we work on federal issues. Marriage isn’t a federal issue.
“To the extent that it has become so through congressional action, we’re 100 percent for [Defense of Marriage Act] repeal,” he said, adding, ”Personally, I got married here in Washington, D.C.”
GOProud is still a small group organizationally, with three board members, although Barron said more would be named in the near future. Formed by two former Log Cabin Republican (LCR) employees, Barron characterized the group’s launch as “two guys and a laptop in the spring of last year.”
Barron points to Bruce’s appointment as evidence of the ”unbelievable progress we’ve made; the incredible inroads we’ve made into the conservative movement.
”We are a fledgling organization … and the fact that we now have someone like Tammy Bruce to serve as the chair speaks volumes,” he said. ”She is a tremendous asset to the conservative movement and the gay community.”
Notably, GOProup also co-sponsored the high-profile Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C. in February.
Of the advisory council on which Bruce will serve as chair, GOProud announced it ”will be made up of prominent conservative leaders in the media, public policy and politics who will serve as a resource for GOProud’s board and staff.”
The announcement also gave GOProud another chance to snipe, in that the organization routinely bills itself as ”the only national organization of gay conservatives and their allies” – a clear swipe at their peers at LCR, an older and more established group than GOProud.
Countering GOProud’s tagline, LCR spokesman Charles Moran welcomed any group calling for a more inclusive Republican Party, but noted that GOProud “could also say that pigs fly and the sky is green. … It has no bearing on who we are and the relationships we have with the Republican Party.”
Further explaining her association with GOProud in her May 5 blog post, Bruce wrote, ”As you all know I am an Independent Conservative without party affiliation, and despite its name GOProud is not associated with the Republican Party. It is instead a group for conservative gays who are committed to promoting the conservative agenda in all of our efforts to confront and solve our nation’s problems.”