The founder of gay Republican group GOProud has quit the party in a very public manner this week, saying that the party cannot be salvaged.
I spent my career working to create an atmosphere in the conservative movement where gay conservatives can be open and honest and live their lives and work within the conservative movement. I wanted it to be a place where straight conservatives could publicly support gay Americans and even eventually come to support civil marriage for gay couples. I feel like I have accomplished that. I had hoped that would be enough to melt the anti-gay bigotry that runs through the ranks of some in the Republican Party. I’ve come to realize that it is not, and that the leadership of the party tolerates bigotry, not just antigay bigotry, but anti-Muslim, any people who are not like us it seems like, because they are afraid of losing that sliver of their base who are anti-gay. And the truth is they are turning off millions more Americans by kowtowing to a group that frankly is losing and who most Americans think are wrong.
In December of 2011, LaSalvia responded to Rick Perry’s homophobic ad by outing his pollster as gay, tweeting that “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.” Andrew Breitbart resigned from GOProud in protest of the outing, but had nothing to say about Rick Perry’s ad spot.
It is with sincere regret that I announce I must step down as a GOProud advisory member. On numerous occasions I have spoken with [GOProud leaders] Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron of the significant impact the practice of ‘outing’ had in my evolution from the political left to the right. I was under the absolute impression that both agreed. I have a zero tolerance attitude toward the intentional infliction of vocational and family harm by divulging the details of an individual’s sexual orientation as a weapon of political destruction.
Mr. LaSalvia cites the rise of anti-Muslim bigotry in the party, concurrent with acceptance of anti-gay bigotry, as his reason for leaving. It is worth noting that when Andrew Breitbart resigned from GOProud’s advisory board, he had just accepted nearly ten million dollars in venture capital from two sources, one of whom was reportedly right wing Israel hawk and Islamophobia funder Aubrey Chernick. Breitbart.com has since become a hotbed of Muslim-bashing. After the Conservative Political Action Conference purged some bigoted elements from its schedule last year, the website hosted a special “Uninvited” panel with arch-Islamophobe Pamela Geller.
That incident pointed to the emerging split between the Republican establishment, which would continue the pretense of being a “big tent” party by occasional purges, and the grassroots, which has become more puritanical and paranoid and absolutist than ever before and resents being ignored. In that environment, LaSalvia’s departure from the GOP was probably inevitable.