GOProud, the gay conservative organization that once boasted Andrew Breitbart on its advisory board, is folding its tent. Continued resistance from other conservative groups, and group founder Jimmy LaSalvia’s very public split with the GOP in January, proved too difficult for the organization to overcome.

On Sunday, GOProud Executive Director Matthew Bechstein admitted that the group’s brand is broken, and future efforts to achieve gay acceptance within the conservative project will require a new organizational identity.

LaSalvia and Chris Barron seemed to have momentum when they split from the Log Cabin Republicans, which they saw as too liberal, and formed GOProud in 2009. Endorsements from conservative stars like Brietbart and Anne Coulter lent the group some measure of legitimacy, boosting the group’s access and fundraising. In 2011, Breitbart even threw them a “Big Gay CPAC party.”

But Breitbart resigned from the GOProud advisory later that year when LaSalvia outed a gay staffer of Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose campaign had issued a homophobic TV ad. Responding to boycotts by ‘family values’ conservative groups, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference ended GOProud’s participation in the conference a few months later. GOProud has been in decline ever since.

La Salvia and Barron withdrew from leadership of the organization during 2013, leaving Bechstein and former Scott Brown aide Ross Hemminger to run its day-to-day operations. LaSalvia then endorsed an independent candidate in the Virginia governor’s race while Barron endorsed ‘third way’ Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Following LaSalvia’s public split with the GOP in January, Barron resigned from the GOProud board over the organization’s “unconditional surrender” to intolerance at CPAC.

“Last night I resigned from the Board of GOProud, the organization that I co-founded back in April of 2009. I cannot in good conscience sit by and watch as the current leadership of the organization disingenuously pawns off an unconditional surrender to the forces of bigotry as some sort of ‘compromise,’” Barron told BuzzFeed. “Nothing has changed in regards to GOProud and CPAC, GOProud does not have a booth, they are not a sponsor, they are not participating in any formal sense — individual members can attend and that’s exactly the terms (the American Conservative Union) dictated the previous few years.”

Ironically, Barron has compromised with the GOP for years by sacrificing the equality of his own marriage to a man on an altar of states’ rights. But the party has only become more extreme and less accepting since 2009 — in fact, the Log Cabin Republicans were recently refused any role at the Texas GOP convention — and there is no sign that a new organization can make any new progress at achieving tolerance in a party that is openly hostile to their civil rights.

  • Hofenbrau

    So they compromised until they knew there was no living with these extremists and being able to be a part of their insane organizations. The hope was probably that as long as they stayed in the closet and pretended they were something other than gay they were OK. However coming out and trying to join with a party that treats them like pure shit due to their extremist ways never really had a chance. So shut down and or re-form and hope to accomplish what exactly? Only way to deal with right wing extremists is to remove them from power and set your own path or agenda without them.

  • DuneDude

    The GOP only listens to pseudo-science and religious zealots who have never studied the diversity of sexual orientations, many differing sexual chromosomes, XYs who appear completely as female and are so assigned at birth and XXs born with male genitalia, XO, isochrome X, etc. There is even one small group where all are homosexual and geniuses. Go to a biomedical library and do the research. Even social psychologists after years of data gathering with many hundreds of subjects, state that the research shows no social causality and that current research shows it to be biological. Weinberg and Bell, etc. Why thousands of international articles and even surgeries which have changed homosexuals to heterosexuals don’t convince conservatives that sexual orientation is not chosen. It results from brain differences. In adults who are completely heterosexual they can become homosexual as a result of tumors, brain injuries, surgeries, viruses, etc.

    • cynthia curran

      This is true, I was in College years ago and two gay Republicans were made fun of but there was less of a religious right pushed back then than today.