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Al Cardenas Suggests GOProud Will Not Be Invited To CPAC 2012

February 16, 2011 1:46 pm ET by Tom Allison

Newly elected American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Al Cardenas was on C-SPAN's American Journal this morning discussing his vision for the future of the ACU and their annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Citing this Washington Times article about divisions among conservatives over gay conservative advocacy group GOProud's inclusion at this year's CPAC, host Greta Brawner asked Cardenas whether GOProud would be "welcomed at CPAC events" in the future. Cardenas' response was telling:

Cardenas declared that the American Conservative Union "will always be inclusive in regards to who comes to CPAC, regardless of your ethnic origin, gender, color of your skin or orientation." While gay conservatives might take comfort in this comment, Cardenas went on to elaborate that this applies only to individuals, and that the inclusion of groups that actually advocate for pro-LGBT issues is a different story.

Cardenas clarified that if an organization is not in line with the ACU's principles, then "your individual members are welcome to come, but not the organization." Cardenas suggested that among those principles that might not pass the vetting process were the "gays in the military issue or gay marriage." He added that groups, gay or straight, that don't support gay issues like Don't Ask Don't Tell's repeal or marriage equality will "fit within the tent of what we stand for." GOProud has been an outspoken advocate for Don't Ask Don't Tell's repeal, so barring a major position shift from GOProud, it's safe to assume that they will not be invited as a participating organization at next year's CPAC conference.

Also, relying on a confidential source, WorldNetDaily reported this week that the decision has already been made to "exclude homosexual advocacy" next year, though when we called ACU they were unable to confirm or deny the report at the time and said they didn't know who WorldNetDaily talked to. But given some of the responses that we saw to GOProud's presence, it seems more and more difficult for a gay conservative advocacy group to find their place within the conservative movement.

From the February 16 edition of C-Span's Washington Journal:

GRETA BRAWNER (HOST): There was a Washington Times front-page story last week before CPAC gathered saying that there were fissures over gays being welcomed into CPAC. GoProud, which is one of those groups, called incompatible. You have recently came out - where are you on whether not this group is welcome at CPAC events as part of the American Conservative Union?

AL CARDENAS: We'll always be inclusive in regards to who comes to CPAC -- regardless of your ethnic origin, gender, color of your skin or orientation. You're always welcome as an individual.

The challenge is always, in terms of our participating organizations, is are you within the sandbox of our principles or not. And if you're not, your individual members are welcome to come but not the organization.  So we are going to go through a vetting process. We decided yet who's going to get invited to the 2012 CPAC or not. We're going to make sure that organizations that adhere by what our beliefs are, get invited. And so that includes GOProud or anyone else. They're going to go through a vetting process and we're going to see what they stand for. If you are a group - and this has got nothing to do with your orientation - if you are a group of straight couples and you advocate for gay marriage, that is not within the scope of what we believe the three legs of the stool of the movement are. So it's got nothing to do with the orientation, it's got to do with the principles that you advocate. There are a number of gays in America who don't advocate the gays in the military issue or gay marriage, and so they'll fit within the tent of what we stand for. So it's not that easy. It's complicated. But we'll do our best to be inclusive, while at the same time adhering to the principle that Ronald Reagan dreamed about and we have been following.