The anti-LGBTQ group MassResistance says that its plans to sponsor a table at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Convention were abruptly cancelled after the event’s sponsor got wind of combative anti-LGBTQ comments made by MassResistance founder Brian Camenker, which were first reported by Right Wing Watch.
In a blog post today, MassResistance claims that the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, had approved it to sponsor a table at next week’s conference, where MassResistance planned to promote Camenker’s book “The Health Hazards of Homosexuality.” Then, MassResistance says, the ACU abruptly reversed course, citing discomfort with Camenker’s comments at a 2015 event in Salt Lake City, where he said that there is “a place for being insulting and degrading” in the fight against LGBTQ rights because “we have to look at this as a war, not as, you know, a church service.” Camenker’s comments were first reported at the time by Right Wing Watch.
Why Camenker’s comments were unacceptable to the ACU while it is still welcoming the Family Research Council as a sponsor is beyond us. The FRC’s Peter Sprigg spoke at the very same Salt Lake City event, where he warned against compromise with the LGBTQ rights movement, and the FRC’s history of promoting anti-LGBTQ bigotry is too long to list.
MassResistance, meanwhile, is angry that it has been given the boot while the gay conservatives of Log Cabin Republicans are being allowed to sponsor the event, even though the Log Cabin Republicans “clearly exist to homosexualize the Republican Party and push the LGBT agenda in government and society.” MassResistance also suggested backstabbing by fellow anti-LGBTQ groups, including the FRC:
[ACU’s Dan Schneider] told us that there is a “CPAC Advisory Council” which includes Family Research Council (FRC) that decides whether a group passes. Schneider told us that Family Research Council had voted to approve Log Cabin Republicans because LRC passes all four criteria. Obviously, this shocked us, but that’s what we were told. He added that there are “gay” employees at both Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation.
We asked [Schneider] if any other pro-family groups were having tables at CPAC this year. He said that there weren’t right now, but that the Family Research Council was expected to get one soon. (This was about a week and a half before it starts.) Sure enough, within a few days Family Research Council (FRC) was suddenly listed as a sponsor with a table! This is very strange, because generally a major organization like FRC would sign on several months in advance, not just a few days before.
Peter LaBarbera, another extremist anti-LGBTQ activist, is weighing in on Camenker’s behalf, saying that he has now applied to sponsor a booth at CPAC in order to dare them to reject him also. LaBarbera noted in a blog post that the precursor to his organization, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, “was launched at CPAC 25 years ago, so this latest politically correct absurdity really hurts personally.”
This is the latest episode in the yearly drama revolving around who’s in and who’s out of what’s long been seen as the flagship conference of the conservative movement. In previous years, the ACU has attempted to keep out groups for being too pro-LGBTQ rights rather than too anti-LGBTQ rights. The gay conservative group GOProud was allowed to sponsor CPAC 2010 and 2011, which caused some social conservative groups to boycott. Then the group was banned from the conference for two years, until it was finally permitted to attend the 2014 event as guests, not sponsors. Later that year, the group disbanded.
The next year, the gay conservative group Log Cabin Republicans participated in a panel discussion at the event after claiming that it had been shut out by ACU. Log Cabin Republicans was allowed to sponsor the event in 2016 and continues to do so.
At the same time, the ACU has struggled with what to do about white nationalist groups and anti-Islam groups that want to participate in CPAC. Even as the organization kicked gay conservatives out of CPAC, it allowed white nationalists to participate, including hosting a 2012 panel on the “failure of multiculturalism” featuring three prominent white nationalist writers and activists. Anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney was also barred for a time from CPAC—likely because he accused two ACU board members of being secret Muslim Brotherhood agents—but he was back at the conference in 2016 and this year his organization, the Center for Security Policy, is serving as a sponsor.