GOProud is the tea party of the gay rights movement, with well-tailored dark suits in place of revolutionary war garb. The event, complete with lithe young men in black “Freedom is Fabulous” t-shirts guiding guests to the elevator, marked a new high tide in the shift of the Republican Party away from “social issues” and toward a broader complaint about Democratic management of the economy, national security, and the idea of America. GOProud is an explicitly gay group that isn’t particularly focused on gay rights, and Coulter’s speech – full of conservative red meat, and only the occasional Judy Garland joke – reflected its focus.
The gay right is thriving at a moment that the mainstream gay rights movement faces a profound crisis.
“Gay and lesbian voters are small-business owners, mothers and fathers, taxpayers who deserve representatives who will stand up for them and succeeding generations,” said its deputy executive director, Christian Berle.
Attendees at “Homocon” universally attributed the rise of the gay right to the rising conservative tide generally.
Christopher R. Barron of GOProud writes at the Daily Caller:
What strange bedfellows politics makes; take the curious case of gay conservatives. Both the gay left and the professional anti-gay industry in this country would have you believe that the gay community is homogenous. Both the gay left and the anti-gay-for-pay right want Americans to believe that the gay community is uniformly liberal, slavishly loyal to the Democratic Party, and unquestioning in their allegiance to the “progressive” agenda. Both treat the idea of gay conservatives as a novelty, political unicorns. The reality, of course, is nothing near what this political odd couple would have you believe — indeed 27% of self-identified gay and lesbian voters chose John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008. That’s a figure that translates to roughly 1.7 million gay votes for McCain/Palin. If gay conservatives are unicorns, our herd is huge.
Instead of talking to people about our lives, our families, our beliefs, and our values, the gay left has taken the easy way out — preferring to attack, criticize, and demonize those who may disagree with us on issues like marriage. Instead of working to win new friends, the gay left seems hell bent on creating new enemies.
We do not believe that disagreeing with us on same-sex marriage or openly gay service makes someone a homophobe or a bigot. Many of the people who don’t understand our lives don’t know us, or at least don’t think they do. Poll after poll shows that people’s opinions on homosexuality, gay marriage, and openly gay military service are all inextricably linked to whether or not they know someone who is gay or lesbian.
We recognize that simply being in the room is not enough, but you have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. The truth is that we simply cannot win the hearts and minds of serious conservatives — hearts and minds we need to win — without the work of gay conservatives.