GOProud Leadership Deny Rumors but Announces ’Legal Closure’
They did everything right. They cozied up to Ann Coulter. They resisted officially embracing marriage equality until it had already become law in over ten states. And, like a person of mixed race who wanted to attend a Klan rally in the hopes that the attendees would only hate half of him, they repeatedly petitioned to have a place at the table at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Where did ultra conservative gay republican group GOProud go wrong?
Apparently nobody wanted to pay to keep their doors open.
On Sunday, Andrew Markle reported on Bilerico that GOProud, the gay conservative Republican organization, would be shuttering after five years due to financial woes.
Markle wrot: "Finding it difficult to continue without securing more funding, GOProud will be shutting down immediately -- a homage to an era gone by. The shuttering is undoubtedly necessary as the organization’s full effectiveness has been tarnished."
Markle pointed to an interview with GOProud co-director Matthew Bechstein, who stated in an interview that the "brand is broken" and a rebrand is necessary.
Monday, GOProud responded to the Bilerico article in a statement posted on their website.
"The truth is, GOProud has had some preliminary discussions about rebranding. That is, changing our name. As with any organization -- when new challenges arise, we react with necessary adjustments." Said Matthew Bechstein, Executive Director of GOProud.
"The fact is, in order to continue promoting the conservative principles upon which this organization was founded, change is needed. One of the changes under discussion is a switch to a different legal type of organization -- basic paperwork that requires dissolution and immediate subsequent reorganization. Technically, as some argue, this would be a legal "closure." But if it were to actually happen, it would only be momentary and certainly not the end of our organization. Rather, I would see it as progress -- making the necessary adjustments that allow us to fulfill our goals."
2014 has been a turbulent year for GOProud. In February, it was reported that one its co-founders Chris Barron announced his departure from the board over a compromise the organization’s leadership made with American Conservative Union regarding GOProud’s limited participation in CPAC 2014.
"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 ACU dictated the previous few years."
In January, Jimmy LaSalvia who founded GOProud with Barron made headlines by announcing his departure from the Republican party citing his own dissatisfaction with what he called "the big-government ’conservatives’ who run the party now" and the "tolerance of bigotry within the GOP."
According to Wikipedia, Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron co-founded GOProud on April 15, 2009. LaSalvia was the Director of Programs and Policy for the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay organization identifying with Republican ideals. Barron was the Political Director at Log Cabin Republicans before both men decided to leave with hopes of creating a better organization that dealt with more conservative values. They wanted to focus on the issues of the conservative agenda, not social issues, which Log Cabin Republicans dealt with. Barron and LaSalvia believe that same-sex marriage is a state issue and therefore wanted an organization that focused on the real conservative agenda.