GOProud proudly, defiantly provokes gay left

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Monday October 11, 2010

It started with two guys and a laptop.

Former Log Cabin Republican staffers Chris Barron and Jimmy La Salvia formed GOProud in early 2009 as a way to challenge business as usual among so-called Gay, Inc. And nearly two years later, the gay conservative organization has proven itself a lightning rod of controversy

Case in point: Ann Coulter headlined GOProud's Homocon at Peter Thiel's Manhattan apartment on Sept. 25. The perennial provocateur sparked outrage when she said marriage is not a civil right because "you're not black". Barron, who chairs GOProud's Board of Directors, told EDGE during an interview in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, the outrage "from the left was so predictable".

"Ann was exactly who I thought she would be," he said. "She was funny; she was controversial; she was confrontational. We wanted her to be provocative. We knew when we invited Ann it was going to spark controversy."

Barron declined to disclose how much money GOProud raised at Homocon, but he said the 125 people who attended the sold-out fundraiser enjoyed themselves immensely.

"There is no better provocateur in our country these days than Ann," said Barron. "The whole point was to have fun. It was our effort to stand up and say 'You know what, this is our night to have fun.'"

Not an Auntie or Uncle Tom or black for the KKK

GOProud's critics have described the organization's members as anything from self-loathers, quislings (which Barron told EDGE he had to look up), Jews for Hitler, blacks for the KKK, Auntie and Uncle Toms and even chickens for Colonel Sanders. "It's easier to come out as gay to conservatives than to come out as a conservative in gay circles," said Barron.

Barron did not mince words when he criticized gay blogger Joe Jervis. (One headline on Joe. My. God. on Thursday, Oct. 7, read "GOProud BFF Ann Coulter may face felony voter fraud charges. Jervis also described Barron's defense of Coulter as "a bizarre attempt to divert criticism of Homocon 2010, an event which has left the enemies of the LGBT movement doing ecstatic cartwheels".)

"He [Jervis] is a spineless cyber bully who I have seen pick on random gay conservatives-not even people who are public figures, but just random average gay folks who happen to have political opinions different then his," said Barron. "He is someone who should be uniformly shunned by everyone in our community for taking a page out of the Fred Phelps play book for politics."

GOProud seeks to support what Barron described as traditional conservative values and candidates who back them, but he was quick to point out to EDGE his organization is not afraid to attack those who spew anti-LGBT rhetoric on the campaign trail. GOProud criticized U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint [R-S.C.] earlier this month after he told a South Carolina crowd he supports a ban on openly gay teachers. GOProud has also singled out Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for their anti-LGBT positions. And Barron said Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell and Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle's previous anti-LGBT sentiments also trouble him.

"We're not going to help someone who thinks it is OK to reject PAC money from a company that offers domestic partner benefits," he said, referring to Angle's answer to a question on a Government is not GOD PAC questionnaire that came to light in August.

Barron: Tea Party's message resonating with LGBT voters

That said, he stressed an increasing number of LGBT voters are responding to the Tea Party's message-especially on taxes, health care and overall anger towards Washington-going into the mid-term elections. "The gay left wants to act like the gay community is homogeneous and monolithic on these issues," said Barron. "The message of the Tea Party is resonating well with a lot of gay people: I want the government to stay out of my life as much as possible. I want the government to leave me alone."

Barron said the GOP "tidal wave" at the polls on Nov. 2 would result in some "blood-letting at Gay, Inc." He mocked Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese for the speech in which he said he told a Washington cab driver to take him to the White House "and step on it!" Barron further said the HRC could not criticize Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for "adding controversial pieces of legislation dealing with abortion and amnesty for illegals" into the defense authorization bill because it is in bed with the Democrats.

"Joe Solmonese and his crew put out a press release blasting Republicans for killing DADT," said Barron. "No serious political person, regardless of their partisan affiliation, took that spin seriously, but HRC was all too willing to do the bidding of the Democratic Party."

Barron also stressed Gay, Inc., will have to ask some tough questions about the Democrats after Election Day.

"Heads are going to roll," he said. "Everybody is going to look for scapegoats (and for someone to throw under the bus). If I were Joe Solmonese, I'd be nervous right now."

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Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.