CPAC’s Most Fabulous Panel, or, Why you should embrace the gay right for what they are

There are many, especially on the left, skeptical of the marriage equality movement’s sudden momentum on the right. From Dick Cheney to GOProud to Rob Portman, some of the most prominent voices for conservative support of gay marriage have been shouted down from all sides. This is counterproductive to both marriage equality and to conservatism itself. I realize blind partisans have the knives out for anyone with a different letter designation following their name, but on issues where we agree, we should find support and encouragement, not knee-jerk hostility.

For those who remain skeptical of conservatives’ and libertarians’ sincerity in supporting marriage equality, I present the following:

This was the rogue CPAC panel hosted by CEI, a free enterprise think-tank, to discuss issues on the gay right, especially intra-movement tolerance and marriage equality. Those involved were some of the biggest names in conservative thought and Republican politics, not just fringe libertarians who would naturally support gay marriage anyway. Jonah Goldberg, editor at the conservative publication, National Review. Jen Rubin, the conservative voice at the Washington Post. Liz Mair, digital campaign strategist for several high profile candidates. Margaret Hoover, one of the most eloquent conservative voices on CNN. And last but not least, Jimmy LaSalvia, founder of GOProud, himself a campaign visionary and thought leader who has been pushing on these issues for years.

The thing is, these leaders aren’t pushing the GOP or conservatism to the left to meet gay marriage. They’re moving gay marriage to the right, making the case that supporting marriage for anyone is by definition socially conservative. This isn’t an issue of compromising to win elections or surrendering an issue for good media coverage. There is real and growing momentum on the right to support marriage equality, and really broader civil rights and liberties across the board. GOProud’s fight, this star-studded panel, and the high profile fight about the issue at CPAC is evidence enough.

As I’ve been saying for years, and one of the panelists here echoed, this issue is a demographic one that will seem quaint and anachronistic to debate in just a few years. Those on the left would be wise to support us on it, and those on the right who don’t would be wise to get out of the way.

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