Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) is the latest Republican who has chosen to skip this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) over its inclusion of a pro-gay group.
“With leading conservatives organizations not participating this year, Senator DeMint will not be attending,” Wesley Denton, a spokesman for the senator, told CNN. “He hopes to attend a unified CPAC next year.”
“Congressman Jordan believes that, in addition to low taxes and less spending, conservatives must advocate for traditional family values like life and marriage,” Jordan spokeswoman Meghan Snyder told The Plain Dealer. “Family is the cornerstone upon which a community, state or nation is built, and conservatives must lead the way in promoting the strengths of the traditional family whenever we can.”
Numerous social conservative groups said they would boycott CPAC for inviting the gay Republican group GOProud to the conference. The group recently backed efforts to repeal the military’s ban on gays, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Groups such as the Family Research Council, Concerned Women For America, American Values, the American Principles Project, the Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and Liberty University have said they will not attend the conference in February.
The conservative columnist Frank Gaffney also criticized CPAC for inviting Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist and former Bush staffer Suhail Khan, claiming the two men were part of a Muslim conspiracy to infiltrate the conservative community.
Norquist is also a member of GOProud’s advisory counsel.
Despite Gaffney’s concerns, a new movie titled “The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 911 Attacks” is set to premier at the conference. The film was produced by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
Speakers scheduled to address CPAC 2011 included Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Liz Cheney, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart, who has publicly supported GOProud for their “strong, principled conservatism,” was also scheduled to speak at the event.
Updated from a prior version to clarify the religious background of Mr. Norquist.