GOProud, a conservative homosexual group who espouses Republican principles of limited government and individual liberty, is at the center of controversy for attacking and allegedly revealing the sexual identity of a GOP campaign strategist who worked for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, causing Andrew Breitbart, one of GOProud’s more prominent board members, to resign in protest.
The firestorm began last week when Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry ran a campaign ad in Iowa that referenced gays serving in the military and limits on school prayer as evidences of a declining respect for biblical values under the Obama administration. The ad apparently infuriated GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia, causing him to send the following message:
“I’ve just about had it with f----ts who line their pockets with checks from anti-gay homophobes while throwing the rest of us under the bus,” tweeted LaSalvia last week.
“I was talking about Rick Perry’s pollster/strategist,” LaSalvia wrote in a subsequent tweet, bringing attention to Tony Fabrizio, a Perry pollster.
Because Fabrizio is connected with the Perry campaign, it appeared LaSalvia sent the message out with the intent of calling attention to Fabrizio’s sexual orientation, which many felt was already public knowledge, although no public record or statement by Fabrizio has been found prior to LaSalvia’s revelation.
Efforts to contact Fabrizio and LaSalvia prior to publication were unsuccessful.
Andrew Breitbart, the publisher of BigGovernment.com, then announced his resignation from the GOProud advisory board claiming the group’s leaders “outed” (exposed) the sexual orientation of Fabrizio. GOProud spokesmen claim that Fabrizio’s sexual orientation was already public knowledge.
“I have a zero tolerance attitude toward the intentional infliction of vocational and family harm by divulging the details of an individual’s sexual orientation as a weapon of political destruction,” Breitbart wrote on his website. “As an ‘advisory board member’ I was not consulted on this extreme and punitive act. Clearly, there are more productive means to debate controversial ideas and settle conflicts.”
“Therefore, I cannot in good conscience stand with GOProud,” continued Breitbart. “I still stand by gay conservatives who boldly and in the face of much criticism from many fronts fight for limited government, lower taxes, a strong national defense as well as the other core conservative principles.”
Breitbart is most recently known for exposing the tweets of former Rep. Anthony Weiner who resigned in June after it became public he sent inappropriate tweets to several women. Weiner is married to one of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top aides.
Soon after Breitbart’s resignation, the GOProud board posted a statement over LaSalvia’s comments – expressing concern over exposing a person’s sexual orientation, but not remorse about the possible “outing” of Fabrizio.
“On behalf of the GOProud Board and its members and supporters, we want to make it very clear that ‘outing’ a gay or lesbian individual is wrong and should never be used as a political weapon.”
“Let us be crystal clear, however, Tony Fabrizio is not the victim here. Tony Fabrizio lined his pockets for years with money from gay groups and is one of the chief architects of a campaign strategy – not just an isolated television ad – intended to demonize gay people in order to score political points.”
Nonetheless, the series of events has unnerved some gay Republicans.
“This is really an unfortunate incident,” said a gay Republican activist in Washington who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by GOProud. “The entire incident makes me sick. This is no different from a straight male challenging Newt Gingrich on his past extra martial affairs.”
“Just because you don’t agree with who someone works for or what they say gives you no right to expose someone’s personal life,” the gay activist said. “This is what I thought GOProud would be fighting against. I guess I was wrong.”