- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A faction of gay conservative activists will launch a new group Wednesday to rival the Log Cabin Republicans, the longtime home of the party's gay fringe.

A couple of former Log Cabin staffers broke off to form GOProud, a new political advocacy group, amid complaints the older organization was aligned too closely with liberal gay and lesbian causes and failed to provide an effective voice in Washington for gay Republicans.

Former Log Cabin policy director Jimmy LaSalvia, who will be GOProud's executive director, said LCR local groups continue to do great work at the city and state level, but there is a void at the national level.

“Our country is in transition, our party certainly is in transition, and there is no place at the table at the moment for gay conservatives,” Mr. LaSalvia said. “We are seeking to fill that void.”

Another founding member of GOProud is Chris Barron, a former Log Cabin political director. He will serve as chairman of the board for the new group, which will be formally introduced at a press conference Wednesday.

The announcement is scheduled to coincide with gay Republicans descending on the District this week for the annual Log Cabin convention.

Log Cabin spokesman Mark Day declined comment on GOProud or on charges that the Log Cabin Republicans are out of step with gay conservatives.

The rift at LCR follows reports in the Washington Blade that the group's chief benefactor is Tim Gill, a wealthy Democratic donor, who critics said influenced decision-making at the organization.

The Log Cabin Republicans' “left-of-center positions on important issues have bothered me … ,” Bruce Carroll, a persistent LCR critic, wrote on his GayPatriot.net blog, applauding the new group.

He continued: “LCR's silence and unwillingness to stand up and be vocal on true gay conservative issues (outing of Republican staffers, increasing threat of gays being selectively aborted, peril gays face by Islamic extremists) has been mind-boggling. And LCR's continued obsession in trashing Republicans, yet letting Democrats get a pass on their gay-related hypocrisies, has been infuriating.”

Mr. Carroll will serve as a director and a board member of GOProud.

Mr. LaSalvia said GOProud will fill an important niche by addressing policies typically ignored by gay liberal activists, such as moves by the Democrat-led Congress to let President George W. Bush's cuts to the inheritance tax expire.

“The inheritance tax is really a gay tax,” said Mr. LaSalvia, noting that without same-sex marriage, there is no tax exemption for inheritance from a gay partner. That's the type of policy the traditional gay lobby isn't going to touch.

“They are so beholden to Democrats that they can't raise their voice on that issue,” Mr. LaSalvia said. “We see a need for an organization that speaks on behalf of gay conservatives.”