Why Conservatives Who Skipped CPAC Over Gay Rights Erred

Social conservatives should have the courage of their convictions.

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Those who boycotted CPAC because conservative gay-rights group GOProud was a cosponsor made a strategic mistake. Social conservatives who disagree with gay rights should not remove themselves from the debate--they risk looking, at best, out of touch and worse, intolerant.

Those who boycotted instead could have challenged gay-rights leaders to a serious debate on same-sex marriage. If the boycotters believe in the rightness of their cause, and the wrongness of gay marriage, then they shouldn’t be afraid of an open discussion on the merits.

CPAC would have benefitted from sponsoring a session on the issue--it would have come across as Buckleyesque--meaning open-minded, fair, and intellectually sharp. The boycotters could have had a great opportunity to present the social-conservative argument for traditional marriage, and they chose instead to stay home.

Andy Blom, executive director of the American Principles Project, which organized the boycott, told the Washington Times that socially conservative politicians who attend CPAC “will have to answer hard questions in the future. … A lot of Republican elites are running away from social issues, and as social conservatives, we have to draw a line in the sand.” It looks to me like it was the boycotters who were doing the running away.

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