Last night at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CEI hosted an event titled: "A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition, Bringing Tolerance Out of the Closet." The event was not officially sponsored by CPAC; but as a co-sponsor of CPAC, CEI was given the privilege of hosting its own event during the conference.
For the past couple of years, gay conservative group GOProud has not been invited to the Conservative Political Action Conference. CEI decided this year's CPAC was a good opportunity to begin a discussion on the future of an inclusive free-market/conservative movement, spotlighting the debate on gay rights.
The event was a resounding success. CEI Chairman Fred L. Smith, Jr. moderated the panel, which consisted of Jimmy LaSalvia of GoProud, Jonah Goldberg of National Review, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, Liz Mair of Mair Communications, and Margaret Hoover of CNN. Panelists discussed the difference between top-down enforced "tolerance" and organic social progress rooted in market and other incentives. Several panelists proclaimed their support for gay marriage. All panelists agreed that the future of the American right must be a future of inclusiveness and tolerance. The room was packed to capacity--latecomers were spilling out into the hallway--and after the discussion, guests hung around for a short open bar reception with the speakers.
For select media coverage of the event, see:
• The Washington Post: A Banner Day for Gay Marriage on the Right
• ABC News: Gay Republicans Find a Venue at CPAC
• The Daily Beast: CPAC's Unauthorized Gay Republican Summit
• The New Civil Rights Movement: So, CPAC Had A Gay Rights Panel. How Did That Go?
• Slate: CPAC Diary: Showdown on Gay Street