“We didn’t invite her here because we agree on everything,” said GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia. “We invited her here because we know she gives a great speech and we had a great dialogue on that subject tonight.”
Or, as GOProud Board Chairman Christopher Barron bluntly put it: “We’re the only gay group that had the balls to have someone like Ann Coulter come speak to them.”
Most of the attendees who spoke to The Daily Caller after the event said they disagreed with Coulter on the gay marriage issue, but liked that she didn’t water down her rhetoric because of the audience. More importantly, they could still work together as conservatives despite disagreeing on a few issues.
“I admire her courage to come into what would obviously be a hostile crowd on that issue and stand up for what she believes,” said Bill Christian, a GOProud supporter from Washington D.C. “All of the other points she made, I think we can find agreement on.”
If there was one overarching theme many said they took away from the night, it was that a person like Ann Coulter could usher in more acceptance from mainstream conservatives, despite differences on certain policy issues.
“It’s going to be an evolution,” said Robert Leath, a self described “gay conservative” who flew from North Carolina for the party. “But ultimately we have to create a conservative movement where all constituencies are welcome at the table, and tonight was a great beginning of that dialogue.” He added that he saw the mere fact that Coulter showed up as an “olive branch” from social conservatives.
Others said it was only a matter of time before the Republican Party opened up to gay conservatives.
“I think that the gay bashing will be taken out of the Republican agenda and I think it’s getting there,” said Michael Lucas, founder of New York’s largest gay adult film company who the New Republic magazine once described as “Gay Porn’s Neocon Kingpin.” “This event shows that they are coming to us.”
When asked if she thought she had changed any hearts and minds, Coulter told TheDC, “The truth is…they’re already against gay marriage, they just wont admit it publicly. I’m trying to get these gays to come out of the closet.”
As for GOProud, which has been accepted as an affiliate sponsor to the Conservative Political Action Conference next year, planning for “Homocon 2011” is already in the works.