Homocon invite (GOProud)TAMPA--An older gentleman in a sparkling cowboy suit and matching hat made out of sequins gazed at a pair of buff male go-go dancers wearing tight jeans and skimpy tank tops that read "Freedom Is Fabulous." That was the scene at a local gay bar called "The Honeypot" on Tuesday night. More than 800 Republican delegates along with members of the local Tampa gay community and reporters clustered to listen to the colorful conservative gay group GOProud make the case for electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
"This is the largest event hosted by a gay group at any Republican convention," GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia shouted at the crowd during a brief speech at the party, called "Homocon."
"Not that size matters," he added, to laughter, "But ours is the biggest."
If you sense a hint of competition in the statement, you'd be right. GOProud often needles the older, more established gay conservative group, The Log Cabin Republicans, by emphasizing that GOProud is the "only" gay group to have endorsed Mitt Romney. The group hints that Log Cabin is the stodgy uncle figure in the very small world of gay conservative groups.
"Have you been to any of their events?" LaSalvia asked, looking smooth in a suit and purple tie on Wednesday. "Womp-womp."
"Our focus is very much within the grassroots of the conservative movement." he explained. "They are very establishment." LaSalvia and GOProud co-founder Christopher Barron are both former Log Cabin staffers. They left after neither was selected for the organization's top job a few years ago, and started GOProud in 2009.
Yahoo News has, in fact, attended a Log Cabin event. On Sunday, the group held a welcome cocktail hour hosted by three local chapters at the Rusty Pelican, an oceanfront eatery. Fred Karger, a gay rights activist and long time Republican operative who launched a failed bid for the GOP presidential nod last fall, and Sandy Steen, the 73-year-old vice president of the Broward County, Fla., Log Cabin Republican chapter, chatted in a corner at the party.
Read More »from 'Freedom is Fabulous’: Two Republican gay groups make waves in Tampa