Veteran gay conservative activist: "No hope for the Republican Party"

Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

Top Line

Gay political activist Jimmy LaSalvia is having a loud and public breakup with the GOP.

Before announcing last week that he is leaving the Republican Party to become an independent –pointing to “tolerance of bigotry” within the GOP in his parting blog post – LaSalvia was a veteran GOP operative and activist, known for co-founding the conservative gay rights group GOProud.

LaSalvia sat down with “Top Line” to discuss his dramatic departure and explained that he has “no hope for the Republican Party.”

“No matter how good your autopsy … the changes the Republican Party is implementing really amount to nothing more than lipstick on a pig,” he said. “It was the Romney campaign that really got me to understand just how severe the problem is. … It's a culture of intolerance that I don't think any amount of messaging or policy changes can fix.”

Though LaSalvia still identifies as a conservative, he said he believes that the GOP is “out of touch with life in America today” and has consequently been rendered useless as a political party.

“The object of political parties is to win elections, and I've determined that the Republicans can never win a national election again, and so at that point, what's the point?” he said.

“Forty-two percent of Americans are independents, because they don't feel like either party represents their values or principles,” he continued. “I'm like everybody else, and I think that 42 percent of Americans who aren't represented by a party represent the new majority.”

He said that he held out hope for many years that the Republican Party would evolve in step with the American public on its view of gay marriage. But he said the change has come too slowly and now “it’s just too late.”

“There is a segment of the party who seems to be anti-everybody who's not like them,” he said. “You have such fear that they might lose a small sliver of intolerant voters that they're not willing to say to those people you either need to modernize and get with the program, or you can't come on our journey to help our country.”

LaSalvia said he’s not sure what his next step is in defining his place with “the new majority” but said he’s received an outpouring of support across the political spectrum since announcing his political shift last week.

For more on LaSalvia’s split from the GOP, check out this episode of “Top Line.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Melissa Young, and Bob Bramson contributed to this episode.