Gays at CPAC: The Sharon Statement, Sorba, and a curious reversal of roles

posted at 11:00 am on February 20, 2010 by Patrick Ishmael

As conservatives set their political course this week, much has been made of the newly-released “Mount Vernon Statement,” touted as an ideological update to the “Sharon Statement” that was published in 1960 by the Young Americans for Freedom and facilitated by no less than William F. Buckley himself. While the MVS is an uninspired recitation of conservative thought, the Sharon Statement is, half a century on, still a fine treatise on freedom and discourse, especially in its opening lines:

THAT foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

THAT liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

It is a statement of openness and freedom; of the right to contract; of the sanctity of the individual and his or her right to choose how they will live without undue coercion or influence by the government or his peers. It is a statement that emphasizes common ground on common principles among people of common sense. It is, in short, a statement of ideological strength and a road map to successful governance by and for the People — a statement that is altogether relevant as we prepare for the coming elections.

YAF’s Sharon Statement is effective because it sketches out a way to bring people together on those common principles. And that’s not always easy; it’s difficult even within the conservative movement to always find common ground, and it’s even rarer when both the Right and Left agree on something. Yet every once in a while, someone comes along that facilitates that spirit of cooperation — someone that’s just naturally a uniter, not a divider.

Perhaps “unity through attempted division” is a more appropriate description of the following example. And unfortunately, it was an inheritor of the Sharon mantel that is at the center of it all.

Meet Ryan Sorba. Sorba is the bombthrowing “leader” of a the California chapter of YAF that CPAC attendees booed off the stage yesterday. Sorba bemoaned the inclusion of GOPROUD, a gay conservative group at the conference, as a sponsor of the conference. By the end of his talk, he was declaring who his enemies were.

So if infamy is what he wanted, he got it. Not since Ann Coulter’s infamous 2007 remarks has there been as gratuitous and public a slam on homosexuals at CPAC, although even tonight it sounds like Coulter may be reprising her role as lead bombthrower. (We’ll know the details soon, I’m sure.) Yet in the conservative blogosphere, the reactions to both statements were almost uniformly disdainful. Following Coulter’s outburst, the Captain’s Quarters blog — that is, Hot Air’s very own Ed Morrissey — put it this way:

At some point, Republicans will need to get over their issues with homosexuality. Regardless of whether one believes it to be a choice or a hardwired response, it has little impact on anyone but the gay or lesbian person. We can argue that homosexuality doesn’t require legal protection, but not when we have our front-line activists referring to them as “faggots” or worse. That indicates a disturbing level of animosity rather than a true desire to allow people the same rights and protections regardless of their lifestyles.

Coulter’s remarks were and are risible, and were appropriately pilloried by just about everyone online. But was that sentiment reflected at the conference itself back in ’07? Not so much. James Joyner reporting for OTB that day:

I would note that, an hour after the speech, people are still lined up around the block for autographed copies of her book. Granted, most of them are young kids of college age. Some of them are older than I am. Somehow, I can’t imagine Ronald Reagan being pleased.

Nor could I. Today’s change in reaction in the room is made all the more satisfactory given the Coulter experience. Yet the irony is that while Coulter’s remarks would have been derided yesterday by a room full of conservatives, the same sort of sexually-oriented taunts were used just two nights ago by avatar-of-modern-liberalism Keith Olbermann against — second drum roll please — Ann Coulter. As Tommy Christopher notes, Olbermann’s segment was “homophobia and transphobia at their most insidious.”

But it’s worse than that. It’s a symptom of a larger problem on the Left when it comes to the dignity of the individual and an insight into the burgeoning awakening on the Right, and it’s poised to do some real political damage sooner rather than later. As John Aravosis from the very liberal AmericaBlog notes, “When conservatives are standing up for gays, and Democrats treat us like we are an embarrassment, there’s a problem.” (via Ace of Spades)

No one wants Sarah Palin to be President. But we’re talking about our civil rights. I think a lot of straight Democrats don’t get that. They see out and proud gay people, a lot of us have good jobs, nice clothes, get to travel the world (and a lot of us don’t, but they don’t ever meet them), so they think our civil rights battle is some kind of champagne party to us, as if we’re doing it for fun because we really have everything we could ever want. Well, anyone who thinks that didn’t grow up gay. They didn’t grow up thinking they were a pervert. That they were sick. That they’d never find love, never get married, never have children or a family of their own – because God made them wrong. They didn’t grow up thinking they’d have to kill themselves once they hit the age of 30 because they’d be single, and people would ‘figure out’ that they were gay, and then they’d lose all their friends and family and their job and career. And they knew they couldn’t live with that….

To the White House, the DNC, and our leadership in Congress: You are messing with people’s lives, and we know it. And the day that an anti-gay bigot gets booed at CPAC, you all better start being very afraid.

Indeed, and it’s not as if the Right is or has been without gay rights supporters. As Young Americans for Liberty notes,

Barry Goldwater once said, “The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay,” Goldwater asserts. “You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that’s what brings me into it.”

Toss in Darth Cheney, Ted Olson, and others, and you have the makings of an important course change in American politics. And it’s about time.

The conservative movement has common cause with all who are seeking self-determination, and whether you’re citing the Sharon Statement or Barry Goldwater for support, it’s worth considering that our individual rights are best preserved when people of common interest come together, rather than tear each other down.

And one need not agree with the whole platform of gay conservatives, just as one need not agree with every tenet of every subgroup of conservatism. As Ed noted when the GOPROUD issue came up in December,

If we want to win control of the House in 2010, we need to focus on key principles that address the nation’s crises and the main points of disillusion with Democrats. That should set our focus on those points on which Democrats overreached — namely, spending, government intrusion, spiraling deficits, and fiscal insanity. We need to show that we can, if trusted with power again, govern properly and responsibly, and even more that we understand that the priorities are the fiscal issues and not the social issues that divide more than they unite.

GOProud’s priorities are fundamentally in line with that effort. We should not allow a purity campaign to push away natural allies on the fiscal crisis that grips our country, and the opportunity we have to correct it in 2010.

We are all stronger together, and gay conservatives are as much an ally of the conservative movement as heterosexual conservatives are. We are stronger by emphasizing our important commonalities rather than our less important differences. Fortunately, it appears the attendees at CPAC ’10 agree.

I hope that Sorba’s statements don’t represent the larger YAF group’s sentiments, but if they do, how far the group has fallen from its founding document.

Update: YAF’s Facebook page is getting a bit of an earful over the matter. For those wondering whether the Sharon Statement or YAF as an organization has a position on homosexuality, the group responds:

YAF’s guiding principles does not address gay people. YAF fights to uphold the Sharon Statement.

A specific and public disavowal of Sorba’s remarks is probably not too far behind. Stay tuned.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Yeah, this is totally the reason the government bailed out GM and dumped nearly a trillion dollars on pet projects, contributing to an ever-compounding debt-spiral that the current President is disinterested in reversing. Totally see what you mean.

Wait, what?

Repurblican on February 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM

If you don’t want a federal bailout, then don’t take one! Don’t tell others what they can do! If it feels so right, how can it be wrong? /sarc

Chris_Balsz on February 21, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Yes, bigotry is a right.

MadisonConservative on February 21, 2010 at 4:20 AM

As you have so richly shown in your comments against

cjk on February 21, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Sorba the ‘Eek’?

Sorba the Fiqh?

RD on February 21, 2010 at 3:57 PM

More like Sorba the courageous truth teller.

cjk on February 21, 2010 at 10:23 PM

I’m happy you think I sound like that. I’d be ashamed to sound like you. And yes, you seem obsessed. How many posts have you made on this subject? I’ve never even noticed you posting here before… but talk about butt sex and damn you get perky. You are a cliché.

Ampersand on February 21, 2010 at 2:55 AM

Too bad I’m crashing you little gay party here. Typical reply from a pervert: Talk all you want about everything, but just don’t bring peoples attention to the reality of what we practice! Because if you do we’re gonna start saying you do the same. Sorry I don’t partake in your types of perversions, the ones truly ‘obsessed’ with what you practice are you…the ones who do it.

cjk on February 21, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Mr. Ampersand isn’t a pervert he’s a right-wing Team R person stalwart and true. You’re just a grumpy old man I think what likes to call people perverts.

I think it’s tiresome.

happyfeet on February 21, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Ryan Sorba is a hero and he spoke the truth, even though the “conservative pretenders” at the CPAC session didn’t want to hear it.

Conservatism is more than budget cuts and supporting our troops (minus don’t ask, don’t tell), and includes social issues such as “right to life” and family values.

Cheney and Ted Olson don’t speak for me on certain issues.

TBenton on February 22, 2010 at 12:06 AM

Hot Air and TownHall belong together: Middle of the roaders like Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt, Michael the Liberal in Seattle Medved, Morrissey and Allahpundit deserve each other. I recently did an unsubscribe from TownHall and I turn off their shows whenever they come on. I confess I still read HotAir, but usually kick myself after doing so.

sanantonian on February 20, 2010 at 2:33 PM

And they were all so successful in support of John McCain in 2008.// sarcasm

TBenton on February 22, 2010 at 12:10 AM

Ryan Sorba’s future is back-alley gay-bashings and white supremacist rallies I think.

happyfeet on February 22, 2010 at 12:38 AM

More like Sorba the courageous truth teller.

cjk on February 21, 2010 at 10:23 PM

The fundamentalist jackass is strong with this one I think.

dakine on February 22, 2010 at 12:44 AM

Ryan Sorba’s future is back-alley gay-bashings and white supremacist rallies I think.

happyfeet on February 22, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Right, because if you won’t celebrate anal fornication, you’re a Sturmabteilungtrupper.

Chris_Balsz on February 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Oh wait… Ernst Roehm was gay.

Chris_Balsz on February 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM

happyfeet on February 21, 2010 at 11:18 PM

You’re just an idiot that can’t read, he started the name calling schmuck.

cjk on February 22, 2010 at 11:14 AM

dakine on February 22, 2010 at 12:44 AM

Mr. Sorba obviously rattles the immoral dumbshit closet allies of the liberals

cjk on February 22, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I’d like to condemn CPAC and Hot Air for not objecting to GOpride being at this event. Unfortunately I can’t stay to underline this. Just wanted to say it. Thank you. Ciao.

apacalyps on February 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM

apacalyps on February 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM

I hope my dream last night of ‘little green hot air filled footballs’ was just a dream.

cjk on February 22, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Why is it that Barry Soetoro has appointed gay advocates as Czars and appointees.Don’t you think he has an agenda by doing so.

One of the illegal Czars he appointed is Kevin Jennings in charge of “Safe Schools”.Here is an excerpt from Gateway Pundit;

“Out of curiosity to see exactly what kind of books Kevin Jennings and his organization think American students should be reading in school, our team chose a handful at random from the over 100 titles on GLSEN’s grades 7-12 list, and began reading through.

What we discovered shocked us. We were flabbergasted. Rendered speechless.

We were unprepared for what we encountered. Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air. One memoir even praised becoming a prostitute as a way to increase one’s self-esteem. Above all, the books seemed to have less to do with promoting tolerance than with an unabashed attempt to indoctrinate students into a hyper-sexualized worldview.”

Is this the kind of thing we conservatives should be welcoming into our midst with open arms?

ScottyDog on February 22, 2010 at 2:40 PM

I think it’s fine to allow gay groups into our tent if they will:

1) Repudiate the parts of the gay movement that want to force the redefinition of marriage, and thus a change in the curricula of every public school to teach it, and the opportunity to sue employers to provide “partner” health care.
2) Repudiate the parts of the gay movement that grant gays the right to something heterosexuals aren’t allowed now: bring their sexual habits out into the open in the workplace.
3) Acknowledge that openly gay men in the military serving alongside straight men is not good for morale, any more than having a coed bivouac in the field is smart.

In other words, keep your private life private and we’ll leave it alone. If you want to make your sexual choices an agenda item, something that we should neither legalize nor make illegal, then you will not make it in the conservative movement. Period.

Do what you want in your bedroom, just don’t try to make it part our platform. It doesn’t belong there.

PastorJon on February 22, 2010 at 3:39 PM

I agree with PastorJon but that’s not their agenda. I don’t want anyone’s s-e-x to be in my face. I don’t care what side of the bed you swing on. I don’t want to be forced to accept your lifestyle. I don’t want you to accept my lifestyle either. Nor do I want to put it in your face. Some things are suppose to be personal not political. Some things weren’t meant for public discussion. But that changed a while back, even before the internet provided crotch shots of a drunk panty-less Britney Spears getting into a car or Vanessa Hutchinson cellphone pics of her boobs for my 12 year old son to see at the Boys & Girls Club.

GOProud is for repealing DADT and for Gay Marriage. Pitting religion against Gay Pride Issues, what could go wrong? I mean, GOProud isn’t telling the religious Conservatives of the GOP to do anything against their principles are they? I mean, what could go wrong? Having the government in charge of taking care of the poor and disadvantaged? I guess that’s the point now isn’t it. Churches need not apply. What a sad day for those in need. One has to give up his religious convictions in order to be democratic. Who knew. Certainly not the Founding Fathers. But then again, as the Left are quick to tell you, they were all a bunch of slave-owning racist homophobes who were less than spiritually and compassionately enlightened. Why does it have to be all or nothing?

Sultry Beauty on February 22, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Ryan Sorba’s future is back-alley gay-bashings and white supremacist rallies I think.

happyfeet on February 22, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Ya think so?

My guess is in 10-20 years we’ll find out he was a closet case all along.

JohnGalt23 on February 22, 2010 at 7:23 PM

At some point, Republicans will need to get over their issues with homosexuality. Regardless of whether one believes it to be a choice or a hardwired response, it has little impact on anyone but the gay or lesbian person. We can argue that homosexuality doesn’t require legal protection, but not when we have our front-line activists referring to them as “f@ggots” or worse. That indicates a disturbing level of animosity rather than a true desire to allow people the same rights and protections regardless of their lifestyles. – Ed Morrissey

Amen

SC.Charlie on February 22, 2010 at 8:37 PM

First CPAC turned off hundreds of thousands of conservatives, now Hot Air takes aim at them. What’s next in this circular firing range?  Probably another Democrat majority – because voters like myself simply won’t support morally weak Republicans, their political party, or their various organizations – such as CPAC.
 
Our Founders taught a preference for upholding the moral laws of God, and either that moral underpinning is intact, or a majority of religious voters will sit out the coming elections as they have since Ronald Reagan.

Ron C on February 22, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Wow. The buzz running around the internet is actually true. HotAir has been co-opted by homofascists. Never thought I’d see the day. Enjoy your paycheck, Michelle. HotAir, like CPAC, is about to spiral into political irrelevancy and eventual obscurity. I needed to trim down my bookmarks bar anyway. You girls have fun.

TruthhoundSP on February 23, 2010 at 3:13 AM

Oh, and don’t forget to update your “About” section where it describes this site as a “right-of-center blog.” Those were the days.

TruthhoundSP on February 23, 2010 at 3:22 AM

Well, Ed and Allahpundit it appears that you are now officially enemies of the “true moral right”. If you can’t call them f@ggots, D@ykes, s@ssies, qu@@r, perverts some are going to come after you with the full force of selective Bible quotes.

I can’t remember any two people being more right of center than Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Goldwater was a gay rights advocate. Ronald Reagan was the key figure who in 1978 wrote an editorial that help defeat Prop 6 in California. Prop 6 would have removed from public education homosexuals and those who allied themselves with homosexuals.

SC.Charlie on February 23, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Sorry, Ed Morrissey, people are allowed “rights and protections” in this country because they are human beings, first, and citizens/legal residences, second. Period. End of story. The moment we started defining rights by a litany of defining characteristics was the moment we ceased to be the UNITED states.

If a homosexual wants to be a part of the Republican party, fine, but don’t be surprised when others get upset when they start defining Republican or conservative ideals based on who they want to have sex with.

The Zoo Keeper on February 23, 2010 at 9:44 AM

If a homosexual wants to be a part of the Republican party, fine, but don’t be surprised when others get upset when they start defining Republican or conservative ideals based on who they want to have sex with. – The Zoo Keeper on February 23, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Therefore, in order to be a “true” conservative worthy of being in the Republican Party someone must be heterosexual? Why not just hang a sign out front “Nicht Juden” or “Whites Only”?

SC.Charlie on February 23, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Why not hang a sign out front, “I like to have sex with two men and three women (two of them my siblings), simultaneously.”? – Or are you too bigoted, too narrow-minded, too intolerant??

The Zoo Keeper on February 23, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Alas, a group whose convention is co-sponsored by the John Birch Society and votes for a charter member of the tin-foil-hat wing of the Republican party in its straw poll has little scope for criticizing even this foolish bigotry. Just sayin’

Knott Buyinit on February 23, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Why not hang a sign out front, “I like to have sex with two men and three women (two of them my siblings), simultaneously.”? – Or are you too bigoted, too narrow-minded, too intolerant?? – The Zoo Keeper on February 23, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Any other silly strawman arguments that you would to propose?

SC.Charlie on February 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Call something a “strawman argument” when you can’t answer it. Nice.

I hate to tell you this, but there are actually people who want to define marriage as being between more than just two people. C’mon are you too intolerant to acknowledge that? Can they get a booth at the next CPAC gig?

The Zoo Keeper on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

I hate to tell you this, but there are actually people who want to define marriage as being between more than just two people. C’mon are you too intolerant to acknowledge that? Can they get a booth at the next CPAC gig?- The Zoo Keeper on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

I would say they are welcome to try to promote polygamy once again in this country. Remember the Mormans? Frankly, I don’t think that it would fly. I am one of those gays who is not for gay marriage being recognized by the state or federal government.

SC.Charlie on February 23, 2010 at 11:13 AM

My wife and I are physically incapable of having children. We spent many years and a LOT of dollars trying, to no avail other than tears and frustration.

So, even though we are child free and completely devoted to each other, we’re supposed to get divorced now?

xardoz on February 23, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Been there, done that. Ten painful years.

We adopted our two wonderful sons and will never look back.

Whose asking you to get a divorce??

The Zoo Keeper on February 23, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Well, according to Sorba, if you can’t reproduce together, you don’t have a right to be married.

xardoz on February 23, 2010 at 1:01 PM

But, but, it was Hot Air who declared the disdainful rejection of “purists” from CPAC10, in preference for a homosexual activist group.

I say Hot Air is batting zero on this issue.

At least you’re outed as Leftwingers intent on ridiculing vast millions of Americans who do, indeed, recognize, respect and continue to vote for “social issues” that are important to them.

The speaker, also, was first applauded for his statements and immediately drowned out by Ron Paul’s “48% of attendees” in the audience “of college ages”.

So what I got from this awful CPAC10 disaster was that the Libertarians bought more tickets and worked the word, “Conservative” to now refer to the nonsense abuse of that term.

Lourdes on February 23, 2010 at 5:31 PM

…an awful lot of posts lately on Hot Air promoting this whole “homosexual” thing, from a number of perspectives, arriving at the same place: you’re promoting homosexual activism and activity.

Lourdes on February 23, 2010 at 5:33 PM

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