Did GOProud “out” a conservative gay politico?

posted at 6:45 pm on December 10, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Well, here’s one story for the weekend which has certainly turned into a sizable tempest in an already full teapot. The Daily Caller reports that prominent conservative activist Andrew Breitbart has resigned from his advisory role at GOProud over their alleged outing of a Rick Perrry campaign adviser – one Tony Fabrizio – as a gay man after his work on recent a Perry campaign ad commenting on gays in the military.

It is with sincere regret that I announce I must step down as a GOProud advisory member. On numerous occasions I have spoken with [GOProud leaders] Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron of the significant impact the practice of “outing” had in my evolution from the political left to the right. I was under the absolute impression that both agreed. I have a zero tolerance attitude toward the intentional infliction of vocational and family harm by divulging the details of an individual’s sexual orientation as a weapon of political destruction. As an “Advisory Board member” I was not consulted on this extreme and punitive act. Clearly, there are more productive means to debate controversial ideas and settle conflicts. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience stand with GOProud. I still stand by gay conservatives who boldly and in the face of much criticism from many fronts fight for limited government, lower taxes, a strong national defense as well as the other core conservative principles.

As Matt Lewis notes, GOProud leaders Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia responded to this earlier. They also followed up by saying they were rather surprised at the outrage (pardon the pun) over this.

There has been quite a bit of press coverage in the last 24 hours regarding our comments about Tony Fabrizio and his role in the Perry campaign, I just wanted to briefly bring you all up to speed on the background. First here is our statement on this yesterday: http://www.goproud.org/goproud-statement-on-tony-fabrizio-–-pollster-and-strategist-for-governor-rick-perry’s-presidential-campaign/

Second, both Jimmy and I have known Tony for years and have known that he was gay for years. Multiple media outlets contacted us after the Perry “Strong” ad debuted asking our opinion of Fabrizio’s role in the campaign given the anti-gay nature of the ad. Every news outlet that called asked our opinion of a gay man being a part of this campaign’s leadership.

I’d like to start off by saying that I’m not generally in favor of “outing” private citizens about anything, whether it’s their sexual orientation, their religion, or what flavor ice cream they like. That’s their business. But when you’re in the deep end of the political pool, things happen. But was this an “outing?”

Without giving too much away, I’ve been on the phone for a while with several people about this one. The general sentiment seems to be that, at most, Tony’s sexual orientation was one of those “secrets everyone knows about” if it was a secret at all. (And that, I should note, is only IF the allegation is accurate, which only Mr. Fabrizio is in a position to say.) But it’s also worth noting that there seems to be a fairly uniform consensus that this was “something that was known.”

Tony was apparently actively involved in Outgiving, a strong supporter of LGBT causes, and also did a lot of work for the Log Cabin Republicans. Now, neither of these things, by themselves, speak to the gentleman’s personal orientation, but it certainly sounds like it might come as a surprise to some of his associates that he was “in the closet.” (Again, with the aforementioned “if” invoked.)

But, going back to the point about “the only person in a position to know” here, the missing piece is a response from Tony Fabrizio himself. If he was, in fact, “outed” or – even worse – if an allegation was made about him which was totally untrue, you’d expect to hear some protests coming from him. Aside from a “no comment” that he gave to one reporter, I’m not seeing anything else along those lines. It’s not that it’s anyone’s business, but the allegations here are no longer focusing on Tony, but on GOProud.

I tend to take the GOProud reps at their word on this one. When you have reporters calling you and asking what you think of “a gay man being involved in the creation of the advertisement” then it’s probably excusable for them to think the reporters were asking from a position of already knowing. Also, GOProud doesn’t have any history of forcibly outing other gay individuals in politics, so it would certainly be out of character for them to start now.

UPDATE(S): It has been noted that Gay Patriot put out the following statement:

On behalf of the GOProud Board and its members and supporters, we want to make it very clear that “outing” a gay or lesbian individual is wrong and should never be used as a political weapon.

Private lives should remain just that — private. The right to disclose one’s sexual orientation belongs solely to each individual. We will continue to oppose “outing” as it has never advanced a political cause but only hurts individuals and their families.

We strongly regret the events of this week.

Also: While I have not located the original tweet from Jimmy LaSalvia, the issue has been raised that he used “The F Word” in it. (No… not that F word. The other one.) Just for your consideration.

UPDATE: (again) The original tweet. Caution: language may be offensive to some.

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Everyone I see posting is pushing the GOP and Conservative and Christian attitude towards homosexuality in the wrong vein: you can’t expect people to relate when you say gay sex disgusts you and it’s sinful and shouldn’t be allowed. Here is the way I see it:

Homosexuality may or may not be inbred, or determined at birth. I’m not arguing if being gay is a choice or is not a choice. However, one thing is indisputable: having gay SEX is a choice. You don’t have to engage in this behaviour. Christians truly believe gay sex is sinful and ultimately damaging, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, to any person. As a Christian, I cannot stand idly by and let a fellow human being damage themselves, not by stealing, lying, killing, not by hurting themselves nor hurting anyone else. It would be un-Christian to _facilitate_ homosexual behaviour, which I truly believe hurts the individual who indulges in such behaviour. I cannot in good conscience go along with teaching children such behaviour is _not_ inherently damaging and harmful, as well as putting the practitioner’s mortal soul in danger.

Christians deplore homosexual lifestyles, adoption, marriage and sex because they _love_ homosexuals in a Christian sense, in that we fear for their well-being, emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually, and even if you are offended and angered by my stance, I am confident I am acting in a Christian manner. It is manifest to me that people who slander Christians for this behaviour are, in fact, religious bigots who are ignorant or uncaring about the dangers of homosexuality, and I must forgive them, as Jesus would.

babygiraffe on December 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM

babygiraffe on December 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM

I’ve on at least 100 occasions been in the company of Christians who were, in some way, negative about homosexuality and/or homosexuals — sometimes in ways that sounded hateful, sometimes in ways that did not. I’ve expressed almost exactly the sentiment you’ve expressed here (and added also that “whatever God’s instruction is to gay people, his instruction to me is to love my enemy.” With exactly one exception, EVERYONE who has heard that message has thought for a second, then said they think it’s exactly right. Some have confessed that they need to work on their own attitudes, while for others it was as though the light just suddenly came on; but I’ve only had one person tell me he flat-out disagreed.

My point in saying this is that I think most people have a hard time taking the enormous number of inputs on this subject, and forming a truly Christ-compatible attitude — one that incorporates BOTH “let him who is without the first sin cast the first stone… neither do I accuse you” AND ALSO “go and sin no more”. When they hear it expressed, though, it’s as though a huge burden is lifted. The conflict they’ve felt — between standing up for what is right on the one hand, and loving rather than being judgmental on the other, is resolved.

RegularJoe on December 13, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Well one of my points is that we all feel compelled to engage in hurtful and sinful behaviour at one time or another. We should encourage someone with homosexual feelings to fight that urge, just as you would fight the urge to hurt someone or steal something. “Deprogramming” doesn’t seem to be sensible. People use their own willpower and restraint to resist many kinds of sexual behaviour. This is what we should encourage, and we certainly should not encourage homosexual acts by supporting gay marriage, for one. While someone should not be restricted by dint of being a homosexual, homosexual _sex_ should be stigmatized.

babygiraffe on December 13, 2011 at 3:19 PM