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.