Although several groups boycotted the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because of the participation of gay conservative group GOProud, two prominent Tea Party-backed politicians publicly supported the organization's presence.
Sharron Angle, a Republican from Nevada, told The Huffington Post that she supports freedom of speech and GOProud has the right to participate in an open forum of discussion. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who did not attend CPAC because of scheduling conflicts, told FOX News that she has no problem with "diverse groups that are involved with political discourse."
"People are losing their jobs. They're losing homes. We're still engaged in a war," Palin told the media outlet. "There are so many life-changing, life-and-death issues out there in front of us. You know, we'd better be concentrating on what is really important here and not going kind of tit-for-tat as people are positioning themselves for 2012."
Conservative groups such as the Family Research Council (FRC) and the Heritage Foundation have boycotted the three-day event because CPAC organizers allowed GOProud to participate. Tony Perkins, head of FRC, told CNN that the presence of the gay-rights group represents a shift to libertarian causes, which he said is "very dangerous to the conservative movement."