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NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland, March 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — As the Conservative Political Action Conference got underway Thursday, they faced strong criticism for welcoming a Republican homosexual activist group as a sponsor for the first time.

The Log Cabin Republicans state on their website that their group exists solely to “make the Republican Party more inclusive, particularly on gay and lesbian issues.”

“Working from inside the Party—educating other Republicans about gay and lesbian issues—is the most effective way to gain new Republican allies for equality,” the group’s website states. “We believe equality for LGBT Americans is in the finest tradition of the Republican Party,” it adds. 

“Equality” has become the rallying cry behind the LGBTQ movement and has led to the illicit overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act, the imprisonment of Kim Davis, and crippling fines leading to bankruptcy of numerous Christian florists, bakers, and photographers who have refused on moral grounds to support two people of the same sex calling their partnership “marriage.” 

Preston Noell III, director of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) — a group that has sponsored CPAC for many years — is now threatening to withdraw its sponsorship of the event next year if the invitation to the pro-LGBTQ group is not rescinded. 

“It pains me to say this, but CPAC is turning left. It's alienating true conservatives and shattering the cohesion of the conservative movement,” he said in a press release. 

“Nothing is more corrosive to the movement as the deliberate efforts of LGBT and atheist activists to be accepted as bona fide conservatives and the naiveté of those who view them as such,” he added. 

But Gregory T. Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, told LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen that his group has come to CPAC, not to talk about the group’s agenda on homosexuality, but about human rights. 

“I would say that a lot of the objections of this organization [TFP] to Log Cabin Republicans’ presence here involve positions that we’ve taken on issues that we’re not talking about here at CPAC. We’re using our time here at CPAC to talk about the fact that Iran, right now, is hanging people who are gay, or merely suspected of being gay, from cranes. ISIS is throwing people who are gay, or suspected of being gay, from rooftops. You want to talk about pro-life? Let’s talk about pro-life, and how we can unite on that front,” he said. 

Corresponding to his organization’s reason for existence, as stated above, Angelo admitted that he was “glad” to become a CPAC sponsor “specifically, to engage with skeptics, people who might not know about the full spectrum of issues that Log Cabin Republicans engage on.”

Angelo, who said he is Catholic and gay, told LifeSiteNews that legal attacks against Christians refusing to compromise with gay “marriage” come from the “gay left” not from groups such as his. 

“It's unfair to conflate Log Cabin Republicans with other [pro-LGBTQ] groups on the other side of the political spectrum that do not identify, or prioritize, their faith, or who are unable to have a conversation with the people of faith, as people of faith,” he said.

Angelo said his group believes that Christians, clergy, and churches should be able to have a “reasonable religious accommodation” when it comes to homosexuality and to be able to express conscientious objections, but “not because of who someone is, but based on an event.”

“I don’t think it’s right to give people of faith a carte blanche permission to deny anyone service, for any reason, simply citing moral objections,” he said. 

But the TFP is not buying the Log Cabin arguments, stating that the group’s members still amount to representatives of the “homosexual movement” who should not be given a “platform of legitimacy” at a conference that seeks to protect and defend the natural family. 

The TFP is calling on CPAC organizers to give Log Cabin Republicans the boot as a sponsor.

“We call upon the American Conservative Union to rescind its welcoming of organizations like Log Cabin Republicans and Atheist Voters as sponsors and exhibitors. Doing so would show consistency with the word conservative in its name,” the group stated. 

When LifeSiteNews’ Dustin Siggins asked Ian Walters, director of communication for the American Conservative Union, for a reaction to the controversy, he responded by email: “CPAC is an opportunity for all good conservatives to come together and talk about positions on which we agree and determine the best path forward on topics which we disagree.”

CPAC is not the only conservative bastion to experience infiltration by LGBTQ activists. 

Last month the Republican club at Christendom College, Virginia's renowned orthodox Catholic college, decided to leave the national and state College Republicans after the organization voted to add “sexual orientation” as a protected class to their constitution. 

“Why … must we, as members of the Republican Party[,] constantly be faced with capitulation to the opposing members of political factions?” the Christendom Political Action League stated in a press release at that time. 

“When will we, as the conservative future of America, choose to throw off the conventional wisdom of those who claim to represent a majority of the people, who are utterly disconnected from the actual issues facing this nation, our nation, and not play petty politics in an attempt to gain the supporters of the other party?”