The nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held in Maryland this week. After years of being turned away, the pro-gay rights conservative group, the Log Cabin Republicans, was accepted as a full-fledged participant and sponsor.
The formal announcement was greeted with cheers, especially among younger conservatives on social media. But there’ve also been hisses, from the evangelical wing, who worry that a bastion of conservatism is caving on core values.
Jeff Davis, chairman of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, says that this moment has been decades in the making and that attitudes about the LGBT community are finally reaching a tipping point.
“I think homosexuals don’t scare people nearly as much as they used to,” Davis says. “We’re now in an age where people know someone who is out and gay. The gay population isn’t as threatening to some people as it might have been before.”
Davis credits the recent Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, as an important factor in changing attitudes. He says that while some conservatives resisted the decision and said that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds, others have come to understand that marriage in the context of the church and marriage as the state views it are two different things.
“There’s also the whole idea that, this happened and the sky didn’t fall,” Davis says. “It’s not like all of the heterosexual marriages were annulled by the Supreme Court in this decision.”
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.