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CPAC plays host to a conservative movement at a crossroads

For a gathering that seeks to foster debate and chart a path forward for the conservative movement, the silence on gay issues at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference was deafening.

In the year since CPAC was last held at the sprawling Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., much has changed. Three Senate Republicans — Rob Portman (Ohio), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — have come out in support of marriage equality. In 2013, same-sex marriage was legalized in Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii and Illinois. Same-sex nuptials have resumed in California for the first time since 2008, after the Supreme Court refused to hear arguments in the Proposition 8 case, and the federal government’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman has been struck down as unconstitutional, subsequently leading federal judges to strike down same-sex marriage bans in six states and counting. And the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the Senate with the support of 10 Republicans — the most Senate Republican votes ever cast for a piece of gay rights legislation. Read more