by Kathryn Jean Lopez

I’ve officially come to dread what has become an annual debate about CPAC. There seems to be no winning here. Any exclusion of a group like GOProud is treated as an issue of discrimination and fairness by the media, and pours fuel onto fire and salt into wounds.

I tend to agree with Robby George, who last year expressed to me here his concern that conservatives  need to keep our priorities straight. Marriage ought to be one, we need to be clear that it is not ours to redefine.

The problem, of course, when it comes to one conference and the buzz surrounding it is: There is so much cultural work that needs to be done. It is the rebuilding work that needs to happen in our homes, in our schools, in our churches, in our art and literature … 

A fundamental problem here, of course, is that we’re a mess when it comes to marriage. If strong marriages are our cultural experience, we may see the need to protect it, including from redefinition. The movement reflects the culture here. And as politics is downstream, the rebuilding work is not going to happen in politics.

But politics can hold some lines. To the extent that Al Cardenas and co. are trying to contribute to this, I respect their decision and share their frustration. 

The National Review Institute summit in January tried to contribute to the marriage discussion with a panel that included Maggie Gallagher, Ryan Anderson, Brad Wilcox, Doug Mainwaring, and Mark Regernus on rebuilding a culture of marriage.

The CPAC decision is a prudential call. I agree with Jonah that debates are good. Real, robust, actual debates of the kind WFB would orchestrate. More than booths or co-sponsorships or that which we’ve been stuck on year after year, that might actually help get us somewhere.

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