In February, openly gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger filed a formal discrimination complaint against the Conservative Political Action Conference after the group banished him from their most recent gathering in Washington D.C.
Now, months later, Sam Stein at The Huffington Post reports that the complaint, filed against CPAC's umbrella organization, the American Conservative Union Foundation, has moved one step closer to a potential court showdown.
In a little noticed ruling last week, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights denied the ACUF's effort to throw out a complaint alleging that it had discriminated against Karger on the basis of his sexuality. Karger has said he was deprived of a booth and speaking spot at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which is a project of the ACUF, because he is gay.
The ACUF tried to have the complaint dismissed, arguing that it doesn't run CPAC — rather, the related but separate American Conservative Union does — and has a First Amendment right to chose who speaks at its events. The group also argued that its disagreement with Karger was over his support for gay marriage and not his own sexual orientation. Gustavo Velasquez, the Office of Human Rights' director, rebuffed that argument, and found that "an investigation is warranted" into the causes of Karger's exclusion from CPAC.
The ACUF now has the opportunity to appeal the decision. If they don't, or if they do and it's overturned, Karger and CPAC may eventually face off in court, allowing Karger to continue the crusade he began at the start of this election season: highlighting and amplifying discriminatory elements within his party.
An anonymous American Conservative Union employee, meanwhile, sent Stein a statement insisting "the notion that the American Conservative Union is required to invite to its key political event a man who proclaims he is to the left of Obama on many issues is absurd on its face."
The source went on, "Mr. Karger's publicity stunt is baseless and will fail." Not if it gets publicity.