Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia cancelled his planned appearance today at the Values Voter Summit. Forbes was set to headline a fundraising luncheon for the American Family Association (AFA), the anti-gay hate group that helps bankroll the conference.
Forbes’ decision came in the wake of a petition and TV ad campaign by Faithful America, a progressive Christian organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes Hatewatch, also joined together with national civil rights groups to call on Forbes and other public officials to skip the Values Voter Summit.
Rep. Forbes apparently realized how bad it would look to spend the day raising money for a hate group instead of working on a solution to the government shutdown, which has hit hard in his district. While he has worked closely with the AFA in recent years, his cancellation could mark a break with the group.
Mainstream conservatives shouldn’t have anything to do with the kind of bigotry and extremism we see from the AFA. After all, this isn’t a debate about same-sex marriage or abortion. It’s about whether public officials should associate with a group that – as AFA does – blames the Holocaust on gays and says women have no place in political leadership. Forbes is hopefully beginning to understand the difference.