GOProud Founder Leaving Republican Party Over 'Bigotry' Gay conservative Jimmy LaSalvia registers as independent By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jan 15, 2014 5:07 PM CST 102 comments Comments The US Capitol Dome is seen in the distance as American flags fly on the National Mall around the base of the Washington Monument. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Newser) – Jimmy LaSalvia, a lifelong Republican who also happens to be a gay man, founded GOProud in an effort to provide a more conservative alternative to the Log Cabin Republicans. But now he's leaving the Republican party altogether. In a post on his blog this week, LaSalvia revealed that he had registered as an independent, though he still considers himself a conservative. "I just don’t agree with the big-government 'conservatives' who run the party now," he wrote, adding, "The other reason I am leaving is the tolerance of bigotry in the GOP." He expands on that in an interview with the Daily Beast: "The one thing that [Republicans] are not doing is addressing the bigotry in their ranks," he says. His examples range from the major (social conservative Ken Cuccinelli as the GOP's 2013 Virginia gubernatorial nominee; Mitt Romney's presidential campaign being "paralyzed with fear of anti-gay forces in the party") to the seemingly minor (he was given what may have been the worst possible seat at the 2012 convention). "I’ve spent my whole career working to create an atmosphere where gay conservatives be open and honest about how they are and work within the conservative movement. Straight conservatives can publicly support gay Americans and civil marriage for gay couples," he says. "I thought that accomplishing that would help to melt the bigotry and make it unacceptable. The truth is it has not happened fast enough and it’s too late."