Jim DeMint, Chris Christie Skipping CPAC 2011

Top Republicans Skipping CPAC After Inclusion Of Gay Conservative Group

One invitation has been followed by a lot of rejection for the Conservative Political Action Conference.

After event organizers decided to allow GOProud, a gay Republican group, to be a "participating organization" for a second straight year, social conservative organizations like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America decided they wouldn't be coming out. Ditto for the Heritage Foundation and the American Family Association. Now, two more leading conservatives have announced they're going to skip March's festivities.

"With leading conservatives organizations not participating this year, Senator [Jim] DeMint will not be attending. He hopes to attend a unified CPAC next year," a spokesman for the South Carolina Republican told CNN.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also declined an invite, but his spokesman wouldn't elaborate. "I can only tell you that the governor receives hundreds of speaking and appearance invitations every month, many of which are declined for a number of reasons," Michael Drewniak told The Star-Ledger via e-mail.

DeMint was listed as an invited speaker on the CPAC website, which currently has confirmations from Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, Andrew Breitbart, Ann Coulter, Liz Cheney, Mitch McConnell, and a number of other Governors, Senators and U.S. Representatives.

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