Gay GOP group GOProud's Christopher Barron claims groups boycotting this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention in D.C. hate gay people.

Social conservatives organized the boycott in response to GOProud's sponsorship of the event.

Several Republican lawmakers, including South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, and a smattering of socially conservative groups – the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), FRC Action and Concerned Women for America (CWA) – have joined the boycott.

In a segment broadcast Thursday on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, Barron and FRC President Tony Perkins go head to head over the issue.

Perkins denies his group is skipping the conference because of GOProud, but adds: “As a co-sponsor, they're a part of setting the agenda. And it's hard to grasp the idea that those who are working on redefining marriage can sit at the same table and discuss strategy with those who are trying to promote and protect traditional marriage.”

Barron returned fire, saying, “The bottom line is people like Tony Perkins are in the industry of demonizing gay people.”

Barron suggested that Perkins was being disingenuous because GOProud doesn't have an official position on gay marriage and doesn't lobby in favor of the institution.

“Marriage ought to be decided by the states and we prefer it be decided by the people, not through the courts,” he said.

“He can dress this up all he wants and talk about family and redefining marriage, but that doesn't have anything to do with it.”

“The reason why Tony, Joseph Farah, the World Net Daily crowd, the extreme fringe of the conservative movement, the reason why they aren't participating has nothing to do with policy at all, it's because we happen to be gay.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Conservatives have blasted former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for suggesting she supports GOProud's presence at CPAC.