Al Cardenas has suggested that gay GOP group GOProud's involvement in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) may be at an end after GOProud Chairman Christopher Barron took a swipe at one of its board members.

Cardenas is the new chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which annually organizes the event.

GOProud's co-sponsorship of this weekend's event in Washington prompted social conservatives to boycott 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 several media interviews, Barron said the backers of the boycott were motivated not by policy disagreements but rather hatred of gay and lesbian people, and called Cleta Mitchell, a prominent Republican lawyer and a board member of the ACU, a “nasty bigot.”

“I think there's a couple people in Heritage who, at the behest of Cleta Mitchell – who is just a nasty bigot … she got some of the people at Heritage early on fired up about his,” Barron told gay D.C. weekly Metro Weekly before the conference doors opened. “It looks terrible for them, and I didn't want to have them humiliate themselves. But they've seemed hell-bent on it. Their story keeps changing and now we're down to the truth, which is: It was about us. And they've lost donors. They've lost supporters.”

In remarks to the conservative website, Cardenas chided the group.

“I have been disappointed with their website and their quotes in the media, taunting organizations that are respected in our movement and part of our movement, and that's not acceptable. And that puts them in a difficult light in terms of how I view things,” Cardenas said.

“It's going to be difficult to continue the relationship [with GOProud] because of their behavior and attitude,” he said.

Cardenas added that in his opinion a “Ronald Reagan conservative” could not support gay marriage and that among his priorities as the new ACU chairman will be “making sure that our true friends never leave the table.”

Barron apologized for his remarks, but not before defending himself: “For the past six months, we have watched as unfair and untrue attacks have been leveled against our organization, our allies, our friends and sometimes even their families. Everyone has their breaking point and clearly in my interview with Metro Weekly I had reached mine. I shouldn’t have used the language that I did to describe Cleta Mitchell and for that I apologize.”