Perkins Calls For Civil Debate on Conservative Family Values

Family Research Council founder Tony Perkins says his organization has chosen to opt out of this year's Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) for the third year in a row.

CPAC bills itself as the largest annual gathering of conservatives. But, this year more religious and social conservative groups are opting not to attend. Perkins tells Fox News, the reason his group is not attending is, "What we feel is a leftward drift away from the core conservative principles."

The disagreement became a larger talking point when CPAC included sponsoring from the group GOProud, a republican pro-gay rights group that supports the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

The Family Research Council has taken a strict stance against gay marriage. Perkins said his group is, "Open to very civil, but aggressive debates over these issues as we shape public policy."

He claims the "Conference-- which used to embody the core of the conservative movement-- has pulled up a chair at the family table for people working to advance the policy goals of the radical Left."

It's not only same-sex marriage groups he has issue with. Perkins also points to lobbyists for amnesty, the ACLU, legalized marijuana proponents, and Internet gambling groups.

The Family Research Council, once a sponsor of CPAC, has since created its own annual conference, the Values Voter Summit. Some groups, including the Heritage Foundation, who are not participating in this year's CPAC are cosponsoring the Values Voter Summit in October.

It remains to be seen whether conservatives will come together to form a common ground on social issues at this conference, and beyond.

"There are those that really have agendas that are contrary to, and stand in stark contrast to, conservative principles that are actually cosponsoring and helping to drive the agenda--and that is problematic," Perkins remarked.

CPAC will take place February 10 to 12. The convention will host a variety of speakers including several Conservative leaders and potential 2012 Presidential candidates. Panels will emphasize many issues including: immigration reform, the pro-life movement, and federal spending.