Gay-Bashing CPACer Has Checkered Legal History

Ryan Sorba at CPAC 2010
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The man who cited natural law in an off-script anti-gay rant at CPAC has had two run-ins with the real law in the past decade, including a restraining order for domestic violence, according to court records in California.

Ryan Sorba of California Young Americans for Freedom, who is a longtime anti-gay activist, in 2001 had a restraining order brought against him by a woman in a San Bernardino County domestic violence case, according to case records.

A three-year restraining order granted by the court barred Sorba from any contact with the woman, Mary Paulson, and his brother Michael Sorba. He was also ordered to move out of the “family dwelling” in Highland, a small city outside San Bernardino, according to records. Sorba was 19 at the time and did not appear in court for any of the proceedings.

In an interview with TPMmuckraker this morning, Sorba declined to provide a detailed account of what happened, but dismissed the matter as “the stupidest thing you could ever imagine.”

“I got in a fight with a kid in my neighborhood. And the mother did not want us getting in any more fights,” he said. “And so the mother filed a restraining order. And then nothing else ever happened.”

“I’m friends with those people now, and I was friends with them then,” he said.

Sorba would not confirm that Paulson, who filed the case, was the friend’s mother. He also wouldn’t describe his relationship with her, except to say she wasn’t his girlfriend.

When I asked him about his brother Michael’s role in the case, Sorba said, “We would get in fights, and essentially, I moved out and lived with a friend for a little while.”

In 2008, Sorba pleaded guilty to a noise violation for a disturbance at a polling place on election day. He told TPMmuckraker that he was handing out pro-Prop 8 flyers when “some homosexual guy came up and I guess he called the police and they gave me a ticket.”

Asked how he knew the man was gay, Sorba said “because he looked gay, he sounded gay — it was evident.”

“I’m proud of that ticket. I look at that ticket as if it’s a trophy,” he said.

On Friday, furious at CPAC organizers for inviting the group GOPride, Sorba gave an impromptu seminar on natural law while speaking at the televised conference.

Introduced as a young conservative who would discuss James O’Keefe’s undercover ACORN sting in San Bernardino, Sorba got up and condemned CPAC to jeers from the audience.

“Civil rights are grounded in natural rights, natural rights are grounded in human nature, human nature is a rational substance in relationship, the intelligible end of the reproductive act is reproduction,” Sorba said. “Do you understand that? Civil rights, when they conflict with natural rights, are contrary.”

Sorba is the author of the 2007 book The Born Gay Hoax (sample chapter title: “The Stonewall Riots and the Politicization of Sodomy”).

He told us he got involved in anti-gay activism after learning about the Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case at a class in junior college in 2003. He became more committed after hearing about a pastor in Europe who was under fire for saying sodomy was barred by scripture, and after a controversy over a “perspectives on gender” class at Cal State San Bernardino.

Sorba has worked at conservative groups including the Leadership Institute and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, according to his bio. He was also Congressional Action Team Leader for FreedomWorks.

Here’s the video of Sorba at CPAC:

(Additional reporting by Rachel Slajda.)

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