Party Platforms Show Deep Divisions On Marriage

Leading marriage equality advocates blast the Republican Party. Gay Republican groups differ on blame for today’s developments. posted on

Fay Abuelgasim / AP

Carol Anastosio, left, and Mimi Brown pose in their New York home, celebrating their one-year anniversary after New York State legalized marriage between same-sex couples. Marriage rights are being debated in party platforms currently.

The Republican Party platform’s strong commitment to “the traditional concept of marriage” as consisting of one man and one woman puts the two parties at sharp odds on the question.

With the news, LGBT organizations within the party and outside of it were left addressing the implications of the broad differences between the party platforms on the issue of marriage between same-sex couples. In contrast to the Republican draft, the Democratic Party platform draft, unveiled earlier this month, states, “We support marriage equality.”

A top campaigner for marriage equality, Evan Wolfson, called the Republican language “tragic,” and gay Republicans acknowledged the language is more antagonistic to their cause than in the past.

Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clarke Cooper wasn’t mincing words. “It’s bad with a capital ‘B,’” he told BuzzFeed tonight.

Calling the draft platform language as it stands “not helpful at all,” he said, “We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but the language as it stands now is divisive.”

Chris Barron, co-founder and chief strategist for GOProud, agreed — but he told BuzzFeed tonight that placed the blame on Log Cabin’s efforts to highlight the marriage issue.

“For those of us who have been doing platform work in the past, we know that making a public stink over these issues is a guaranteed way to ensure a bad result,” Barron, whose group often has differed with the more moderate Log Cabin organization, said. “Log Cabin Republicans is 100 percent responsible for making this language worse.”

Cooper responded: “That’s not accurate. I don’t think [Family Research Council president] Tony Perkins was waiting for us to participate to draft his language.”

At the Human Rights Campaign, which has long endorsed President Obama’s re-election, the organization was ready to capitalize on that “worse” language.

“The platform’s doubling down of writing discrimination into our Constitution cements them firmly in the past. With a majority of Americans supporting marriage equality, this harsh language will be seen as decidedly retrograde,” HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz told BuzzFeed.

“The fact that the Republican platform is extolling the virtues of marriage is all the more reason why it is senseless that the Republican Party is excluding committed gay and lesbian couples from that institution.”

Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, agreed with that notion, saying, “Their lack of awareness of why marriage matters for gay couples as well as for non-gay couples is matched only by their failure to understand basic American civics, such as the role of the judiciary and the meaning of ‘equal protection under the law.’”

Of the party’s apparent position, Wolfson said, “It’s actually tragic to see a party that professes its beliefs in values such as freedom, limited government and personal responsibility taking such an extreme position in favor of denial, exclusion and the undermining of constitutional safeguards, not to mention attacking families seeking the commitment of marriage.”

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