A subcommittee of the Republican National Committee's platform-drafting committee passed language this morning stating: "We embrace the principle that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect," the head of the Log Cabin Republicans told BuzzFeed.
The move was "still early in process," Log Cabin Republicans executive direction R. Clarke Cooper told BuzzFeed.
Although the language, which Cooper said had been proposed by a delegate from Hawaii, did not specifically address sexual orientation or gender identity, inclusion of such language would be a positive nod in the direction of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and LGBT rights groups like Log Cabin Republicans. Rick Cochran of Vermont, Cooper added, has proposed including sexual orientation in the full nondiscrimination list advocated for by the party.
The question of whether the platform will support the Defense of Marriage Act and oppose the right of same-sex couples to marry, as it has done in the past, remains unclear. Cooper said that discussions are ongoing on those points.
Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, however, support DOMA and oppose the right of same-sex couples to marry, which likely will have an impact on the final language adopted by the platform drafters. Other prominent Republicans, like former Vice President Cheney and former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman, though, back marriage equality.
The GOP platform language is being looked at by supporters of LGBT rights this year more closely following the Democratic platform committee's movement to include support for marriage equality and workplace nondiscrimination legislation in its platform.
UPDATE: The head of National Stonewall Democrats, Jerame Davis, struck back at Cooper, saying, "The idea that this generic bit of meaningless rhetoric is movement by the GOP toward a more inclusive and pro-equality footing is preposterous. For decades, the Republican platform has included anti-LGBT language that, at various times, has opposed adoption rights, marriage equality, and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
"What's even more ridiculous is the idea that this language is something new. The Republican Party platform has included similar language since at least 1996. This is just a rewording of a generic principle that few Republicans would construe to include LGBT equality. While the GOP gives lip service to the principle of dignity and respect for all, the reality of that ideal clearly escapes them."
Cooper, however, told BuzzFeed that the language proposed would, if adopted, be substantive part of the platform. Additionally, although he expected the platform to continue to support "traditional marriage," as he put it, "There's been debate. There is no necessary unity on a number of these issues. It's why language was offered up [that would support marriage equality]. What has changed is that there are people speaking up now. We're having a vocal discourse."
FURTHER UPDATE: BuzzFeed obtained the draft platform language on marriage issues. Read it here.
Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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