RNC Reaffirms Marriage Stance, Highlighting Party’s Growing Divide

“Tolerating this kind of bigotry will only serve to turn off more and more voters, and until the leadership of the RNC is willing to confront and denounce bigotry in its own ranks, they will continue to lose elections,” GOProud leader says.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

WASHINGTON — Following the Republican National Committee’s unanimous approval of two resolutions to reaffirm “its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman” Friday, the head of a group fighting for inclusion of gays in the conservative movement said, “I guess they are not finished losing.”

All of the resolutions presented at Friday’s meeting of the RNC — including ones addressing abortion and immigration and one honoring Ron Paul — were passed en masse by unanimous voice vote, Time reported. Multiple former RNC staff members spoke out in opposition to the move in advance of Friday’s vote.

GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia said of the vote for the marriage resolutions, “The platform is clear about the party’s position on marriage, so the resolution wasn’t necessary. This resolution was motivated by anti-gay bigotry and brought forward by RNC members who just don’t like gay people.”

The Human Rights Campaign, which endorsed President Obama’s re-election bid in 2012, was in agreement with GOProud Friday.

“Instead of moving forward toward the inclusive and welcoming party that they say they’re trying to create, the GOP has instead alienated wide swaths of independent voters, young voters and even Republicans who are at odds with their hardline stance against LGBT equality,” said HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz.

LaSalvia said, “Tolerating this kind of bigotry will only serve to turn off more and more voters, and until the leadership of the RNC is willing to confront and denounce bigotry in its own ranks, they will continue to lose elections.”

Liddy Huntsman, the daughter of Jon Huntsman Jr. and a member of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, also condemned the move.

“As someone with high hopes for the GOP, I’m personally disappointed with this display of exclusion, especially at a moment when everyone — including party officials — acknowledge that we need a new direction,” she said.

The comments reference the recent RNC “autopsy” of the 2012 elections ordered by RNC chairman Reince Priebus, in which party officials concluded, “Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.”

Despite the report’s recommendation that, “[o]n messaging, we must change our tone — especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters,” the Friday meeting, led by Priebus, explicitly continued the same messages as those contained in the 2012 party platform.

Log Cabin Republicans executive director Gregory Angelo, however, saw it as a sign of the pressure being placed on the party to change, calling out the move to pass these resolutions as an action of those “threatened” by growing support for gay rights within the Republican Party.

“No one was expecting the GOP to change its platform position on marriage at this meeting, but clearly those in opposition to equality feel threatened by the growing numbers of Republicans who support the freedom to marry,” he said. “The GOP platform didn’t stop Senator Portman from evolving, nor Senator Kirk, and any reaffirmation of the party platform isn’t going to stop more Republicans from joining their colleagues on the right side of history.”

The RNC’s Marriage Resolutions:

Via twitpic.com

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Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.
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