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D.C. Republican Committee adds LGBT-inclusive language to platform

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Republican Committee on Thursday became the first GOP state party to add LGBT-inclusive language to their platform.

“We, the Republicans of the District of Columbia support the belief that all individuals, without regard to sexual orientation, are entitled to full and equal protection under the laws and the Constitution and that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect,” read the plank.

The proposal was among the recommendations that the DCRC’s Platform Committee considered. Robert Kabel, chair of the D.C. Republican Committee, told the Blade that the LGBT-inclusive plank received widespread support.

“I was delighted that the Platform Committee included this inclusive language on equality,” he said.

Robert Turner, II, president of the D.C. chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, earlier this month proposed a similar plank that specifically spelled out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender when he testified before the Platform Committee. While tit ultimately did not include this specific language to the plank, Turner applauded the committee and Kabel for supporting the inclusion of LGBT rights in their platform.

“We are excited to be a part of a state party who understands that inclusion wins,” he said. “Marriage equality is settled law here in the District.  All citizens, including LGBT citizens should be treated equally.”

Christian Berle, deputy executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, also applauded the DCRC for approving the LGBT-inclusive platform plank.

“The D.C. Republican Committee has long been on the leading edge of inclusion within the Republican Party, and now the state party platform reflects that commitment to treating everyone with dignity and respect,” he told the Blade. “The Log Cabin Republicans’ D.C. chapter has done tremendous work in getting this language passed, and Chairman Bob Kabel deserves credit for putting together a platform we can all be proud of.”

The addition of this plank to the DCRC’s platform comes roughly two months before the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has repeatedly emphasized on the campaign trail his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. LGBT activists have also criticized the former Massachusetts governor for what they describe as inconsistent positions on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other issues.

Kabel described marriage rights for same-sex couples as “not a huge issue” for Republicans in this presidential election cycle. He conceded that some social conservatives will insist that the GOP include opposition to nuptials for gays and lesbians in its 2012 platform. Kabel stressed, however, that the DCRC plank could temper anti-LGBT attitudes within the national Republican Party.

“It will have a moderating impact,” he said.