The Republican National Committee approved on Friday a resolution affirming the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Multiple media outlets, including Bloomberg News, reported that RNC members approved the resolution during day two of their three-day spring meeting, which this year was held in Hollywood, Calif., under RNC Chair Reince Priebus. According to Log Cabin Republicans, the measure was approved by voice vote as part of a group of other resolutions.
The language of the resolution was earlier this week obtained by Yahoo! News. It reads, “[T]he Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America; and be it further resolved, the Republican National Committee implores the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.”
According to Politico, the resolution was sponsored by Michigan Republican Party Chair Dave Agema, who recently came under fire for a Facebook post making false and offensive claims about gay people, including that they have shorter life spans than others.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, dismissed the importance of the resolution, but predicted actions such as approving anti-gay measures would lead to continued losses for the Republican Party.
“The platform is clear about the party’s position on marriage, so the resolution wasn’t necessary,” LaSalvia said. “This resolution was motivated by anti-gay bigotry and brought forward by RNC members who just don’t like gay people. 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. I guess they are not finished losing.”
The resolution is in line with the 2012 Republican Party platform, which not only opposes same-sex marriage, but endorses a constitutional amendment banning gay nuptials.
But the vote also comes in the wake of an “autopsy” report saying the Republican Party must undertake greater outreach to the gay community — and other minority groups — to fare better in upcoming elections. Additionally, the move comes amid growing support for marriage equality nationwide and after two Republican U.S. senators — Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mark Kirk (Illinois) — announced their support for marriage equality.
On Friday, a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll affirmed that a majority of the American public backs same-sex marriage. The poll found that 53 percent of Americans support marriage rights for gay couples, while 34 percent of the public is opposed. The same poll found 63 percent of respondents believe the federal government should recognize same-sex marriages that are already legal.
Meanwhile, social conservatives have been expressing outrage over what they perceive as the Republican Party’s abandonment of its opposition to same-sex marriage. Gary Bauer, a leader in the evangelical Christian movement and prominent conservative, has threatened to bolt the GOP and form a third party. A letter to the RNC obtained earlier this week by NBC News and signed by 13 social conservatives — including Bauer, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Phyliss Schlafly and James Dobson — warns that social conservatives will leave the Republican Party over marriage.
Still, some in the Republican Party who support same-sex marriage expressed outrage over the resolution in the wake of its passage. Among them was Liddy Huntsman, a leader of the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry and daughter of former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr.
“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,” Huntsman said in a statement. “We should be focused on a better future for all Americans, no matter who they love.”
Gregory Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said he’s “unphased” by the passage of the resolution because he doesn’t expect it to have an impact on the growing momentum in support of marriage equality.
“I don’t think that any resolution that’s going to pass is going to stop that momentum,” Angelo said. “And largely this is something that is ceremonial. If voting on a piece of paper that simply states that what we said in August of 2012 is the same thing that we’re saying in April of 2013, they can knock themselves out, but it’s not stopping the momentum that’s on our side.”
And the Democratic National Committee took the opportunity to remind the LGBT community of the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties.
“The differences between the two parties on issues important to the LGBT community are clear,” said DNC spokesperson Patrick Burgwinkle. “Once again Republicans have voted to enshrine as the policy of their party the discrimination of their fellow Americans. The Democratic Party is committed to supporting equal rights for all Americans and will continue to work with our allies in the LGBT community to advance the cause of equality for all Americans.”