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RNC approves resolution against same-sex marriage

Anti-gay groups strike back amid GOP division on gay nuptials

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Reince Priebus, Rebpublican National Committee, RNC, Republican Party, GOP, Republican National Convention, gay news, Washington Blade
Reince Priebus, Rebpublican National Committee, RNC, Republican Party, GOP, Republican National Convention, gay news, Washington Blade

RNC Chair Reince Priebus oversaw the approval of a resolution affirming the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

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.”

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Rob Farquhar

    April 13, 2013 at 12:25 am

    There's being conservative, and then there's looking at the house burning down around you and believing the flames won't burn you if you just pray hard enough-level stupidity

  2. Robben Wainer

    April 13, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I feel in the same sens of bigotry, the Republican Party is asking that a minority group, or a part of the population go unprotected by the law. I believe they are saying the law should not defend their LGBT population, and their constitutional rights should not be upheld.

  3. Rod Houston

    April 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    These people will never learn, they were on the wrong side of things 50 years ago with inter-racial marriage and now they are spewing the same bigoted vomit. And they wonder why they lose elections.

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Biden recognizes 10th anniversary of end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Pete Buttigieg, Gina Ortiz Jones named in White House statement

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President Biden recognized in a statement on Monday the tenth anniversary of the end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that once discharged service members from the military for being openly gay or bisexual.

“Ten years ago today, a great injustice was remedied and a tremendous weight was finally lifted off the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated American service members,” Biden said. “The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ which formally barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from openly serving, helped move our nation closer to its foundational promise of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all.”

Biden recognized high-profile openly gay appointees in his administrations who are also veterans, naming Air Force Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Biden also names Shawn Skelly, assistant secretary of defense for readiness, who would have been discharged from the military under President Trump’s transgender military ban.

“On this day and every day, I am thankful for all of the LGBTQ+ service members and veterans who strengthen our military and our nation,” Biden said. “We must honor their sacrifice by continuing the fight for full equality for LGBTQ+ people, including by finally passing the Equality Act and living up to our highest values of justice and equality for all.”

Technically speaking, the anniversary of Obama signing repeal legislation was in December. Today is the anniversary of defense officials certifying the military is ready, which put an end to the policy.

Read Biden’s full statement below:

Statement by President Joe Biden on the Tenth Anniversary of the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Ten years ago today, a great injustice was remedied and a tremendous weight was finally lifted off the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated American service members. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which formally barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from openly serving, helped move our nation closer to its foundational promise of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. It was the right thing to do. And, it showed once again that America is at its best when we lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

Despite serving with extraordinary honor and courage throughout our history, more than 100,000 American service members have been discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity—including some 14,000 under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Many of these veterans received what are known as “other than honorable” discharges, excluding them and their families from the vitally important services and benefits they had sacrificed so much to earn.

As a U.S. Senator, I supported allowing service members to serve openly, and as Vice President, I was proud to champion the repeal of this policy and to stand beside President Obama as he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act into law. As President, I am honored to be Commander-in-Chief of the strongest and most inclusive military in our nation’s history. Today, our military doesn’t just welcome LGBTQ+ service members—it is led at the highest levels by brave LGBTQ+ veterans, including Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness Shawn Skelly, who served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was gratified to appoint the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and Afghanistan veteran who joined the military under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And during my first week in office, I proudly delivered on my pledge to repeal the discriminatory ban on open service by patriotic transgender service members.

On this day and every day, I am thankful for all of the LGBTQ+ service members and veterans who strengthen our military and our nation. We must honor their sacrifice by continuing the fight for full equality for LGBTQ+ people, including by finally passing the Equality Act and living up to our highest values of justice and equality for all.

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HHS awards more than $48 million to HRSA centers in effort to beat HIV/AIDS

Biden campaigned on beating epidemic by 2025

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HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra hailed the contribution of more than $48 million to beat HIV/AIDS. (photo public domain)

The Biden administration has awarded more than $48 million to medical centers under Health Resources & Services Administration in localities with high incidents of HIV infection as part of the initiative to beat the disease, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Xavier Becerra, secretary of health and human services, said in a statement the contributions are key component of the initiative, which is called “Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.” and seeks to reduce new infections by 90 percent by 2030.

“HHS-supported community health centers are often a key point of entry to HIV prevention and treatment services, especially for underserved populations,” Becerra said in a statement. “I am proud of the role they play in providing critical services to 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. Today’s awards will ensure equitable access to services free from stigma and discrimination, while advancing the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025.”

The $48 million contribution went to HRSA centers 271 HRSA-supported health centers across 26 states, Puerto Rico and D.C. — areas identified with the highest rates of HIV infections — to expand HIV prevention and treatment services, including access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as well as outreach and care coordination, according to HHS.

The Ending the HIV Epidemic was set up under the Trump administration, which made PrEP a generic drug after an accelerated effort and set a goal of beating HIV by 2030. Biden has continued the project, after campaigning on beating HIV a full five years earlier in 2025. Observers, however, are skeptical he can meet that goal.

Diana Espinosa, acting HRSA administrator, said in a statement the $48 million will go a long way in reaching goals to beat HIV/AIDS.

“We know our Health Center Program award recipients are well-positioned to advance the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative, with a particular focus on facilitating access to PrEP, because of their integrated service delivery model,” Espinosa said. “By integrating HIV services into primary care, and providing essential enabling services like language access or case management, HRSA-supported health centers increase access to care and improve health outcomes for patients living with HIV.”

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Melania Trump announced as guest for Log Cabin Republicans’ annual dinner

Former first lady Melania Trump is set to be a special guest at the annual “Spirit of Lincoln” dinner hosted by Log Cabin Republicans.

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Former first lady Melania Trump is set to be a special guest at the annual “Spirit of Lincoln” dinner hosted by Log Cabin Republicans, the organization announced on Tuesday.

The event — which will take place Nov. 6 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., marking a change of tradition in holding the dinner in D.C. — will likely mark an attempt for Melania Trump to develop her image as an LGBTQ ally and tamp down the reputation the Trump administration was hostile to LGBTQ people.

Charles Moran, managing director for Log Cabin Republicans, hailed Melania Trump in a statement for her work as first lady and breaking barriers for the Republican Party.

“Melania Trump’s work as First Lady, from helping children reach their full potential to championing a more inclusive Republican Party, has been historic,” Moran said. “Her vocal support of Log Cabin Republicans has been a signal to Republicans everywhere that it is possible to simultaneously be conservative and support equality under the law for all Americans.”

According to the Log Cabin Republicans, Melania Trump at the dinner will be awarded with the 2021 Spirit of Lincoln Award. Other high-profile Republicans in the past who have appeared at the annual event are Carly Fiorina, Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Mary Cheney.

Moran, in response to an email inquiry from the Washington Blade, said Melania Trump will not only be an award recipient, but is set to deliver remarks at the event.

It won’t be the first time Melania Trump has collaborated with Log Cabin. During the 2020 election, she appeared in a video for Outspoken, the media arm for Log Cabin Republicans, saying “nothing could be further from the truth” her husband, former President Trump, is against LGBTQ people.

Among the anti-LGBTQ policies under Trump were a transgender military ban, religious freedom carve-out seen to enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination and the U.S. Justice Department arguing against LGBTQ inclusion under civil rights law when the issue was before the U.S. Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Trump connected with a certain faction of LGBTQ people and his administration included high-profile LGBTQ appointees, such as Richard Grenell as the first openly gay person to serve in a Cabinet role.

As first reported by the Washington Blade, Melania Trump said in 2020 she wanted to light up the White House in rainbow colors similar to the display during the Obama years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for same-sex marriage nationwide. However, the vision never came to pass at a time when White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had a role in quashing an symbolic support for LGBTQ people in Pride Month.

The Log Cabin announcement comes at a time when Melania Trump is facing new scrutiny over her response to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and whether she erroneously believes, like her husband, he was the winner of the 2020 election.

According to a preview in Politico, former White House press secretary and Melania Trump aide Stephanie Grisham says in her upcoming book she texted the former first lady on Jan. 6 to ask: “Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?”

A minute later, Melania replied with a one-word answer: “No,” Grisham reportedly writes of her account. At that moment, Grisham writes she was at the White House preparing for a photo shoot of a rug she had selected, according to Politico.

The Blade has placed a request in with the office of former President Donald Trump to confirm her appearance at the dinner and comment on what went into the Melania Trump’s decision to appear at the event.

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