In the same week Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to slug it out in their first official debate, the Republican National Committee is set to vote during its summer meeting on resolutions against same-sex marriage and in favor of anti-gay sex education in schools, the Washington Blade has learned.
The Blade obtained the text of two proposed anti-gay resolutions and a third relatively pro-gay counter-proposal on the table for discussion during the upcoming meeting in Cleveland.
If the RNC were to adopt any of the non-binding resolutions next week, it would be the first official act of the Republican Party on the marriage issue following the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision last month in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples. The initial vote could take place during the executive committee meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, where a successful vote would lead to consideration at the full committee meeting on Friday.
One resolution, titled “Resolution for Balanced Sex-Ed in Schools,” was introduced by former Michigan State House lawmaker and RNC member Dave Agema. It encourages schools “teaching the homosexual lifestyle in their sexual education class” to “also include the harmful physical aspects of the lifestyle.”
The resolution is based on the belief the Republican Party “supports the institution of traditional marriage,” which is considered code for opposition to same-sex marriage. The proposal is also based on questionable assertions that American culture “is portraying the homosexual lifestyle as an attractive option for school-aged children” and the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes says being gay takes up to 21 years off a person’s life.
Tempering the resolution is language saying Republicans believe all people should be treated with respect and dignity. The measure also calls for partnerships with parents for, among other things, efforts to “increase adolescent education on the spectrum of risks involved in alternative lifestyle.”
The resolution sponsor, Agema, is the same RNC member who has repeatedly landed in hot water for making anti-gay, racist and anti-Muslim posts on Facebook, such as an endorsement of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law and an article saying gay people are “filthy,” frequently pedophiles and responsible for 50 percent of U.S. murders. Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus and Michigan Republican Party Chair Bobby Schostok have called on Agema to step down and the RNC has censured him, but no explicit mechanism exists to expel him from the RNC and he has remained in his post.
In response to a Blade email seeking comment on the proposal, Agema implicitly confirmed its accuracy, but had nothing further to say.
“First, how did you get a copy of this?” Agema said. “If you could answer this question please. Second, I don’t comment until after deliberations on the resolutions.”
Another resolution, titled “To Reserve, Strip and Pursue,” was introduced by Republican National Committee member Ross Little of Louisiana. The proposal responds to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage by calling for action from Congress saying the ruling violates the U.S. Constitution.
The measure criticizes the marriage decision “as lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure or original understanding of the constitution,” arguing it ignores freedom of religion under the First Amendment and powers reserved to the states. The resolution says restricting marriage to one man, one woman is underpinned by the Bible, millennia of experience and U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s 2013 decision upholding the right of states to define marriage in the ruling against DOMA.
The proposal calls on Congress to defy the Supreme Court by passing, in accordance with the Tenth Amendment, legislation saying marriage laws and recognition of marriages is the exclusive province of the states, although states shouldn’t be able to legalize polygamy or prohibit interracial marriage. Further, in accordance with Article III of the U.S. Constitution, the resolution seeks legislation stripping federal courts of jurisdiction over marriage issues.
Little had no comment on the proposed resolution when reached by phone.
Another counter resolution in response to those proposals sponsored by Maryland RNC member Diana Waterman is also slated for consideration. That proposal starts by referring to the Growth & Opportunity Report, which in 2013 called for GOP inclusion of gays and other groups. The resolution says the court has ruled on marriage and candidates, not the RNC, should be commenting further on the decision, but Republicans should nonetheless “support and promote our nominee, regardless of their expressed opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges.”
Co-sponsors of the resolution are RNC members from D.C. Robert Kabel, Jill Homan and Jose Cunningham, who are gay.
The RNC didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on any of the resolutions, although multiple sources have confirmed they’re on the table.
TJ Helmstetter, a DNC spokesperson, slammed the RNC for consideration of the proposed anti-gay resolutions.
“Even though marriage equality is now the law of the land, Republicans are still pursuing the same divisive and outdated anti-gay, anti-equality agenda,” Helmstetter said. “Move on, GOP, embrace the times.”
Here’s the Dave Agema resolution:
From Dave Agema:
RESOLUTION FOR BALANCED SEX-ED IN SCHOOLS
Whereas the Republican Platform supports the institution of traditional marriage and believes it will determine the success as a nation; AND
Whereas, the Republican Platform states that education is more than schooling, that it is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions; AND
Whereas, the Republican Platform states that American education has been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America; AND
Whereas, the Republican Platform supports the right of parents to consent to medical treatment including mental health and drug treatment which includes giving our children accurate information about behavioral choices that could affect their health and welfare; AND
Whereas, we teach our children the hazards of smoking that can take up to 10 years off their life according to the New England Journal of Medicine; AND
Whereas, the popular culture is portraying the homosexual lifestyle as an attractive option for school-aged children; AND
Whereas, according to the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) participation in the homosexual lifestyle can take up to 21 years off one’s life; AND
Whereas, one of the fastest growing age groups getting HIV are 13-24 year olds according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC-HIV Among Youth-Age-Risk-HIV/AIDS); AND
Whereas, the CDC reports that over 50% of the youth infected with HIV don’t know that they are infected (CDC- HIV Among Youth – Age- Risk-HIV/AIDS); AND
Whereas, the prevalence of having been taught in school about HIV infection or AIDS decreased from 92% in 1997 to 85% in 2013; AND
Whereas, the CDC states that continual HIV prevention outreach and education efforts, including programs on abstinence, delaying the initiation of sex, and negotiating safer sex for the spectrum of sexuality among youth—homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, and transgender—are urgently needed for a new generation at risk.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; the National Republican Party:
1. Embraces the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity;
2. Encourages schools that are teaching the homosexual lifestyle in their sexual education class also include the harmful physical aspects of the lifestyle;
3. Encourage the partnership with parents to deliver exemplary sexual health education emphasizing HIV and other STD prevention, increase adolescent education on the spectrum of risks involved in alternative lifestyles, and establish safe and supportive environments for students and staff.
Here’s the Ross Little resolution:
To Reserve, Strip & Pursue
Resolution for the Republican National Committee
On the Restoration of Marriage in Response to Obergefell v. Hodges
By Ross Little, Jr., Republican National Committeeman, Louisiana
WHEREAS, The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, a decision lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure or original understanding of the constitution, with no basis in the Constitution, nor in the precedent of the Court, nor in the history of this nation, acting beyond its constitutional bounds by declaring marriage between two persons of the same sex to be a newly invented “fundamental right,” requiring state authorities and officials to license marriages between persons of the same sex, overturning the law of 34 states, and ignoring the First Amendment provision of free exercise of religion, has usurped the powers reserved by the Constitution to the states and to the people;
WHEREAS, Marriage has always been understood in our law and in the philosophical traditions supporting it, as the conjugal union of a husband and a wife, instituted by God as set forth in the Bible, supported by religion, proved by millennia of experience, recognized by all those who framed and ratified the United States Constitution, by all of the founding states, by all of the states at the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, and by all of the states up until 2003; all these facts having been ignored by the majority in Obergefell;
WHEREAS, The Supreme Court’s effort to redefine marriage creates an inevitable clash between the government and the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion;
WHEREAS, Justice KENNEDY, who wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell, wrote the following, for the same majority justices, just two years ago in U.S. v Windsor, invalidating a federal law defining marriage, in part based on the doctrine that state courts have virtually exclusive jurisdiction over family law matters:
“Regulation of domestic relations is an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.” (emphasis mine)
“The recognition of civil marriages is central to state domestic relations law applicable to its residents and citizens.” (emphasis mine)
“Each state as a sovereign has a rightful and legitimate concern in the marital status of persons domiciled within its borders.” (emphasis mine)
“The definition of marriage is the foundation of the State’s broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations with respect to the protection of offspring, property interests and the enforcement of marital responsibilities.” (emphasis mine)
“The states, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, possessed full power over the subject of marriage and divorce and the Constitution delegated no authority to the Government of the United States on the subject of marriage and divorce.” (emphasis mine)
“The whole subject of the domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child, belongs to the laws of the States and not to the laws of the United States.”
“Consistent with this allocation of authority, the Federal Government, through our history, has deferred to state-law policy decisions with respect to domestic relations.”
“…[T]here is no federal law of domestic relations … .”
“In order to respect this principle, the federal courts, as a general rule, do not adjudicate issues of marital status even when there might otherwise be a basis for federal jurisdiction.” (emphasis mine)
“Federal courts will not hear divorce and custody cases even if they arise in diversity because of the virtually exclusive primacy of the States in the regulation of domestic relations” (emphasis mine)
“The significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning; for when the Constitution was adopted the common understanding was that the domestic relations of husband and wife and parent and child were matters reserved to the States.” (emphasis mine)
“Marriage laws vary in some respects from State to State.”
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people;”
WHEREAS, Article III of the Constitution authorizes Congress to establish and determine the jurisdiction of all inferior federal courts, and to regulate and make exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, which Congress has done on numerous occasions;
WHEREAS, despite the majority claim that the opinion was based on the Constitution, it appears that Obergefell was based neither on the Equal Protection Clause, nor the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. According to Chief Justice Roberts, joined with Justices Scalia and Thomas, this newly invented right “has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.”
WHEREAS, the majority opinion completely ignored the first amendment, with absolutely no mention of the constitutional guarantee of free exercise of religion and no consideration of the religious nature of marriage;
WHEREAS, this case continues a trend in which a divided Supreme Court has taken one side of a controversial issue in favor of expansion of Federal Courts’ power, and the Federal Government diminishing the right and role of state courts, state governments, and of the people;
WHEREAS, because the definition of marriage is the foundation of all family law, this Federal Courts’ assertion of jurisdiction over the definition of marriage thus amounts to a significant step in the federal takeover of marriage and family law, in accordance with the wishes of liberal-leaning commentators. After all, “if an unvarying social institution enduring over all of recorded history cannot inhibit judicial policymaking, what can?”
WHEREAS, Congress should, in accordance with and in pursuance of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and generally in harmony with the law at the time of the adoption of the Constitution until this year, adopt legislation establishing that questions involving marriage and family law, including, but not limited to issues of marriage, community property, inheritance, divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, and the definition of marriage (with the proviso that states would not be authorized to allow marriage of other than two persons, nor would they be authorized to prohibit interracial marriage) and the recognition of marriage between states are matters reserved to the states;
WHEREAS, Congress should, in accordance with and in pursuance of Article III of the Constitution, and in harmony with a long line of U.S. Supreme Court Cases, adopt legislation removing from the jurisdiction of all inferior federal courts and from the appellate jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court for all cases and controversies, questions involving marriage and family law, including, but not limited to issues of marriage, community property, inheritance, divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, and the definition of marriage and the recognition of marriage between states.
WHEREAS, Litigants in marriage and family law would continue to have an adequate, fair and traditional forum to litigate both marriage cases and their related issues, including constitutional issues, in the State Courts;
Therefore, be it Resolved that the Republican National Committee calls upon Congress, in accordance with and in pursuance of, the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to adopt legislation establishing that questions involving marriage and family law, including but not limited to issues of marriage, community property, inheritance, divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, and the definition marriage (with the proviso that states would not be authorized to allow marriage of other than two persons, nor would they be authorized to prohibit interracial marriage), and the recognition of marriage between states, are matters reserved to the states and are thus the exclusive province of the States;
Be it Further Resolved that, the Republican National Committee calls upon Congress, in accordance with and in pursuance of, Article III of the Constitution to adopt legislation removing from the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts and from the appellate jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court for all legal cases and controversies, questions involving marriage and family law, including, but not limited to issues of marriage, community property, inheritance, divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, and the definition of marriage, and the recognition of marriage between states.
Be it Further Resolved that the Secretary of the Republican National Committee is authorized and directed to send this resolution to currently serving Republican Congressman, Senators, Governors, Secretaries of State and Attorneys General; in addition to the Republican State Committees of every State.
Here’s the Diana Waterman resolution:
Whereas the Republican National Committee adopted the Growth and Opportunity Project report in March, 2014 after the disappointing results of the 2012 Presidential election.
Whereas this RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project report made several good recommendations for expanding the base of the Republican party through more effective messaging to constituencies important to the future success of the Republican party, including, but not limited to, Hispanics, women and millennials.
Whereas the RNC’s Report recognized the significant influence of younger voters to the success of Republican candidates; and recognized that 18-29 year old voters were the second largest block of voters to support President Obama in the 2012 election.
Whereas the Growth and Opportunity Project report identified that voters aged 18-29 expressed strong commitment to preserving equal rights and opportunity for all Americans, including all minority populations; and expressed concern that the Republican party was not committed to preserving equal rights and opportunity for all minority populations.
Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, held that states must permit equal rights to marry for same sex couples.
Whereas declared Republican candidates for President have already responded to the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision and each expressed their personal views on the decision.
Whereas the Republican National Committee primary purpose is to support our Republican nominee and win the White House.
Therefore, be it RESOLVED that the Republican National Committee recognizes and respects the right of Republican presidential candidates to express their individual positions on this Supreme Court decision and reiterates our commitment to support and promote our nominee, regardless of their expressed opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges.