The Republican National Committee voted unanimously Friday to reaffirm the party’s commitment to upholding the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, upending party efforts to grow support among younger voters.
A resolution introduced Wednesday by Michigan committeeman Dave Agema, who came under fire last month for posting an article describing gays as “filthy” on his Facebook page, passed the full RNC by a voice vote and without debate. A second resolution reaffirming “core values” of the party — including opposition to same-sex marriage — was also passed.
RNC officials collected the resolutions, which were opposed privately by some committee members, together with a resolution honoring Ron Paul and another calling for a sustained investment in the U.S. space program — an effort to avoid debate on the floor.
The very fact that the vote took place was seen by some Republicans as flying in the face of one recommendation in the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project report.
“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,” the report stated. “If our Party is not welcoming and inclusive, young people and increasingly other voters will continue to tune us out.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said one young Republican operative. Two former RNC staffers, Liz Mair and Marcu Nuñez, penned a column in National Review on Friday calling for the measure to be struck down.
The so-called autopsy urged not just correcting the party’s tone on the issue, but also to address its policies.
The report “opened a beehive,” said Iowa national committeeman Steve Scheffler. More than a dozen conservative leaders condemned the report’s urging for moderation on same-sex marriage in advance of the RNC meeting, warning their supporters would stop backing the party.
“We respectfully warn GOP Leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support,” the letter said.
On Thursday, evangelical leader Tony Perkins encouraged his supporters to stop donating to the RNC — a tactic he’s employed before to express displeasure with the party.
“Until the RNC and the other national Republican organizations grow a backbone and start defending core principles, don’t send them a dime of your hard-earned money,” Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council said in an email first obtained by CNN. “If you want to invest in the political process, and I encourage you to do so, give directly to candidates who reflect your values and organizations you trust-like FRC Action.”
Republican Party officials bristle at coverage of the controversy. “While we have to do things differently, there’s one thing that can’t and won’t change: our principles,” said RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
Mississippi committeeman Henry Barbour, one of the five authors of the GOP’s autopsy report, called the vote counterproductive earlier in the week.
“We need to focus on issues that unite us — that’s what’s in the best interests of our party,” he said. “What I want us to do is stand for our principals, but I don’t want us to be shrill. If we want to win elections — particularly general elections — we’ve got to talk about issues that unite us.”
Here is the full text of the RNC resolutions:
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING CORE VALUES OF THE 2012 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM
Whereas, the 2012 Republican Platform states, “our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed,” (Preamble, p. i); and
Whereas, the 2012 Republican Platform state, “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to the unborn children.” (We The People: A Restoration of the Constitution, p. 13-14); and
Whereas, the 2012 Republican Platform states, “We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment (We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government, p. 13); and
Whereas, the 2012 Republican Platform states, “We believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage,” and “We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity,” (Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods, p. 31); and
Whereas, the 2012 Republican Platform states, “The greatest asset of the American economy is the American worker,” and “Just as immigrant labor helped build our country in the past, today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of our national life,” and “Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world; and
Whereas, the 2012 Republican Platform further states, “Illegal immigration undermines those benefits and affects U.S. workers. In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and the sovereignty of the United States,” and “Our highest priority, therefore, is to secure the rule of law both at our borders and at ports of entry,” (Reforming Government to Serve the People, p. 25); therefore be it
Resolved, the Republican National Committee reaffirms our commitment to the core values of the Republican Party as stated in the 2012 Republican Platform approved by the delegates to the Republican National Convention on August 28, 2012.
RESOLUTION FOR MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN 2013
Whereas, the institution of marriage is the solid foundation upon which our society is built and in which children thrive; it is based on the relationship that only a man and a woman can form; and
Whereas, support for marriage has been repeatedly affirmed nationally in the 2012 Republican National Platform, through the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, (signed into law by President Bill Clinton), and passed by the voters of 41 States including California via Proposition 8 in 2008; and
Whereas, no Act of human government can change the reality that marriage is a natural and most desirable union; especially when procreation is a goal; and
Whereas, the future of our country is children; it has been proven repeatedly that the most secure and nurturing environment in which to raise healthy well adjusted children is in a home where both mother and father are bound together in a loving marriage; and
Whereas, The U. S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of laws adopted to protect marriage from the unfounded accusation that support for marriage is based only on irrational prejudice against homosexuals; therefore be it
Resolved, the 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.
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