Conservative group fears "defense of marriage" won't make it into GOP platform at RNC

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The FRCA's email says, "In conventions past, there has been controversy surrounding the pro-life plank in the party platform. This year, it appears that controversy has shifted to traditional marriage."

The statement then goes on to list "strong voices" within the GOP who "would like nothing more than to change the official stance in regards to marriage between one man and one woman," listing former V.P. Dick Cheney, former First Lady Laura Bush, and Ken Mehlman, the former chair of the RNC when George W. Bush ran for re-election in 2004 who a few years ago came out as a gay man.

The power of the FRCA's statement loses some thump when it mentions former GOP governors who have expressed similar sentiments, such as Gary Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger; neither of them is exactly the most popular Republicans these days (Johnson has left the party to run on the Libertarian ticket for president, while Schwarzenegger antagonized Republicans for a variety of perceived offenses while serving as governor of California).

It should be noted that like many (if not most) political advocacy organizations on both the right and the left, creating a sense of urgency is vital to fund-raising, and the email from Family Research Council Action explicitly states that "your timely contribution...could be the difference between sending a skeleton crew of 4 or a full team of 10" to the convention to fight against the possibility of the party dropping its stance on marriage being between a man and a woman.

But honestly — should traditional marriage supporters inside the GOP fear a takeover on the platform committee next month? Not really.

However, it should be noted that the lightning-fast changes on this issue over the course of the last decade aren't ending anytime soon — not with several more states voting on same-sex marriage this fall (with the possibility of one state — Washington — approving that change in policy, which has yet to happen at the ballot box in the U.S.).

The fact is, individual Republicans have played key roles in the expansion of same-sex marriage around the country — or in the case of California, they've led the fight to overcome laws banning it. Four Republicans supported Democrats in the New York State Senate to legalize same-sex marriage in the Empire State last year, and who can forget that one of the attorneys out in California fighting Proposition 8, which states that gay-marriage is unconstitutional, is Ted Olson? Olson is the founder of the Federalist Society and former Bush administration solicitor general.

So who knows? Maybe there will at least be a discussion, if not a fight, over same-sex marriage when the Republican platform committee meets in Tampa from August 19-21. Their finished product will be subject to a vote by all of the delegates to the convention (h/t to Beth Reinhard at National Journal for bringing the issue to CL's attention).

  • Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council

The platform committee for a political convention consists of party officials who decide on the official positions of the party, which then go before all of the delegates to vote on.

In some previous GOP conventions, abortion rights has been a heated issue during the platform debate. This year the platform committee will meet in Tampa the week before the RNC takes place at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and USA Today reported last week that jobs, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, energy issues, a tax overhaul and a commitment to changing entitlements are what will probably end up in the final document.

The words "same-sex marriage" failed to make an appearance in reporter Jackie Kucinich's USA Today story.

But don't tell that to the Family Research Council Action, the legislative action arm of the Christian conservative — and fervently anti-gay — Family Research Council. The group is raising fears among the faithful that there's a movement afoot in the GOP to move away from its condemnation of same-sex marriage, a shift that could be engineered during the RNC

In an alert sent to its members two weeks ago, the conservative group warned "the economy appears to have pushed out moral issues in today's politics. One of the casualties is the defense of marriage."

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