Will GOP Still Defend Traditional Marriage?


This summer the Grand Old Party will decide whether to continue defending traditional marriage

The Republican National Convention in July may or may not have a presidential nomination battle, but it will certainly have a fight over the 2016 Republican Platform. Since 1992, Republican platforms, adopted every four years, have strongly supported the opposite-sex definition of marriage. The party’s last platform, adopted in 2012, warned that judicial redefinition of marriage is “an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.”

Now, several gay rights groups are working to remove commitment to traditional marriage from the 2016 Republican Platform. Among them: Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, Log Cabin Republicans, and the American Unity Fund. Evan Wolfson, a Harvard-educated lawyer who is now in a same-sex marriage, has been a prime proponent of redefinition ever since the first lawsuit in Hawaii 25 years ago, and he is not content with court victories. He told me, “The party should eliminate the anti-gay language laced throughout the platform and should live up to its professed values of freedom, limited government, and support for families—the values that argue for the freedom to marry.”

Some leaders who have fought for laws defining marriage as between a man and woman are fiercely opposed. “If the party makes a substantial change on issues like life or marriage, it will be disastrous, because whatever they think they gain, they’re wrong,” former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee recently told The Steve Malzberg Show. “I think a flood tide of people will just give up on the GOP and say they’re not different than the Democrats.” Groups like the National Organization for Marriage are also opposed: Frank Schubert, its national political director, says his organization is “determined to see the rightful definition of marriage restored” and is “counting on the Republican Party to maintain its commitment in this battle.”

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George Weaver