Metro Weekly

GOP's Hard Line on Gay Marriage

Despite Log Cabin's efforts, Republican platform goes all in with fight against marriage equality

”Log Cabin, by making their public statements, have put a bull’s-eye on gay issues and given Tony Perkins and his folks the opportunity to pullout their canon and publicly blast them,” said LaSalvia. ”We knew how this was going to end up. By blowing it up in public, they made a perfect recipe for disaster.”

Cooper defended his organization’s work, writing in an email, “Log Cabin Republicans took the opportunity to work with fellow conservatives where others were unable or unwilling to participate. In contrast with the 1990s, we are a welcome presence at the RNC. We have more allies in 2012 than in 1992 and we are winning the long game. The younger conservative is on our side.”

Although GOProud has endorsed Mitt Romney for president, Log Cabin Republicans have yet to issue their endorsement. In 2004 the group withheld their support for President George W. Bush because of the campaign’s push for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Despite infighting among gay conservatives, the platform stands in stark contrast to language set to be adopted by the Democratic Party, which not only embraces marriage equality but disavows the Defense of Marriage Act.

The party platform put forward by the drafting committee aligns closely with the views of Romney and Paul Ryan, who both support amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Romney himself has said he opposes civil unions that are the same as marriage in everything but name.

Marriage equality advocates were quick to criticize the platform draft, declaring the Republican Party out of step with a growing majority of Americans.

In a statement, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the party was ”poised to send a devastating message to LGBT youth – that they and the families they aspire to one day build are not worthy of the same protections as everyone else.”

”With a growing majority of Americans, a substantial majority of independents, and a super-majority of young people across the spectrum supporting the freedom to marry for all committed couples, it’s sad to see the Republican Party so out of touch,” wrote Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson. ”A party that proclaims its belief in freedom, limited government, and personal responsibility should not be doubling down against couples seeking to share in the commitment of marriage and the birthright of liberty and justice for all.”

A group of young conservatives under the umbrella of Freedom to Marry had encouraged the platform committee to embrace marriage equality in a letter sent last week.

Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry wrote that if Republicans “truly believe in family values, then we must value all families.”

“Giving people more personal freedom is the foundation of the Republican Party, which, as the Party of Lincoln, has a proud tradition of expanding liberties,” the letter continued.

Signed by the leadership committee of the organization, the letter was addressed to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is chairing the committee tasked with drafting the Republican Party’s national platform.

The group responded on Tuesday to the platform, writing in a statement that they agree with many of the views about marriage present in the platform, but believe those views should be extended to same-sex couples.

“Despite that disappointment, we are undeterred and will continue to fight for all Americans to ‘be treated with respect and dignity.’ We will continue to engage our fellow conservatives in discussions about marriage and encourage them to extend that ‘respect and dignity’ to everyone, including same-sex couples,” they wrote.

The platform must still be approved by delegates at the Republican National Convention, which kicks off on Aug. 27.

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.