After losing the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections, the Republican party is trying to reach out to a broader base and change the perception that the party is mostly made up of straight white religious fanatics. GOP leaders have tried to soften many of the party’s rigid positions on abortion and immigration reform in order to attract women and minorities.
But one group still finds themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the Grand Ole Party’s platform. The Republican party remains rooted in opposition for equal rights for the LGBT community with only 7 states not condemning same sex marriage. Fourteen states appear to go by the national platform, which calls for an amendment to the US Constitution to ban same sex marriage. That leaves 29 other states with their own platforms that oppose gay rights.
Gay rights activist group Freedom to Marry is trying to change the language in the GOP’s platform that discriminates against gay Americans. National campaign director, Mark Solomon, has limited expectations for the GOP to change it’s anti-gay language by 2016 – but hopes he can at least change the tone of the conversation.
“We’re not doing what we did with the Democratic platform,” he said. “In that, we called for freedom-to-marry language, because that’s where the party was. And it was still a heavy lift and a push because the president wasn’t there yet. In this platform, what we’re saying is, ‘Look, we recognize there is a mix of opinions on this issue and that people’s opinions are changing quickly on it.'”
Tyler Deaton, who is the campaign manager for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, has made changing the anti- gay language on the GOP’s national platform his main focus, saying “I think mechanically the biggest part of what we’re doing is educating supporters about an opportunity that already exists to become more involved in the party, to try to become a delegate to the national convention in 2016, and to really stand up and be counted, to have their voice be heard and to be a participant in the process,” he said.
“I think a lot of activists have struggled to find the right way to channel their beliefs,” he added. “And that makes sense, right? Because especially if you live in one of the 17 states or you live in D.C., and you’re a Republican and so those are the states that have the freedom to marry, I think you ask yourself, ‘What can you do to be contributing to this bigger national fight for freedom for same-sex couples?'”
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