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On gay marriage and other social issues, GOP platform hews to conservative stances

In the midst of an exceptional political year, Republicans stuck with conservative orthodoxy on same-sex marriage, drug policy and other social issues during the first day of crafting their 2016 platform.

Members of the GOP platform committee rebuffed efforts by moderate Republicans to strip the document of references to traditional marriage and opposition to adoption by gay couples.

Proponents of the more gay-friendly language, most prominently New York delegate Annie Dickerson, became visibly frustrated by their repeatedly stymied efforts. Dickerson is an advisor to GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, who has sought to promote gay rights causes within his party.

“Stop repelling gays, for God’s sake," Dickerson said.

But others blanched at Dickerson's push. One delegate was loudly applauded when he chastised her for implying those who don't share her belief are bigots.

Rachel Hoff, the first openly gay delegate to serve on the panel, was near tears as she pled for support of an amendment that was neutral on same-sex marriage and stated that Republicans held a diversity of views on the issue.

Hoff, who is from Washington, D.C., told her fellow delegates, "Freedom means freedom for everyone, including gays and lesbians." Her proposal, like others seeking to soften language on LGBT issues, failed. 

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a co-chair of the committee, said the vote was a reaffirmation of the GOP's longtime position on marriage, but said that did not mean the party was shutting out gay and lesbian members like Hoff.

"She's still welcome in the party," Fallin said. "Everybody is."

Delegates also sided with conservative language on drugs, rejecting a call for the legalization of medical marijuana and blocking language that would call for assessment of the consequences of the "failure of drug prohibition."

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