Republican leaders unanimously approved a resolution Friday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8, the measure under court review that forbids same-sex marriage in California.
The Republican National Committee “affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America and … implores the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act,” according to a resolution approved at the group's meeting in Hollywood.
The court heard arguments last month on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, and it is expected to issue its rulings in June.
The RNC's repudiation of gay marriage comes as some prominent Republicans have announced their support of it, noted Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, an association of gay party members. Among them are Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois.
“No one was expecting the GOP to change its platform position on marriage at this meeting, but clearly those in opposition to equality feel threatened by the growing numbers of Republicans who support the freedom to marry,” Angelo said in a statement.
“The GOP platform didn't stop Sen. Portman from evolving, nor Sen. Kirk, and any reaffirmation of the party platform isn't going to stop more Republicans from joining their colleagues on the right side of history.”
The marriage resolution was one of a dozen approved without debate on the third day of the RNC’s spring meeting. Other measures affirmed the party platform, honored former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and called for cooperation with the “conservative grass-roots movement.”
The committee also approved a rules change that forbids a presidential nominee from having veto power over delegates and requires officials at party conventions to recognize all candidates who receive legal delegate votes.
Many of these moves were aimed at pleasing Paul’s followers, a libertarian faction that has had bitter battles with the traditional party leadership.
The Republican Party, stung by its loss to President Obama in November, is using the meeting to discuss proposals to change its nominating system and to engage voters who have shunned GOP candidates, notably Latinos and single women.
“You can’t govern if you don’t win, and we can’t win if we can’t grow,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told committee members Friday morning, before describing a $10-million field operation and planned investments in technology and data.
Though different factions of the party may occasionally disagree, he said, he urged them to unite.
“We need everyone on our team. Conservatives, libertarians, the tea party, the liberty movement and those who don’t wear any label but are firmly to the right of center,” he said.
Priebus focused on party positions on education, the budget, the Constitution, the private sector and healthcare. He did not mention the thorny topics that harm the party with some of the voters it is now seeking, among them abortion, immigration and same-sex marriage. But he said the party would not abandon its values and become “Democrats-light.”
“While we have to do things differently, there’s one thing that can’t and won’t change: our principles,” he said. “There are some that would like us to abandon them, but as long as I’m chairman, we’re going to stay true to them.”