At its annual spring gathering on April 12, the Republican National Committee unanimously reaffirmed its stance on gay marriage and the legal challenges surrounding it currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Despite the fact that the meeting took place at a hotel near West Hollywood, the committee’s decisions were strikingly anti-gay.
According to the Washington Post, one resolution defines “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.”
A second resolution “implores the US Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.”
ABC News reports that “11 influential social-conservative groups aired their grievances in a letter addressed to [RNC Chairman Reince] Priebus timed to coincide with the start of the RNC's meeting.” The letter read: “We respectfully warn GOP leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support.”
Social conservatives may be feeling the heat now that an ABC News-Washington Post poll shows that the percentage of Republicans supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry has more than doubled since 2004, from 16 percent to 34 percent. That same poll found that among all Americans, support for marriage equality stands at 58 percent.
The recent announcement that GOP Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois now support the freedom to marry –– coupled with the array of Republican bold-faced names who signed on to a brief urging the high court to strike down Prop 8 –– probably also propelled social conservatives to strike back.
The sponsor of the RNC resolutions was Dave Agema, the chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Voicing relief that he had accomplished his goals in the wake of the committee's unanimous votes, Agema said, “We have won the battle, and I will have nothing more to say on this matter.” He had earlier caused a firestorm by referring, in a Facebook post, to gays as “filthy” people whose behavior cuts decades off their lifespan.