Pay Attention North Carolina GOP
The Oregon GOP has made something of a bold move by removing wording that condemned same-sex marriage and civil unions, as well as saying that such couples were unfit to be parents. This move is not surprising given the fact that the state’s GOP has struggled to gain traction lately due to social issues. They made the changes at a weekend convention in Bend, Oregon.
Greg Leo, spokesman for the state party, said “We want the public to take another look at the Republican Party and our policies. It’s fair to say we’re more centrist.”
The Oregon GOP has struggled badly since the days that they were the dominant party in the state. No Republican has been elected governor since 1987, and the Democrats hold every statewide office. The best that the GOP has been able to do is split the state’s House down the middle in last year’s election.
Leo maintains that the next election is going to be about jobs and the economy, and that the party does not want social issues to be a distraction. Of course, given that Republicans are less popular than Democrats currently, this may still be difficult.
The change has not been easy, and almost did not occur, according to Xander Almeida, one of those who pushed to remove the anti-gay language. According to Oregon Live “Almeida said his motion to remove the language was first shot down 2-1 by a caucus of members focusing on the “family” section of the platform. He thought his effort was over until he talked to party Chairman Allen Alley, who told him the proposal should go to a full floor vote.”
Almeida stated as well “That’s where things really kind of got heated,” Almeida said. The change passed with a bare minimum of a majority.
The hope is that this change will attract younger voters as well as more lesbians and gays. Of course, this may be counter acted by the fact that the national Republican Party is still very anti-gay, and the likely nominee for President will be virulently anti-gay. Almeida did say, though, that “a lot of younger Republicans don’t feel as though this kind of rhetoric has any place in a small government agenda. If we want to do small government, shouldn’t we get government out of the bedroom as well?”
Still, the platform supports the notion that marriage should be only between one man and one woman.
The question is, really, do they lose a lot of votes over this particular issue? That is a big question, and unfortunately, they are betting that it will be enough to counteract the national party’s positions. According to Jeana Frazzini of Basic Rights Oregon “It appears that the change to the platform is further indication that people are becoming more aware that denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage negatively impacts all our families.”