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Same-sex marriage (SSM) & the GOP 2012 platform

2012-AUG/SEP: Marriage Amendment. More reactions.

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We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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2012-AUG-28: The Republican platform's marriage amendment (Cont'd):

The proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be difficult to pass. It would require the support of 67 Senators, and two thirds of the Representatives in Congress. Then, it would have to be ratified by at least 38 state governments. That is, if only 12 states refused to ratify the Amendment, it would be dead in the water.

Currently:

  • Six states and the District of Columbia have already legalized SSM; this grew to 18 states and DC by the end of 2013.

  • Five additional states make civil unions or domestic partnerships available to loving, committed same-sex couples;

  • Laws have been passed in two more states -- Maryland and Washington -- to legalize SSM; these laws will be either be confirmed or repealed by plebiscites during 2012-NOV. (On election day, they both passed.)

  • The Maine legislature legalized SSM in 2009. The law was subsequently repealed by a citizen initiative. A new initiative, to be voted upon in 2012-NOV will either uphold that repeal or will re-authorize SSM. (The initiative legalized SSMs.)

  • Proposition 8 that ended SSM in California during 2008-NOV by a narrow vote has been ruled unconstitutional by a District Court, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and by a larger panel of the same Court. The ruling has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which is expected to either reject the appeal in 2012-OCT or hold hearings and rule on the case in late 2013. (In mid-2013, the Supreme Court overturned Prop. 8).

Thus, by late 2013-JAN -- the date that the Republican party hopes that a Mitt Romney administration will start -- between 12 and 16 states will have authorized either SSM, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. They would be unlikely to vote in favor of an amendment that would eliminate these forms of recognition of same-sex couples. As noted above, if only 12 states rejected the amendment, it would fail.

Of the 11,000 attempts to amend the constitution, only 27 -- about one quarter of 1% -- have been eventually ratified by the states.

If the Marriage Amendment is a stealth amendment -- one that would not only ban same-sex marriages, but also would ban civil unions, domestic partnerships, and any other recognition of loving, committed same sex relationships, it would probably be recognized as an extreme measure by most American voters. Support for some form of recognition of loving, committed same-sex relationhip (i.e. either same-sex marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples) is approaching 70% nationally. It is extremely doubtful that the amendment would pass.

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2012-AUG-29: Reaction to the platform by the Family Research Center (FRC):

Tony Perkins is President of the FRC Action. FRC has been identified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors hate groups in the U.S. He wrote: 

"Yesterday, Republicans enthusiastically approved the GOP platform, which Phyllis Schlafly said might be 'the best one ever adopted,' and as someone who had a hand in its creation, I agree. It is, as Phyllis points out, a true reflection of American values. The final document artfully combines the social, fiscal, and defense priorities of the GOP. For me personally, platform week was a proud moment as I watched the FRC Action team work with precision behind the scenes. Thanks to their expertise, we were able to have unprecedented influence on core conservative issues. As a delegate, I had the opportunity to basically rewrite the marriage plank, which led to the committee approving a much stronger version than 2008's." 1

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2012-SEP-05: Comments by Richard Socarides on marriage equality within the Republican platform:

Richard Socarides is a New York lawyer and long-time gay rights advocate. He wrote in the Daily Beast:

"Ken Mehlman, the openly gay former Republican Party chair, told me: 'Republican support for marriage and equal treatment under the law is increasing because, not in spite of, our conservative values. Allowing adults who love each other to enter into civil marriage expands freedom, promotes family values like commitment, and protects religious liberty while following the Golden Rule.'

Mehlman, who was also political director during the George W. Bush White House, has devoted substantial time and effort to promoting gay rights since he came out two years ago. He even apologized publicly for the work he did promoting anti-gay ballot initiatives during the 2004 presidential election."

Socarides feels that if Romney is elected president, that the cause of marriage equality and gay rights would be set back substantially. He listed some of the components of their platform:

Mitt Romney has:

  • Signed a commitment prepared by the National Organization for Marriage -- a group whose main funciton is to eliminate same-sex marriage. He commits to appointing only those Justices to the U.S. Supreme court who pass an anti-SSM litmus test.

  • Said that as president, he would order the Attorney General to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. 2

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Why some LGBT Republicans remain Republicans:

Some LGBT conservatives remain Republican even though the 2012 party platform promises to reverse every advance towards equality that the LGBT community has struggled to achieve over the past decades.

Jimmy LaSalvia (R) is cofounder and executive director of GOProud, a Washington-based group of conservatives from the LGBT community. He said:

"Look, we know Obama’s record, and that’s what people are going to be voting on. ... I think that the [Democratic] platform and all the gay speakers and all the good words from the podium, are nice, but it still does nothing to cover up their record on jobs and the economy. Look, we’re not talking about how everybody is going to get rich; we’re talking about basic survival in the country right now. If we stay on the same track, we’re gonna collapse and gay people are gonna be holding up signs that say 'Will Work For Food' instead of 'Just Got Married'." ... The platform is a piece of paper, It has no rights or responsibilities. And the day after, candidates from all over the country distance themselves from it. ..."

"When we do our work within the conservative moment, we’re able to smoke out those people who really don’t like gay people. There are a few groups—the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the American Family Association—who make their living demonizing gay people, and when we do our work with all the other conservative organizations, that just shows them for what they are." 3

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Tony Perkins, "FRC Action walks the plank in Tampa," FRC Action, 2012-AUG-29, at: http://www.frcaction.org/
  2. Richard Socarides, "Mitt Romney Stands Athwart As Democrats Make Gay-Marriage History," The Daily Beast, 2012-SEP-05, at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/
  3. Lloyd Grove, "Gay Republicans on Why They Are Anti-Obama," The Daily Beast, 2012-SEP-05, at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/

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Copyright © 2012 & 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-AUG-26
Latest update: 2013-DEC-28
Author: B.A. Robinson
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