Gay GOP delegate pleads with party to soften stance on marriage

Gay GOP delegate pleads with party to soften stance on marriage
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CLEVELAND — Republicans debating the party’s platform in Cleveland shot down an amendment to soften the GOP’s stance on gay marriage, despite an emotional plea from the lone openly gay delegate serving on the Platform Committee.

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Washington, D.C., delegate Rachel Hoff put forth an amendment to the party’s platform that would acknowledge growing public support for gay marriage and “welcome a thoughtful conversation among Republicans about the meaning and importance of marriage and to commit to respect for all families.”

Hoff urged the 112-member committee to acknowledge that there are changing views on the issue within the party, choking back tears at times.

“This acknowledges the diversity of opinion within the party on marriage,” Hoff said. “I’m not asking you to endorse my own constitutional rights. I’m only asking you to recognize that many of the Republicans who sent us here to do work this week to shape the platform agree with me, and should not be excluded from the party.

“If our party wants a future, we must be mindful of these statistics and evolve,” she continued. “We all agree about the importance of the institution of marriage. We’re asking to join in that institution. We’re your daughters, your sons, your neighbors, colleagues and the couples that sit next to you in church. … Freedom means freedom from everyone including for gays and lesbians.”

The proposal was overwhelmingly defeated after almost no debate.

The first day of the Platform Committee meetings was marked by clashes over social issues such as gay marriage, religious liberty and LGBT rights.

The push for gay marriage and to remove wording from the platform about traditional family structures was led by New York delegate Annie Dickerson, an adviser to billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer.

Singer is a proponent of gay marriage and other issues championed by the gay community.

Dickerson lashed out at her colleagues at the committee meetings, accusing them of codifying “blatant discrimination” into the party’s platform.

All of the amendments on social issues put forth by Christian conservatives such as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins sailed through the subcommittee  and were ultimately voted into the platform. All of the proposals put forth by Dickerson and her allies failed.