Panelists on the Republicans’ Platform Committee engaged in some heated discussions over the direction of the GOP’s stances on social issues – particularly gay marriage and LGBT rights – at the recent voting on policy planks at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio, according to a reporter with the Hill who was present for the event.
The Hill reported some of the debates became so heated Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. John Barrasso, who serves as chief of the Platform Committee, were called to oversee and intervene, to smooth ruffled feathers and keep the voting on track.
Social media discussions were the most heated, the Hill said. The panel included social conservatives like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council – but also Annie Dickerson, an adviser to billionaire Republican backer Paul Singer who, as the Hill notes, backs gay marriage. Meanwhile, the Paul E. Singer Foundation, one of the charitable offshoots of Singer, provides grants for education, health, Jewish causes and LGBT rights.
Dickerson, who’s adopted several children, accused some of the others on the panel of “blatant discrimination” because they voted to prohibit adoption agencies that take tax dollars from allowing gay couples to get custody of children.
“We need children to be adopted,” she said, the Hill reported, “so hooray to the gay community for trying to raise children in a happy and stable home. I object to allowing patent discrimination against gays over the right to adopt … This is blatant discrimination and should not be in our platform.”
The prohibition was passed regardless, along with several others that Dickerson opposed.
“Unbelievable,” she said, after the adoption caveat passed into policy, the Hill said.
Dickerson also opposed language in the platform that stipulates the GOP backs “traditional marriage and the families a husband and wife create,” and said the party’s platform ought instead say children should be “raised in a loving and stable home.”
She also opposed the addition of language that made clear the Republican Party was dissatisfied with the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.
“They’re not going to change the ruling,” Dickerson said, the Hill reported. “I know it’s hard, but that’s the law of the land.”
The panel included 13 women and three men.
Another delegate, Rachel Hoff, told the full 112-member Platform Committee that the party should open doors to gay marriage. Hoff, the Hill reported, was the only openly gay delegate on that committee.
“We’re your daughters, your sons, your neighbors, colleagues and the couples who sit next to you in church,” she reportedly said. “Freedom means freedom for everyone, including for gays and lesbians.”
Her platform recommendation for softer language was voted down, however.
The committee also rejected a proposal to let states decide on the use of medical marijuana, rejected a party-backed criticism of “no fault divorce,” rejected a proposal that would have taken out language that backed “state legislators [offering] the Bible as a literature curriculum and elective” in high schools, and approved an amendment that opposed the addition of prairie chickens and sage grouses to federal endangered species’ lists, Cleveland.com reported.
Committee members are due to consider platforms on the economy, national defense and other issues on Tuesday.