GOP Dismisses Cheney Call For Moderation On Gay Marriage
Wed. August 25, 2004 12:00 AM by 365gay.com
The party's conservative base is reeling in the wake of Cheney's suggestion Tuesday that marriage should be left up to the states.
Responding to a question during a campaign stop yesterday in Davenport, Iowa, Cheney said: "People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to. The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that's been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage."
Republican Party leaders are pushing for the platform to specifically spell out the need for a constitutional amendment, a move that could widen the divide between conservatives and party moderates.
The platform committee will hold hearings today. A draft of the platform, including the amendment plank, was shown to delegates last night.
It is expected the plank will be approved, marking the first time the GOP has gone on record in its platform as supporting an amendment against those unions. The last platform settled for a more general statement supporting the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
An attempt to pass an anti-gay-marriage amendment failed last month in the Senate, partly due to divisions within the GOP. The platform draft, however, makes it clear the issue is not going away.
Yet, in an attempt to avoid alienating moderates the draft platform also contains the statement: "We welcome into our ranks all who may hold differing positions" but it avoids naming the issues.
The gay-rights group Log Cabin Republicans, abortion-rights group Republicans for Choice and the Republican Youth Majority have proposed a much more expansive "unity" plank.
"We recognize and respect that Republicans of good faith may not agree with all the planks in the party's platform. This is particularly the case with regard to those planks dealing with abortion, family planning, and gay and lesbian issues. The Republican Party welcomes all people on all sides of these complex issues and encourages their active participation as we work together on those issues upon which we agree."
Sources on the platform committee say that the wording would be a hard sell in the hearings.
But, when the Republican National Convention gets underway it will attempt to put on a moderate face for a national TV audience.
Moderate and liberal Republicans are being given prime time speaking slots in a bid to show unity and moderation to undecided voters.
by Paul Johnson
Washington Bureau Chief
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