Family Research Council Wrote GOP’s Anti-Gay Union Plank

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday August 22, 2012

The president of a conservative group that is determined to outlaw gay marriage across the country said he is responsible for writing the Republican National Committee's marriage plank for the party's platform, the Buzzfeed reported.

"You should read the entire plank on marriage, which I wrote. I feel very happy about it. I feel pretty optimistic about the outcome here," Ton Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, told the website.

The marriage plank urges for a constitutional amendment that defines marriage a union between one man and one woman.

"[W]e believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage," the document reads.

The draft's language would ban gay marriage in the U.S. and could force same-sex couples that are currently married into divorce. In addition, the plank criticizes President Barack Obama's administration for not defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which has been deemed unconstitutional by the president and several other lawmakers.

"We oppose the Administration's open defiance of this principle [of separation of powers] - in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts," according to the plank.

LGBT organizations and activists are severely criticizing the Republican Party's anti-gay marriage (and anti-civil union) stance. Evan Wolfson, an attorney and a gay rights advocate who is the president of Freedom to Marry, said the GOP language was "tragic," another Buzzfeed article notes.

The Human Rights Campaign, which has long supported Obama, said that since the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and "this harsh language will be seen as decidedly retrograde."

'The fight for gay marriage is, in reality, a fight for all of our rights. Without it, we will turn back the sexual revolution and return to an earlier, puritanical time." -- Hugh Hefner

"The fact that the Republican platform is extolling the virtues of marriage is all the more reason why it is senseless that the Republican Party is excluding committed gay and lesbian couples from that institution," Michael Cole-Schwartz, an HRC spokesman, told the website.

Support for gay marriage also came from Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine. In the publication's September issue, the 86 year-old criticized conservatives who don't support marriage equality and said that same-sex marriage impacts all Americans.

"The fight for gay marriage is, in reality, a fight for all of our rights. Without it, we will turn back the sexual revolution and return to an earlier, puritanical time," he wrote. He also wrote that conservatives will "assault the right of gays, whether by denying them to right to marry or, as in Kansas, by attempting to empower landlords, business owners and employers to discriminate against gays on religious grounds."

Even though the Republican Party's platform is firmly standing against marriage equality, a subcommittee that helped draft the platform approved language that states the GOP will grant "dignity and respect" for LGBT Americans, the Boston Globe points out.

"We embrace the principle that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect," the party's education subcommittee wrote, according to Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clarke Cooper. Log Cabin Republicans is an organization made up of gay conservatives.

The GOP's platform committee is meeting this week before the Republican National Convention is held in Tampa, Fla., next week and Cooper said the meetings include "a healthy debate on marriage and DOMA."

Cooper told the the Globe last month that the Log Cabin Republicans would try to convince the GOP to remove anti-gay language from its platform, including the definition of marriage. But Buzzfeed notes that Chris Barron, co-founder and chief strategist for GOProud, another gay Republican group, told the website that he blamed Log Cabin for the Republican Party's negative stance on marriage equality.

"For those of us who have been doing platform work in the past, we know that making a public stink over these issues is a guaranteed way to ensure a bad result," Barron said. "Log Cabin Republicans is 100 percent responsible for making this language worse." But Cooper disagreed and said he didn't believe Perkins was "waiting for us to participate to draft his language."

Earlier this month, EDGE reported that the draft of the Democratic Party's platform stated that the party would support gay marriage for the first time. In addition, the draft mentions sexual orientation and gender identity in its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - a proposed federal bill that would prohibit LGBT people from being discriminated against in the workplace.