Republican National Committee reaffirms opposition to gay marriage

April 12, 2013

The Republican National Committee passed resolutions Friday reaffirming its commitment to defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and calling on the Supreme Court to "uphold the sanctity of marriage" as it weighs rulings on two landmark cases involving gay marriage.

At the RNC's spring meeting in Los Angeles, committee members adopted a slate of resolutions unanimously and without discussion, a committee spokeswoman said.

One of the resolutions affirms the committee's "support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America."

Another involves the Supreme Court, which recently heard arguments in two cases involving gay marriage. One case involves California's same-sex marriage ban, while the other involves the federal Defense Of Marriage Act, which prevents same-sex married couples from receiving certain federal benefits.

"The Republican National Committee implores the U. S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act," reads the RNC's resolution.

The moves come four days after social conservatives sent a letter to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, threatening to decamp if the party did not reaffirm its commitment to their issues. It's important to note that resolutions have to be submitted ten days in advance, meaning they have been on tap at the committee even before the letter was sent.

The conservatives called for the RNC to pass a resolution reaffirming its support for the 2012 platform. Among other things, the platform called for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

The committee reaffirmed its 2012 platform's "core values" on Friday, including the portion indicating that the committee believes "that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard." It did not specifically mention the constitutional amendment portion. However, the endorsement of an amendment will remain in the platform, because the resolutions passed on Friday did not affect it.

The resolution to support the platform's "core values" was sponsored by Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, who caused a stir when he recently posted an article to his Facebook page referencing the “filthy" lifestyle of homosexuals. Agema praised the committee Friday for reaffirming its stance on marriage.

"I hope that we can all now move forward and talk about other issues now that we have reconfirmed that our party supports traditional marriage. We have won the battle, and I will have nothing more to say on this matter," Agema said in a statement.

The new resolutions also come as a pair of Senate Republicans have come out in recent weeks in favor of gay marriage. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois have been met with praise from gay-rights advocates, and less receptivity from some social conservatives, who say their views on marriage remain unchanged.

The committee adopted a handful of other resolutions Friday seeking to support other "core values" of its platform, promote synergy with conservative activists, and honor former Republican congressman Ron Paul of Texas.

Updated at 4:36 p.m.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Aaron Blake | April 12, 2013