By a vote of 861 to 293, the Log Cabin Republicans, a group representing lesbian, bisexual, gay, and trangender (LGBT) Republicans, were approved as a charter organization of the California Republican Party (CRP) Sunday at the close of the weekend convention in Sacramento.
Great anticipation and contention preceded the controversial move, with a high level of attention focused on the moves of Party power players, and debate over rules violations and departures from Party platform issues.
Log Cabin Republicans of California addressed CRP Delegates, referring to their group as a “grassroots organization that has dedicated itself over the past three decades to electing Republicans to office,” in a letter passed out to attendees entering the general session.
The group noted that until now, it has been free to campaign for candidates that it supports without the official recognition that it sought and achieved Sunday.
The Log Cabin letter argued for delegates to “emphatically vote yes” to back their group, and added, “Log Cabin Republicans support the Party’s platform, and we support the Party’s mission.”
Those opposing the Log Cabin Republicans’ inclusion noted the CRP platform. One applicable portion of the California Republican Party reads, “We support the two-parent family as the best environment for raising children, and therefore believe that it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”
However, the Log Cabin Republicans stated, “A vote to charter the Log Cabin Republicans is in line with the Party’s Bylaws.”
Some individuals opposed to the Log Cabin Republicans handed out their own flyer to those entering the convention’s general session. It read, in part: “…according to CRP bylaws, the Party will only consider granting a charter to organizations ‘whose primary purpose is supporting and promoting Republican principles and platforms’ and the CRP ‘will not consider organizations based on special agendas, such as…Republicans for certain lifestyle preferences or orientations, Republicans for any personal agenda.”
The “Support the Platform” flyer added:, “The website for Log Cabin California boldly notes, ‘Log Cabin California is part of Log Cabin California is part of Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian Republicans.’”
Tense, yet orderly debate proceeded between California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove and State Party Chairman Jim Brulte over whether the consideration of chartering the group fell in line with the CRP bylaws. Grove stood firm in that the vote should not be allowed under current bylaws and that certain lifestyle stances of the Log Cabin group are inconsistent with the party platform.
As the session moved on, five speakers on each side of the issue were granted the opportunity to defend their positions.
The first speaker who argued in favor of chartering the Log Cabin group noted that the group had previously been told it must amend their bylaws in order to be chartered. He reported that the group had done so “painstakingly” over the past year in pursuit of their goal.
Speaking for upholding current status of the club and against the move to approve the Log Cabin group, California State Senator Mike Morrell (R-San Bernadino) cited Ronald Reagan, who said in 1976: “…we must not compromise on political principles for political expediency.”
Leading up to the vote, legislators, political leaders, activists and political power players could be heard around the convention promoting one position or the other. The Tea Party California Caucus called for a vote against chartering, texting members, “Tea Party CA Caucus does not support Log Cabin charter as it violates the party platform. We encourage delegates to vote NO.”
The night before the general session delegate vote, the Volunteer Organizations Committee “by a unanimous vote, recommends to the Committee issuance of a charter of the Log Cabin Republicans California.” In Assemblywoman Grove’s speech she noted that she and others were not permitted entry into that meeting to speak. The reason given was space limitation in the room. Reports from convention attendees indicate a powerful California political operative used financial influence to sway the results of the vote.
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