In a surprise move, the Nevada Republican party voted to strip language from its party platform that opposed same-sex marriage and abortion. This is quite a stunning development.
Amid raucous debate, Nevada Republican Party conventioneers on Saturday stripped opposition to gay marriage and abortion from the party platform and endorsed Gov. Brian Sandoval for governor in the June 10 primary despite misgivings by conservatives, his criticism of the process and his absence from the meeting.
State party Chairman Michael McDonald said it was a successful convention at the end of the day.
“I think it was about inclusion, not exclusion,” McDonald said, referring to the platform. “This is where the party is going.”
Republicans who sat on the platform committee said they decided not to deal with social issues this year because the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have weighed in and it doesn’t make sense for the party of “personal freedom” to have the government or the political party get involved in people’s personal lives.
“The issue was how can we back out of people’s personal lives,” said Dave Hockaday of Lyon County, who sat on the platform committee. “We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact.”
Previously, the state party platform defined marriage as “between a man and a woman,” as does the Nevada Constitution. The past document also described the party as “pro-life,” or against abortion, a stance most Republicans still agree with.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in the Roe vs Wade case, legalized abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals might rule this year that Nevada’s marriage law is unconstitutional. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto recently said she could not defend the state law because of a 9th Circuit ruling in a separate case that said excluding gays from jury duty is unconstitutional discrimination. Sandoval agreed with her assessment despite his personal belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, he said.
It was not clear from the article whether this change was driven primarily by people who opposed the older policies or whether they still supported them but decided that it was better to be quiet about it, since the tide of public opinion is turning against them and may hurt their electoral chances.
Whatever the reason, this move is quite telling.