The D.C. Republican Committee adopted inclusive language in its platform with a vote Thursday, becoming the first GOP state party to take such a step.
The committee, which is the equivalent of a state party, made the change under the platform’s “Family and Marriage” heading, according to a news release from the D.C. chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, which supported the move.
“We, the Republicans of the District of Columbia support the belief that all individuals, without regard to sexual orientation, are entitled to full and equal protection under the laws and the Constitution and that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect,” says the new language.
The change arrives in advance of the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August, as the party grapples with profound advances in LGBT rights over the past four years, including the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the addition of marriage equality in five more states and the District of Columbia. Last month, the Republican Party of Texas approved an antigay platform that said homosexuality "tears at the fabric of society,” while the Oregon Republican Party recently removed language that condemned same-sex unions and gay parents. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, has expressed support for a federal constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.
Robert Turner II, president of the DC chapter of Log Cabin Republicans and a new DCRC member, hailed the platform language in a statement, although he said that advocates of the change “didn’t get the exact wording we had hoped for.”
“We are excited to be a part of a state party who understands that inclusion wins! Marriage equality is settled law here in the District,” he said. “All citizens, including LGBT citizens should be treated equally.”
Asked about the difference between the proposed language and the final outcome, Turner said in a telephone interview that he had asked the committee to adopt the phrase “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” but the party settled on “sexual orientation.”
“They didn’t want to delve too much into the details of each of the pillars of our community,” he said. “They just wanted to make a general statement.”
Turner said he did not interpret the move as a lack of support for bisexual and transgender people. He said that the new language represented a significant, if imperfect, advance, although it was too soon to tell what impact it could exert on the national Republican Party.
“I don’t even know that they are aware of it yet,” he said.