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Oregon GOP Removes Anti-Gay Language From Party Platform

Jim Burroway

September 13th, 2011

The Oregonian reports that the state’s Republicans, who have seen their fortunes in the state slide in recent years, have removed several anti-gay planks from the party’s platform:

Wording that essentially condemned same-sex marriage and civil unions, and that stated such couples were unfit to be parents, was removed from the official party platform during a weekend convention in Bend.  “We want the public to take another look at the Republican Party and our policies,” said Greg Leo, spokesman for the state party. “It’s fair to say we’re more centrist.”

The once-dominant party has faded in Oregon. Democrats hold every statewide office and no Republican has been elected governor since 1987. The one bright spot is the Oregon House, where Republicans managed a 30-30 split with Democrats last election.

Part of the problem the Oregon GOP faced in the late 1980s is that the party became too closely associated with extremists Christian groups, most notably the Oregon Citizens Alliance, which was headed by Lon Mabon and is where Scott Lively first came into prominence. Oregon’s notorious Measure 9, which would have amended the state constitution to bar the state from using “monies or properties to promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality, pedophilia, sadism or masochism,” proved a significant turning point. It was then that Lively first put forward the historical fiction that the Nazi party was a homosexual organization and that violent fascism is the inevitable result of gay rights. Measure 9 went down in defeat in 1992 due largely to the outrageous rhetoric from the OCA and Lively. The OCA was soon disbanded amid controversy and financial irregularities and Lively fled to California to pick up his anti-gay work again in Sacramento and Temecula. Meanwhile, the GOP, which had been among the earliest state parties to align themselves to the Christian Right, have struggled to recover from that close association.

Today, the state GOP is turning over a new leaf, largely on the strength of younger members. The latest changes were pushed through by 26-year-old Xander Almedia, described as a former College Republican president at Portland State University and now a Portland vaudevillian who works with a local band:

(Alemdia) said, “a lot of younger Republicans don’t feel as though this kind of rhetoric has any place in a small government agenda. If we want to do small government, shouldn’t we get government out of the bedroom as well?”

Language supporting marriage as between one man and one woman remains intact in the party’s platform, but that merely comports with Oregon’s constitution, he said. The national Republican Party platform contains a section that strongly supports traditional marriage and calls for a constitutional amendment that would prevent states from adopting other legal arrangements.

The Oregon GOP change “makes a strong statement,” said James Moore, political analyst at Pacific University. “The statement that it makes is they have seen the social conservative platform hasn’t really gained them many new voters.”

Comments

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Rob
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

Too little too late. I doubt that the voters in Oregon will forget what the GOP actually stands for, even if they no longer display it.

Zach
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

I agree with Rob. The stain of Republican homophobia won’t come out easily.

John
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

Where’s the Tea Party in all of this? Can’t imagine they support removing anti-gay language from their platform.

customartist
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

O Gee? The GOP wants us to “take a fresh look”. How nice!

“Lookie – we’ve changed!”

Which one of the current Presidential contenders might I ask is the Oregon GOP supporting?

They want to fool us into giving money to the OREGON GOP, so that they can then turn around and give it to the National GOP Campaign, Which by the way has not changed their hateful policies one stinkin’ iota.

They won’t even let Fred Carger in even though he met all the criteria, and That’s a prime example of how the GOP treats Gays.

It’s not the PROMISES that matter, it’s their VOTING RECORD. How’s that go now?

Republican promises are worthless! Remember Bush saying “No preemptive invaisions”?

customartist
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

^ Sorry ^ “Karger”

Norm!
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

A vaudevillian Republican seems almost as unlikely as a gay Republican. :)

The amended platform still discriminates against gay families and sounds far from inclusive or modern:

“…Family: The Oregon Republican Party believes that the traditional family is ordained by God our Creator and is the foundation of our society. A traditional family is formed through the marriage of one man and one woman. This is [sic] environment is the optimum for raising children into responsible, self-sufficient, productive citizens…”

TomTallis
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

They left in the “one man, one woman” language which cancels out the rest. When they come out wholeheartedly for equal marriage, then we can talk, until then they’re still the Party of Hate.

AJD
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

Plastic surgery can hide scars, but it won’t erase what caused them.

I agree with TomTallis: When they support marriage equality, then I’ll take this seriously. Given the history of the Oregon GOP, its continuing opposition to marriage equality and the fact that the GOP base remains overwhelmingly anti-gay, this has about as much credibility as “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

Diogenes
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

“the traditional family is ordained by God our Creator and is the foundation of our society. A traditional family is formed through the marriage of one man and one woman. This is [sic] environment is the optimum for raising children into responsible, self-sufficient, productive citizens…”

Funny I don’t see any mention of monogamy, or condeming adultery, or eliminating divorce, or addressing the issue of family child abuse! People who live in glass houses are in no position throw stones at others!

g_whiz
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

Yeah, AFTER all the damage has been done and your team is poised to look like the social dinosaur it happens to be… you want to recant and turn over a new leaf? Both you and Ken Melhman can take your new leaf and use your imaginations about its creative use. The Republican party has a lot of re-branding to do before the toxicity of their anti-gay platform goes away. The damage has already been done.

JohnAGJ
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

It’s a start.

For Oregonian Republicans at least.

When I see the same happen in Virginia I’ll start paying closer attention.

Until then…

Timothy Kincaid
September 13th, 2011 | LINK

I demand you change your horrible rhetoric and get rid of your homophobic policies!!!!

Oh, ya know, they really are kinda bad. Okay, we’ll change.

It’s TOO LATE. I will never forgive you for having had horrible rhetoric and homophobic policies!!!!

Care for some grapes? They’re sour.

Lucrece
September 14th, 2011 | LINK

Except the changed policy still allows for a heterosexist definition of marriage, because it’s “cpnsistent” with the constitution the same GOP campaigned to amend.

Talk about dishonesty. They’re not changing their tune. They’re scrubbing the bile so that when most of their own still continue to enshrine prejudice, the GOP doesn’t suffer an image problem by being able to claim that those who do are rogue elements.

It’ll be generations before the GOP is ever cured of any ill will against gay people.

BlackDog
September 14th, 2011 | LINK

“The Oregon Republican Party believes that the traditional family is ordained by God our Creator and is the foundation of our society.”

More to the point, what the hell is any mention of God or religion doing in the platform of a secular political party is a pluralistic democracy…and that in one of the less religious states. I know for a fact it’s a lot worse in Texas.

Good Gods, people should quit treating their personal religious beliefs as facts that apply to everyone, they don’t.

Theo
September 14th, 2011 | LINK

At one time, Lon Mabon was a truly frightening figure. He was obsessively focused on gays and his referenda efforts from 1990-2000 were almost exclusively focused on homosexuality. After Measure 9 was defeated, his influence grew and he formed “citizens alliance” groups in ID, WA and NV.

In 1994, he successfully put clones of Colorado’s Amendment 2 on the ballot in OR and ID. This was a much greater threat as the language of these referenda was much less incendiary than that of Measure 9, but the consequences of passage could have been dire. Amazingly, our side managed to defeat the OR measure by 52-48 and the ID measure by 51-49. Why did Idahoans defeat the measure, you may ask. Well, it seems that Mabon and his allies were anti-Mormon, and so Idaho LDS members did a one-time good deed and voted no.

It is hard to believe that he has all but disappeared. You can’t find anything recent on him on Google

Samiimas42
September 15th, 2011 | LINK

Care for some grapes? They’re sour.

Care to keep up these pathetic attempts to defend a group that doesn’t think we deserve equal rights?

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