Group Aiming to Change GOP’s Anti-Gay-Marriage Platform Plank Expands

Nine months be­fore the GOP con­ven­tion in Clev­e­land, a well-fun­ded ef­fort to change the Re­pub­lic­an Party’s of­fi­cial op­pos­i­tion to gay mar­riage is get­ting big-money back­ing and vastly ex­pand­ing its scope, hope­ful that the Su­preme Court’s re­cent de­cision to leg­al­ize same-sex mar­riage will push con­ser­vat­ives to aban­don a plat­form plank they once em­braced eagerly.

Since April 2014, the group Young Con­ser­vat­ives for the Free­dom to Marry has tried to per­suade in­flu­en­tial Re­pub­lic­ans and po­ten­tial con­ven­tion del­eg­ates that they should re­move anti-gay-mar­riage lan­guage from the Re­pub­lic­an Party plat­form at next year’s GOP con­ven­tion. For the past year-and-a-half, that ef­fort—ran­ging from pub­lic ral­lies to me­dia in­ter­views to private con­ver­sa­tions—has been con­fined to early primary and caucus states, like Iowa and South Car­o­lina.

Now, the ef­fort will tar­get all 50 states, de­ploy­ing at least a dozen staffers to lead the charge that, boost­ers say, will help the GOP win the 2016 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. And the plat­form-chan­ging push has a new be­ne­fact­or: Amer­ic­an Unity Fund, a well-heeled group backed by hedge-fund bil­lion­aire Paul Sing­er, has agreed to un­der­write the op­er­a­tion. (Pre­vi­ously, Young Con­ser­vat­ives had been part of the group Free­dom to Marry, a pro-same-sex-mar­riage or­gan­iz­a­tion that is shut­ter­ing after the Su­preme Court’s de­cision this sum­mer.) Amer­ic­an Unity’s su­per PAC spent over $6.2 mil­lion in the 2014 elec­tion cycle.

“This is an im­port­ant cam­paign,” said Tyler Deaton, Amer­ic­an Unity Fund’s seni­or ad­viser. “We want to make sure it has a home and that it is able to ac­cess the broad­er re­sources of Amer­ic­an Unity Fund to make sure this ef­fort is well re­sourced and has the sup­port it needs.”

Deaton says he hopes that Re­pub­lic­ans will be more re­cept­ive to the en­deavor after the Court’s rul­ing. He and of­fi­cials from Young Con­ser­vat­ives have ar­gued that their en­deavor—which, im­port­antly, asks the party to go neut­ral rather than sup­port same-sex mar­riage—is ne­ces­sary to win over mod­er­ate and young voters, who polls show sup­port gay mar­riage at a high­er rate than the gen­er­al popu­lace.


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