Draft language for RNC platform limits marriage

Editor's note: This post has been updated. See below for the Young Conservatives for Freedom to Marry's official response to the proposed RNC platform.

As the Republican National Convention released its draft platform language on Monday, Freedom to Marry strongly criticized elements of the draft that criticized the courts and President Obama for standing with the majority of Americans who support marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Buzzfeed reports that the draft attacks the Obama Adminstration for refusing to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. The draft ridicules the more than 8 federal courts that have similarly found DOMA to be unconstitutional. It also goes on to advocate for the continued exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage:

"[W]e believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage." 

Our Founder and President Evan Wolfson expressed his disappointment in the platform draft in a statement released last night:

“With a growing majority of Americans, a substantial majority of independents, and a super-majority of young people across the spectrum supporting the freedom to marry for all committed couples, it’s sad to see the Republican Party so out of touch. A party that proclaims its belief in freedom, limited government, and personal responsibility should not be doubling down against couples seeking to share in the commitment of marriage and the birthright of liberty and justice for all.”  

Anti-gay language in the Republican platform comes exactly one week after the Democratic Party Platform Committee unanimously approved a platform plank supporting the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. Last week's announcement followed Freedom to Marry's Democrats: Say I Do campaign, which mobilized 44,000+ Americans, 22 Democratic Senators, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the chair of the Democratic National Convention -- among others -- to call on the DNC to support a pro-marriage plank.

Late last week, members of the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry leadership committee sent a letter to the Republican Party platform committee, urging them to exclude any anti-gay language that would limit the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The letter pointed out that support for marriage is on the rise, particularly among young Republicans. A May 2012 Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that nearly 46% of self-identified Republicans aged 18-44 support marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Click here to learn more about how Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry is growing and highlighting support for marriage among young conservatives across the country.

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UPDATED: 08/21/12 at 4:40pm

This afternoon, the leadership committee of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry responded to the anti-marriage language contained in the RNC's draft platform. The full release can be found here.

“As conservatives supporting the freedom to marry, we understand there are divergent opinions on marriage among conservatives and within the Republican Party. Even so, there are a number of things we all agree on.

"We all share the belief that the 'institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society' and that its 'success as an institution will determine our success as a nation.'

"We also share the belief that the 'success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals,' that it 'affects freedoms,' and that the 'lack of family formation leads to more government costs' and 'more government control over the lives of its citizens in all facets.'

“Given these shared beliefs about marriage, we are very disappointed the Republican platform includes specific language that opposes marriage for same-sex couples.

"Despite that disappointment, we are undeterred and will continue to fight for all Americans to 'be treated with respect and dignity.' We will continue to engage our fellow conservatives in discussions about marriage and encourage them to extend that 'respect and dignity' to everyone, including same-sex couples. And we will continue to encourage our fellow conservatives to support the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

"As conservatives, we believe that the freedom to marry is directly in line with the core ideals and principles of the Republican Party - less government, more individual freedom, personal responsibility and the importance of family.

"Personal freedom is the foundation of the Republican Party, which, as the party of Lincoln, has a proud tradition of expanding liberties.

"It is that legacy that we hope Republicans will continue to build upon long into the future."