The Nevada Republican Party is defending its decision to remove anti-gay and anti-abortion language from its state platform, saying that the exclusions doesn't mean the party is "for" either issue.
Members of the delegation, meeting with other party members at the Republican National Convention's meeting in Memphis, rebuked Oklahoma Republican National Committee member Carolyn McLarty, who questioned Nevada Republicans' loyalty to the national party's goals in an email, reports The Washington Times
In an email to the RNC, Nevada's delegation said that removing the planks "recognizes the inappropriateness of the existence of these planks in our platform in the first place."
In April, Nevada Republicans who sat on the party's 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. Further, delegates determined that it didn't make sense for the party that champions personal freedom to have the government be involved in people's personal lives.
"The issue was how can we back out of people’s personal lives," Dave Hockaday, who sat on the platform committee, told The Las Vegas Review-Journal
. "We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact."
Before the change, Nevada's state party platform defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman, reflecting the Nevada Constitution.
McLarty has accused Nevada's actions of being "symptoms of the infiltration of the Republican Party by those who really want to destroy it."
Further, McLarty said Nevada's removal of anti-abortion language was an "attack on God and family," which Nevada's delegation found insulting.
“We are insulted by this accusation. Most of our delegates have deep spiritual beliefs,” the delegation said in its email to the RNC.
Nevada says it shortened its platform to benefit voters and candidates, but Arizona RNC member Bruce Ash said he questions the state party's strategy in picking the party's two most divisive issues to eliminate.
But former RNC General Counsel David Norcross said the national party should stay out of disputes between the states.
"The position of the Nevada Republican Party does not impact Oklahoma and neither the Committeewoman nor the RNC have any governance over the will of the Nevada delegation when it comes to the content of the Nevada state platform," said Norcross.
The Nevada delegation pointed out in its response that its state is home to many diverse people, including a large gay or transgendered population.
"The GOP is by definition a party of inclusion not exclusion," Nevada's response said. "If we as a political party continue to exclude Americans that agree with our core principles of freedom and limited government, how can we expect to attract new candidates or continue to get quality Republican candidates elected?"
Further, the response said, "excluding an entire group of American citizens based solely on their sexual preference toward the same gender is not only divisive but in the 21st century it is unacceptable."
Nevada wants to lead a charge that is shared by most Americans, including the "new generation of voters that is looking to us for leadership on the issue of limited government and personal freedom," said the email. "We as Republicans can choose to become more relevant to this generation of new voters or we can continue down a path of exclusion and continue to lose elections as a result."
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