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Social Conservatives Warn RNC to Hold the Line on Gay Marriage

Image: Social Conservatives Warn RNC to Hold the Line on Gay Marriage Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

By Courtney Coren   |   Friday, 12 Apr 2013 12:21 PM

Leading social conservative organizations have sent a strong letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, warning that they could leave the party if it changes its position against same-sex marriage.

A copy of the letter from about a dozen organization heads was obtained by NBC News. It was sent to Priebus earlier this week ahead of the RNC's spring meeting in Los Angeles, where a number of rules and platform changes are being debated.

“We respectfully warn GOP Leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support,” they wrote. “We could not change that even if we wished to.”

The letter is a direct response to the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project report spearheaded by Priebus and released in March. It recommends changes the party should make if it hopes to attract more and new, younger voters in the 2016 presidential election. A number of GOP lawmakers have already reversed their long-held positions on gay marriage and other social issues, and Priebus' report recommends that the party move away from the uncompromising position that it has held on the issue.

“The Republican Party makes a huge historical mistake if it intends to dismantle this coalition by marginalizing social conservatives and avoiding the issues which attract and energize them by the millions,” they wrote. The groups called on the RNC to "pass a resolution reaffirming its support of the 2012 National GOP Platform adopted in Tampa.”

According to NBC, they argued that GOP would attract more minority voters, who tend to be social conservatives, by emphasizing the traditional values of the Republican Party rather than moving away from them.

“It is the faith-based community which offers Republicans their best hope of expanding their support in these groups,” the conservative leaders wrote.

The RNC rules committee voted on Wednesday to reaffirm the party's 2012 platform, including its stance against same-sex marriage. The full RNC membership still has to ratify that decision in another vote scheduled for Friday.

According to NBC, the signatories to the letter included: American Value President Gary Bauer; Family-Pac Federal Director Paul Caprio; Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser; Dr. James Dobson, president and founder of Family Talk Action; Traditional Values Coalition President Andrea Lafferty; CitizenLink Executive Director Tom Minnery; Religious Freedom Coalition Chairman William J. Murray; Family Research Council President Tony Perkins; Austin Ruse, President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute; Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly; the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition; and American Family Association President Tim Wildmon.

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