Nevada GOP drops platform against marriage equality and abortion rights

Someone in the GOP is actually taking this rebranding thing seriously

Published April 14, 2014 1:28PM (EDT)

Members of the Nevada Republican Party voted Saturday to remove opposition to marriage equality and abortion rights from the official party platform, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I think it was about inclusion, not exclusion,” said a very sensible sounding state party chairman Michael McDonald. “This is where the party is going.”

More from the Review-Journal:

Republicans who sat on the 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 and it doesn’t make sense for the party of “personal freedom” to have the government or the political party get involved in people’s personal lives.

“The issue was how can we back out of people’s personal lives,” said Dave Hockaday of Lyon County, who sat on the platform committee. “We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact.”

Previously, the state party platform defined marriage as “between a man and a woman,” as does the Nevada Constitution. The past document also described the party as “pro-life,” or against abortion, a stance most Republicans still agree with.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in the Roe vs Wade case, legalized abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals might rule this year that Nevada’s marriage law is unconstitutional. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto recently said she could not defend the state law because of a 9th Circuit ruling in a separate case that said excluding gays from jury duty is unconstitutional discrimination.

The move comes after many in the party found the GOP's near singular focus on opposing LGBTQ rights and access to reproductive healthcare to be divisive -- and alienating to potential voters. “I believe it is divisive to the party,” argued Roger Stockton, who voted at the convention. “I believe it alienates people who are within the party. We have to be the big umbrella."

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Abortion Care Abortion Rights Equal Marriage Gay Rights Gop Lgbtq Rights Marriage Equality Nevada Republicans