Arjun Singh on August 21, 2023
A new proposal currently under consideration by the California Republican Party does not include language opposing abortion and same-sex marriage in the party platform.
California, while heavily Democratic statewide, has several Republican members of Congress whose seats are critical to the GOP’s majority in the House of Representatives, according to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. In advance of the party’s convention on Sept. 29, the California Republican Party has proposed a party platform that excludes earlier language opposing abortion and same-sex marriage, which has alarmed some conservatives in the state, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
“We affirm … and support traditional family values,” reads the draft platform’s paragraph on family values, which was first published on Aug. 15. The paragraph excludes a phrase, “it is important to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman,” that was in the party’s last platform in 2015.
Additionally, under the party’s “Right to Life” paragraph, the party struck language that voiced opposition to federal legislation that would create a right to abortion nationwide, the LA Times reported. Instead, it merely states that “[w]e value protecting innocent life and want to see the number of abortions reduced. We support adoption as an alternative to abortion.”
“It’s the last thing the party needs,” said Jon Fleischman, the former executive director of the party, to the LA Times. “This will be extremely controversial and will take a convention that is supposed to be about unifying the party and instead it ends up becoming a big feud.”
However, Charles Moran, a gay man and national president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative pro-LGBTQ group, has said that removing the language is necessary to give the GOP “a fighting chance … [w]e need a party platform that empowers our candidates, not one that serves as an albatross around their neck,” according to the LA Times. Moran is a GOP delegate from Los Angeles to the convention and played a role in drafting the document.
Same-sex marriage and abortion have wide support in California, including among a majority of Republicans. 77% of California voters opposed the overturning of Roe v. Wade, including 59% of California GOP voters, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.
In 2022, California voted to adopt Proposition 1 — a referendum that enshrined abortion rights into the state constitution — by a two-thirds majority vote. In July, the state Senate voted to place another referendum, Proposition 8, on the ballot that would enshrine same-sex marriage rights into the state constitution, which is widely expected to pass by a large margin.
The California GOP is seeking to defend House seats it won in 2022’s midterm elections by close margins. Republican Rep. John Duarte of the 13th district in the San Francisco Bay Area was elected in 2022 by a margin of just 564 votes, with the district being rated D+4 by the Cook Political Report. McCarthy, in a conference call on Aug. 14, also highlighted Republican Reps. Mike Garcia and David Valadao as well as candidate Scott Baugh — who is running in the Orange County district being vacated by Democratic Rep. Katie Porter — as candidates who need to win.
The California Republican Party and candidates named in this story did not immediately respond to a request for comment.