Prominent conservatives fight Indiana GOP platform changes

Social conservatives are fighting proposed changes to the Indiana Republican Party's platform that would drop wording that specifically favors "marriage between a man and a woman."

The Republican Victory Committee, a group of elected officials and party activists, announced Monday it opposes changes friendly to same-sex couples and pushed by Gov. Eric Holcomb's hand-picked GOP chairman.

The group includes conservative attorney Jim Bopp, more than two dozen state lawmakers and U.S. Reps. Todd Rokita and Jim Banks, among others.

"It would be unfortunate if this misguided effort to distance ourselves from the Trump/Pence leadership was viewed as a slap in their face," the group wrote on a website it set up. "As a result, we hope that the current INGOP leadership will reconsider."

The Indiana Republican Party approves a platform every two years, with the latest update scheduled for a vote during the state GOP's convention that starts Friday in Evansville.

Republicans have gone back and forth on the issue in recent years. In 2012, language regarding gay marriage was removed, but when Vice President Mike Pence was governor it was put back in, and a resolutions committee in 2016 blocked an effort to strip the definition of marriage from the platform.

The platform currently states: "We believe that strong families, based on marriage between a man and a woman, are the foundation of society. We also recognize that some families are much more diverse and we support the blended families, grandparents, guardians and loving adults."

This year's draft, which the state party says was leaked by opponents of the change, affirms support for "traditional families with a mother and father." But it also calls for support to "blended families, grandparents, guardians, single parents and all loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day."

Last week, Micah Clark, executive director of the socially conservative American Family Association of Indiana, told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that's a "weak statement" that was "pure mush."

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer said developing the proposed changes took months.

"During the process we heard from folks who are good Republicans and feel they are raising strong families, but their family structure is not centered on a marriage between a man and a woman," Hupfer said in a statement. "At the same time, we heard that it was critical to continue to show support for marriage between a man and a woman. The language that was put forth by the Platform Committee attempted to hit both of those points."

But he added that it's not a done deal—and will still require a vote from delegates at the convention.

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