There’s a Big GOP Convention Fight Brewing — And It Doesn’t Involve Trump

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The debate over who will be the GOP presidential nominee is not the only battle Republicans will face at their national convention this summer. A divisive fight is developing on whether or not to include the issue of gay marriage on the official party platform in 2016.

The issue of gay marriage has been a contentious one in 2016, and it is now an issue that splits the business and evangelical wings of the Republican Party. This fact has never been more evident, as behind the scenes top GOP donors are raising money and support to remove the issue of gay marriage from the party platform at the 2016 convention in July.

Paul Singer, billionaire hedge fund manager and founder of Elliot Management Corporation, founded the American Unity PAC in 2012 to back pro-gay marriage Republicans in congressional races. The PAC became a new way for donors looking to protect Republicans friendly to gay rights, serving as a countermeasure to anti-gay marriage groups such as the National Organization for Marriage.

Now with the American Unity Fund, the non-profit arm of the PAC, Singer and other powerhouse GOP donors are calling for the GOP to change its stance on marriage and other social issues that were a center of the party’s 2012 platform.

Social conservatives, however, are not ready to compromise.

Former presidential candidate and Governor Mike Huckabee responded to reports that some Republicans were lobbying for tolerance of gay marriage on the party’s 2016 platform, calling it disastrous.

“If the party makes a substantial change on issues like life or marriage, it will be disastrous because whatever they think they gain, they’re wrong,” Huckabee said earlier this week. “What they will lose is an absolute — I think a flood tide of people will just give up on the GOP and say they’re not different than the Democrats.”

Although the convention is still four months away, it’s becoming clearer that a floor flight is brewing on marriage, and the divisive issue will pit more moderate members of the party against its conservative base.

Stephen Brown works for the American Principles Project.