The Oregon GOP Gets (Almost) Rational | Editorial | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Opinion » Editorial

The Oregon GOP Gets (Almost) Rational

by

comment
In a month when Texas Gov. Rick "Hang 'Em High" Perry is winning applause at GOP presidential debates by talking about his 234 executions and how he'd like to abolish Social Security, it was some comfort to see the Oregon Republican Party take a step - even a tentative baby step - into the 21st

century.

Up until now, the Oregon GOP's official platform included language that condemned gay marriage and civil unions and implied that gay couples were unfit to bring up children. But at its state convention in Bend last weekend, the party - prompted by a coalition of young Turks led by Xander Almeida, 26, of Portland - voted to ditch the worst gay-bashing language.

The revised platform is hardly a ringing endorsement of progressive ideas about gay rights, marriage or reproductive freedom. It proclaims that "the traditional family is ordained by God our Creator and is the foundation of our society. A traditional family is formed through the marriage of one man and one woman. This ... environment is the optimum for raising children into responsible, self-sufficient, productive citizens" - apparently implying that kids raised by same-sex couples are destined to become crack-addicted welfare bums.


The "Family" section also declares that "marriage is between one man and one woman" (as does the Oregon Constitution, thanks to the passage of Measure 36 in 2004) and reiterates the party's opposition to abortion and assisted suicide, as well as to giving children sex education without parental consent.

Still, it's a huge improvement over the previous version, which declared: "We do not consider 'same sex marriage' to be 'marriage' nor 'civil unions' to have any equivalency nor right to legal standing. Nor do we believe 'same sex marriage' or 'civil unions' worthy of legal standing for adoption or parenting purposes."

The Republicans' decision to back off from their anti-gay position represents not a change of heart so much as a recognition of political realities in Oregon. The GOP has no statewide office-holders and hasn't won a statewide race since Sen. Gordon Smith was re-elected in 2002. Gay-bashing might arouse the mouth-breathing troglodyte wing of the state GOP, but it alienates too many of the moderate Republicans and independents the party needs to break its losing streak.

Also, as Almeida said, there's an inherent hypocrisy in a party that claims to be for small government wanting to mess around with people's sex lives. "If we want to do small government, shouldn't we get government out of the bedroom as well?" Almeida told The Oregonian.

Almeida's campaign to moderate the anti-gay language almost didn't succeed. It was rejected in caucus, and rescued only because party chairman and former gubernatorial candidate Allen Alley told Almeida to bring it up for a floor vote. Even then, it carried by a bare majority among the 230 delegates attending. Given that, there's always a chance the party will return to its gay-bashing ways next year.

But for now, we'll chalk up a small victory for common sense and rationality on the part of the Oregon GOP - and pass it THE GLASS SLIPPER.

Add a comment

More by The Source Staff