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GOP softens pro-marriage language in 2024 platform

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CNA Staff, Jul 9, 2024 / 11:45 am (CNA).

The Republican Party’s 2024 platform has notably softened the party’s stance on marriage, pulling back from earlier language that affirmed the traditional definition of marriage and denounced the Supreme Court’s earlier rulings on the matter.

In its 2016 platform, the GOP had defended “traditional marriage and family,” which it said was “based on marriage between one man and one woman” and constituted the “foundation for a free society.”

The 2016 platform directly criticized the 2013 Supreme Court ruling on United States v. Windsor, which said that the federal government could not treat state-sanctioned same-sex “marriages” differently from traditional heterosexual marriages. 

The platform also condemned the landmark 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriages throughout the U.S. The Obergefell ruling “robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” the party said.

The Republican Party did not release an updated platform in 2020. However, in its 2024 platform, the GOP significantly dialed back its language on marriage, remarking on it only briefly while vowing to “empower American families.”

“Republicans will promote a culture that values the sanctity of marriage, the blessings of childhood, the foundational role of families, and supports working parents,” the platform says. “We will end policies that punish families.”

The GOP’s 2024 platform is largely seen as being heavily guided by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. CBS News referred to the document as “Trump-influenced,” while NPR said the platform “follows Trump’s lead.”

Trump has given conflicting answers on same-sex marriage in the past, though in 2016 he said he was “fine” with the Supreme Court’s ruling on that policy, and in 2019 one of his advisors reaffirmed his acceptance of “gay marriage.”

The GOP platform has softened in other ways since 2016. The 2024 Republican National Convention’s platform committee also moved this week to adopt new language regarding abortion, removing from the platform a “right to life” plank as well as a call for a national law protecting unborn life.

Previous versions of the document said that unborn children have a “fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed” and called for a constitutional amendment to guarantee that right. 

But this year’s platform uses much more moderate language and emphasizes the role of states in protecting life.

“We proudly stand for families and life,” the new document reads. “We believe that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no person can be denied life or liberty without due process and that the states are, therefore, free to pass laws protecting those rights.”


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