Republican Party on Civil Rights

Party Platform


Remove Rep. from committees for "white supremacist" comments

Republican leaders have stripped Rep. Steve King (R-IA) of all of his committee assignments for the current Congress following a new wave of outcry over the lawmaker's vast history of white supremacist viewpoints and racist rhetoric. "We will not be seating Steve King on any committees in the 116th Congress," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said after a meeting of the GOP Steering Committee. The decision was unanimous.

"I think we spoke loud and clear that we will not tolerate this in the Republican Party," McCarthy added. "That is not the America I know, and it's most definitely not the party of Lincoln."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also denounced King, saying his statements were "unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position." McConnell added, "If he doesn't understand why 'white supremacy' is offensive, he should find another line of work."

King held seats on the House committees on agriculture, the judiciary and small business.

Source: Huffington Post, "Committees", on 2019 IA-4 House incumbent , Jan 14, 2019

Define marriage as one natural man and one natural woman

The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2009 that same-sex marriage must be legally recognized in a decision that made Iowa one of the first states in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

1,800 delegates to the Republican Party of Iowa's state convention are preparing to meet in Des Moines. The convention's proposed platform includes two planks in opposition to same-sex marriage.

  1. "We believe that traditional two parent (one male and one female), marriage-based families are the foundation to a stable, enduring, and healthy civilization. Therefore, public policy must always be pro-family in nature, encouraging marital and family commitment, and support of the parental rights and responsibilities."
  2. "We encourage the repeal of any laws allowing marriage that is not between one natural man and one natural woman."
Source: Des Moines Register on 2018 Iowa gubernatorial race , Jun 12, 2018

Constitutionally define marriage as one man & one woman

Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. The current Administration's open defiance of this constitutional principle--in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts--makes a mockery of the President's inaugural oath. We commend the United States House of Representatives and State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.
Source: 2012 Republican Party Platform , Aug 27, 2012

2006: Federalize gay marriage via Constitutional Amendment

Republicans wanted gay marriage in the national political dialogue that fall, too, but there was a problem. The 50 states owned the issue. How could we in Congress claim jurisdiction? The leadership came up with the radical idea of transforming a legislative state issue into a constitutional federal issue. We would propose a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, one that would ban states from enacting their own social compacts on the issue.

Republicans are generally seen as the party that favors independence at the state level. But now we wanted to amend the US Constitution to forbid any state to allow gays to marry. Congress itself would not ban gay marriage; but the amendment would prevent liberal states from recognizing gay couples as married, even if most citizens in that state wanted such a law enacted. Democracy might be everything in Iraq, but we were declaring an urgent need to rein it in here at home.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p.181 , Apr 1, 2008

2005: Southern Strategy was wrong; move to Hispanic Strategy

In 2005, Republican Party chairman Ken Mehlman went to the NAACP national convention, to apologize for a Southern Strategy that had given the GOP five victories in six presidential contests and brought the party to national power: "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

"We have now moved from the Southern strategy we pursued for the last 3 decades, since Richard Nixon, to a Hispanic strategy for the next three decades," a Republican pollster commented in 2000.

Source: State of Emergency, by Pat Buchanan, p. 54 , Oct 2, 2007

Marriage is legal union of one man and one woman

The Republican Party platform is clear. We believe "marriage" is the legal union of one man and one woman. Americans want to see changes in our tax code, changes in our schools, and changes in our health care system, but there is no public clamor to change the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. In fact, polls consistently show that 2 out of every 3 Americans oppose recognizing same-sex marriage.

We cannot allow tolerance to be redefined as having to agree with one another on every issue. The 86 senators who voted in 1996 to allow states to decide for themselves whether they will recognize gay marriage rather than having that decision imposed upon them by another state's activist supreme court are not "gay bashers."

Source: Winning Right, by Ed Gillespie, p.249 , Sep 5, 2006

The Patriot Act is used to track terrorist activity

The Patriot Act is being used to track terrorist activity and to break up terror cells. Now, the FBI can use tools that have been long available to fight organized crime and drug trafficking, but could not be used in the past to fight terrorism. Intelligence and law enforcement officials are sharing information as never before.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 4 , Sep 7, 2004

Homosexuality is incompatible with military service

We affirm traditional military culture, and we affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 18 , Sep 7, 2004

Support the advancement of women in the military

We support the advancement of women in the military, support their exemption from ground combat units, and support the implementation of the recommendations of the Kassebaum Commission, which unanimously recommended that co-ed basic training be ended.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 18 , Sep 7, 2004

States should not recognize gay marriage from other states

After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization, the union of a man and a woman in marriage. Attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country, and anything less than a Constitutional amendment, passed by the Congress and ratified by the states, is vulnerable to being overturned by activist judges. On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard. The Constitutional amendment process guarantees that the final decision will rest with the American people and their elected representatives. President Bush will also vigorously defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which was supported by both parties and passed by 85 votes in the Senate. This common sense law reaffirms the right of states not to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 85 , Sep 1, 2004

Affirmative Access, without preferences or set-asides

Republicans favor aggressive, proactive measures to ensure that no individual is discriminated against on the basis of race, national origin, gender, or other characteristics covered by our civil rights laws. We also favor recruitment and outreach policies that cast the widest possible net so that the best qualified individuals are encouraged to apply for jobs, contracts, and university admissions. We believe in the principle of affirmative access-taking steps to ensure that disadvantaged individuals of all colors and ethnic backgrounds have the opportunity to compete economically. We support a reasonable approach to Title IX that seeks to expand opportunities for women without adversely affecting men’s athletics. Because we are opposed to discrimination, we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides based on skin color, ethnicity, or gender, which perpetuate divisions and can lead people to question the accomplishments of successful minorities and women.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 76-77 , Sep 1, 2004

Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage

We strongly support a Constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage, and we [oppose] forcing states to recognize other living arrangements as equivalent to marriage. The well-being of children is best accomplished [when] nurtured by their mother & father anchored by the bonds of marriage. We believe that legal recognition and the accompanying benefits afforded couples should be preserved for that unique and special union of one man and one woman which has historically been called marriage.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 85 , Sep 1, 2004

Strong support for traditional definition of marriage

We support the traditional definition of “marriage” as the legal union of one man and one woman, and we believe that federal judges and bureaucrats should not force states to recognize other living arrangements as marriages. We do not believe sexual preference should be given special legal protection or standing in law.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention , Aug 12, 2000

Let Boy Scouts exercise free speech (ok to ban gays)

While the Constitution guards against state-sponsored religion, it honors the free exercise of religion. We will not allow government to ban religious symbols from the workplace. We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association and stand united with private organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America. We believe religious institutions should not be taxed. When government funds privately-operated programs, it must not discriminate against faith-based organizations.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention , Aug 12, 2000

Women exempt from combat; “candid analysis” of military gays

We support the advancement of women in the military, support their exemption from ground combat units, and call for co-ed basic training to be ended. We support restoration of sound priorities in the making of personnel policies, and candid analysis of the consequences of unprecedented social changes in the military. We will put renewed emphasis on encouraging the best and brightest of our young people to join our armed forces.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention , Aug 12, 2000

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Page last updated: Feb 24, 2022