Nevada's Republican Party decided to exclude language regarding hot-button social issues, such as same-sex marriage and abortion, from their official political platform at their national meeting in Las Vegas this past weekend.
Members of the Republican platform committee said at the convention that they chose to eliminate gay marriage and abortion from their party's statement to agree with recent court rulings, both at the Supreme Court level and lower court levels, that found same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled in June to eliminate a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and judges in several states, including Utah and Oklahoma, have ruled statewide same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional.
Nevada's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage was upheld by a federal judge in 2012, and the ban is currently being challenged in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The decision to remove the social issues from the party platform was voted on by a show of hands at the convention. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the vote occurred later in the evening, when less than half of the convention's 520 delegates were in attendance.
The platform committee also said eliminating such social issues played into the conservative value of small government.
"The issue was how can we back out of people's personal lives," Dave Hockaday, a member of the platform committee, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal over the weekend. "We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact."
Some members of the Nevada Republican Party fought against the change, arguing that excluding such language from the party's statement would only further alienate socially conservative voters. "You don't build the party by throwing out your base. If you throw out the tea party, the evangelicals, the Mormons, the Ron Paul-ites, who in the heck is left?" questioned Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R-Washoe) at a separate GOP convention held earlier this year.
The decision to remove the two hot-button social issues from its statewide platform came after the GOP leaders of Clark County implemented similar changes to their party's statement. Nick Phillips, the political director of the Clark County Republican Party, told The Associated Press that the group's policy change was partly an attempt to attract a wider base, including younger generations of voters.
"Younger people believe they're getting screwed by the Democrats on fiscal issues, and screwed by Republicans on social issues," Phillips told AP. "Take that away and you've got a party you can get behind."