Emotional GOP Delegate Makes Plea for Neutrality on Same-Sex Marriage

GOP delegate from Washington, D.C., comes out, calls for platform change.

— -- An emotional moment gripped the GOP platform committee's deliberations last night when a delegate from Washington, D.C., came out in a passionate plea on same-sex marriage.

Rachel Hoff, a defense lobbyist for a center-right policy center, became the first openly gay member of the Republican platform committee, calling for the GOP to take a neutral position on the issue.

"We are your daughters," she said, choking back tears. "We are your sons, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues, the couple that sits next to you in church."

Hoff's proposal would have put the GOP on neutral ground on same-sex marriage, acknowledging "diverse and sincerely held views" in the Republican Party, encouraging the "stability of all families" and welcoming "a thoughtful conversation" around marriage.

But it took less than two minutes for the GOP platform panel to reject what would have been a major policy change, after one member quickly called for a vote. Roughly 20 of the 112 members on the panel voted in favor of the change.

"In high school I chose to be a Republican. My parents weren't Republicans, so I wasn't born this way," Hoff quipped. "If our party wants a future, we should be mindful of these statistics, and we must evolve."

Her proposed change would have been a dramatic shift for the party, whose current draft platform defines marriage "as the union of one man and one woman" and calls for a reversal of the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

The proposal came immediately after a tense moment between a Virginia delegate and New York delegate Annie Dickerson. Dickerson had labeled proposed language around same-sex marriage "blatant discrimination" in a floor speech.

"I really don't like the lady from New York implying that we are bigots because we don't agree with her view," the Virginia delegate returned.

"I did not use that language, sir," Dickerson interrupted.

Dozens of proposed amendments over the course of the day focused on social issues like same-sex marriage and transgender people's access to bathrooms.