By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In August, the Alabama Republican Party reaffirmed, in a resolution at the Alabama Republican Party Summer meeting, their opposition to both abortion and to gay marriage. A controversial proposal by social conservatives to remove any steering committee members who dissent from the platform however was defeated by the conservative Republican Executive Committee. Last Summer’s debate was spurred by Alabama Federation of College Republicans Chair Stephanie Petelos’ public dissent with the platform and Alabama Party leaders on the subject of gay marriage in comments to the Alabama Political Reporter.
Over the weekend, the issue reappeared when Republican Congressional candidate Matt Jenkins also sided with gay marriage advocates. Jenkins said on Facebook Sunday, “Back in September I promised “New Ideas for a New Generation”. Today I want to endorse same sex marriage. I promised I would uphold the US Constitution, and nowhere in there does it talk about marriage. It starts off WE THE PEOPLE. We the people means same sex marriage to all people if they desire. This issue should not be decide by courts or the Alabama Legislation, but by the people of Alabama.”
Reactions have been heated.
Local Tea Party organizer Ken Crow and others withdrew their support for Jenkins. Crow said on Facebook, “To the good people of Alabama; I had originally endorsed Mr. Matt Jenkins and was of the belief that he was a Tea Party type of candidate. Matt had filled out our vetting form at (www.teapartyreportcard.com) and seemed to pass muster. Due to this latest revelation that Matt seems to have had in his personal moral core belief, I am with drawing my endorsement of this candidate for United States House of Representatives. I simply cannot endorse nor believe in a candidate that sways this much on such a fundamentally Biblical teaching. We in the Tea Party are largely socially conservative and this position is totally counter to that position.”
The move by Jenkins is a blow to social conservatives. Many social conservatives feel that they are losing the culture war on issues like abortion, same sex marriage, etc. and are fearful of the Republican Party abandoning them as well.
Social conservative, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and 2012 Republican candidate for President Rick Santorum was recently booed at an event in New Hampshire after he stated his opposition to same sex marriage. Sen. Santorum said, “I believe we’re made that way. God made men and woman to keep civilization and provide the best environment to raise children. I have no problem if people want to have relationships, but marriage provides a good to society. It’s unique because it is the union that causes children to be raised.” Some in the party fear that the party’s strident positions on subjects like gay marriage is becoming a liability with a national electorate that appears to be increasingly liberal on social issues like homosexuality, marijuana legalization, and abortion.
Rep. Matt Jenkins is running against incumbent Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D) in Alabama’s Seventh Congressional district.