Alabama GOP Rejects Punitive Action Against College Republican Over Same-Sex Marriage
As I noted last week, the Alabama Republican Party was set this weekend to consider a measure that was meant to serve as punishment against the head of the Alabama College Republicans for her public support of same-sex marriage. In a display of sanity, though, that measure has failed:
MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Alabama Republicans this morning overwhelmingly rejected an effort to silence, or oust, a college Republican over comments she made about gay marriage.
The party’s Executive Committee voted down a proposed rule change that said no member of the party’s steering committee could publicly oppose a resolution adopted by the party’s executive committee.
The vote came after the president of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, Stephanie Petelos, upset some Republicans when she made remarks critical of the party’s staunch position on gay marriage.
Petelos is a member of the steering committee because of her position. She told al.com in June that more young Republicans would likely speak out in favor of gay marriage if they “didn’t live in fear of backlash from party leaders.
The motion died on a lopsided voice vote after a passionate debate that highlighted some of the party’s divides.
Committee member Clay Barclay of Mobile said it doesn’t hurt to have differing opinions on some issues. “We’re not the Taliban. We’re not the Third Reich,”
Alabama Republican Minority chairman Phillip Brown said, “It’s not about whether we support traditional heterosexual traditional marriage or not.
“It’s about free speech.”
Brown suggested the issue was about control of the powerful steering committee.
“I’m appalled at the extent our chairman will go to ensure no one opposes him on the steering committee,” Brown said.
Alabama Republican Bill Armistead said after the meeting that the accusation was “ridiculous.”
“Everybody on the steering committee knows that’s not true,” Armistead said.
Armistead said he did not make public his thoughts on the proposal.
Petelos said she was nervous going into the day but was relieved at the outcome.
“I’ve been really happy with all the support that I’ve received. I’ve received a lot of support from literally all over the country,” Petelos said.
“I hope that this more so inspires young people to want to get involved and have their voices heard. I really hope this doesn’t scare or shy people away from the party,” Petelos said.
Say what you will about the GOP, but this is one small positive sign in an otherwise bleak world.