As moderate Republicans push the party to put social issues on the backburner, conservative activists are pushing the GOP to affirm its opposition to same-sex marriage.
The issue will likely come to a head at the Spring Meeting of the Republican National Committee in Los Angeles next month. A source in the RNC tells Business Insider that members of the Resolutions Committee plan to introduce a resolution at the meeting to affirm the party's opposition to same-sex marriage — a move that would require party leaders to publicly stake out their positions on the marriage issue.
While the party's official position on same-sex marriage has not changed — the platform voted on at last year's convention defines marriage as "the union of one man and one woman" — the source said that a resolution would dispel the "media perception" that Republicans have shifted their stance on the issue.
That perception has been fueled by recent statements from Republican Establishment leaders coming out in support of gay marriage, as well as by the RNC's 2012 autopsy report, which recommended Republicans sideline social issues in order to appeal to a wider swath of voters, including those in the LGBT community.
And while RNC Chair Reince Priebus has stopped short of endorsing gay marriage, he has begun to tiptoe around the issue in the wake of the report's release last week.
"The chairman has been very clear that the Republican platform position is that marriage is between one man and one woman," RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a statement to Business Insider. "The chairman also believes we need to be more welcoming toward people who are good conservatives but may disagree with us on some issues and that we as a party should treat every American with dignity and respect."
The proposed "traditional marriage" resolution would undoubtedly undermine that goal, underscoring the growing conflict between moderate Republican donors and consultants and conservative activists, who represent the GOP's most enthusiastic voters and volunteers.
Those tensions have come to the forefront this week, as the Supreme Court hears arguments in two landmark cases on gay marriage. Conservative operatives and evangelical leaders told Business Insider Tuesday that a ruling in favor of gay marriage would galvanize conservative voters, turning it into a defining issue in the 2016 Republican primary.
Meanwhile, GOP fundraising guru Karl Rove said Sunday that he can imagine Republicans electing a presidential candidate who supports gay marriage.
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