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Gay Rights Supplants Abortion as Major Platform Battle Gay Rights Supplants Abortion as Major Platform Battle

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Gay Rights Supplants Abortion as Major Platform Battle

Family Research Council Action, a leading crusader for social conservative values, is sounding the alarm: Support for gay marriage is creeping dangerously close to the Republican platform.

"Strong voices within the Republican Party would like nothing more than to change the official stance in regards to marriage between one man and one woman," warns a recent e-mail blast from the organization that rattles off a list of alleged heretics topped by former Vice President Dick Cheney and former first lady Laura Bush.

The e-mail promises that donations will be used to send reinforcements to the platform-committee meetings leading up to the Aug. 27 national convention in Tampa, Fla. "Someone has to keep an eye on them," the group avows.

At a time when virtually all Republican-leaning states have banned same-sex marriage, could the GOP be on the verge of embracing gay rights in its sacred platform? No chance. The Family Research Council e-mail is less smoke alarm and more fundraising ploy--as well as a kick in the pants to the conservative grassroots in an election year.

Yet platform battles, even when stirred up by special-interest groups, the opposition party, or the media, often mark important political and cultural mileposts. The dustup over gay marriage is no exception. With President Obama this year becoming the first chief executive to embrace the cause of same-sex marriage, the issue may be eclipsing abortion as the central front in the culture war. And that shift, inevitably, will reverberate through the platform discussions of both parties this year and beyond.

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