Doctrinal Discipline

Alabama GOP Wants To Purge Young Republican Leader Who Is OK With Marriage Equality

There are so few young Republicans these days, you’d think the party would treat them like gold. Not in Alabama, though. The party is about to change its bylaws so that any deviation from the party platform on marriage equality is cause for execution–oops, expulsion.

The intraparty inquisition has come about because Stephanie Petelos, chair of the College Republicans Federation of Alabama, has the temerity to suggest in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA that the decision might not bother young conservatives. She also liked a Facebook page for Young  Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry.

“The majority of students don’t derive the premise of their argument for or against gay marriage from religion, because we’re governed by the constitution and not the Bible,” Petelos said.  Petelos added that many young conservatives who support marriage equality are afraid to speak up “if they didn’t live in fear of backlash from party leaders.”

Just to prove Petelos’ point for her, state party chair  Bill Armistead said that Petelo’s comments were “an affront to the Christian principles that this nation was founded on.” Not surprisingly, state party steering committee member Bonnie Sachs has proposed changing the rules regarding membership on the committee to ban anyone who deviates from doctrine outlined in the national party platform. The immediate impact of the rule change would be to remove Petelos’ from the committee.

Just two months ago, the College Republican National Committee warned that the party’s antigay rhetoric was alienating young voters. And that was just voters the party was trying to attract. Purging committed members in its own ranks is slow suicide. It also proves once again that for the rank and file, the GOP is not a political party. It’s a religion. Disagree with tenets of faith, and you are excommunicated.