Faced with a collapsing state party, with fewer and fewer Californian's identifying with the GOP, the California Republican Party voted on Saturday to recognize the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay conservative organization.
According to the L.A. Times, the 38-year-old organization representing gay conservatives was formally welcomed by a 861-293 vote at the party’s biannual convention in Sacramento.
For Brandon Gesecki, a delegate from Carmel, the vote represents a sea-change in the state party's thinking.
“It would have been the complete opposite 15 years ago,” Gesecki explained. “The fringe does not control the party anymore. We truly are a big tent once again.”
Fifteen years ago, 35 percent of registered California voters called themselves Republican. Today, only 28 percent ally with the party in a state where the Democrats hold a supermajority in the legislature and Republicans hold no statewide offices.
Log Cabin members were thrilled to finally be accepted by the state party, with Chairman Charles Moran saying, “I’m personally overwhelmed. This is the culmination of a 15-year journey for me.”
Despite the overwhelming vote in favor of the group, not all Republican activists are pleased with outcome.
“People supported the Republican Party because they’re strong on family values,” said Andrew Levy, adding that the inclusiveness undermines the trust he has in the party.
Karen England, executive director of the socially conservative Capitol Resource Institute, compared the leadership allowing the vote to an "Obama-like" executive order maneuver.
“They snuck this meeting in, and they are sneaking it on the floor…. They have not let the public or delegates know this is going on,” she said.
According to the Times, some members grew testy during the vote, forcing state party chairman Jim Brulte to tell the crowd, “Everyone take a deep breath.”