D.C. GOP Committeeman Robert Kabel
LOS ANGELES—When the National Republican Party took a voice vote to approve a resolution reasserting the party's opposition to same sex marriage, Robert Kabel, a gay committeeman from the District of Columbia who supports allowing same sex nuptials, didn't speak up. At least not loud enough for anyone to hear him.
Immediately after the vote at RNC's quarterly meeting here Friday, Chairman Reince Priebus declared that all 157 members present had supported the measure.
But despite the tally, which officially recorded the vote as unanimous, Kabel insists he dissented.
"I voted against the resolution. I did, it just wasn't very vocal," Kabel said after the meeting. "It's hard to hear in here."
Kabel, a lawyer and former leader of the Log Cabin Republicans, became the first gay local chairman within the Republican Party when he was elected to chair the D.C. GOP in 2004. Nearly a decade later, he is working quietly within the party to remove the traditional marriage clause from the official party platform, which passed at the Republican National Convention last August and won't be open for changes until the next convention in 2016.
At closed-door meetings with other members this week, Kabel voiced opposition to the party's decision to take a vote reaffirming the official position against same sex marriage. Members had introduced the measure in an effort to soothe tensions with social conservatives worried that the party may veer from its long-held position on the issue.
When time came for the full body to vote on it, party members decided to lump the resolution together with 11 others and vote on them as a whole. A handful of members, including Kabel, said they wanted to vote on the resolutions one at a time, but were overruled. When the time to vote arrived, no "nay" votes were heard.
So why didn't Kabel, who last month delivered a speech to thousands of pr0-same-sex marriage demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court advocating for legal same sex marriage, speak up?
"It's not my style," he said. "I prefer to do it one on one as opposed to grandstanding. I'm not into grandstanding."
Kabel said that there are "several" RNC members who support same sex marriage rights, but he wouldn't say how many within the party agree with him.
"It's gonna change faster among Republicans outside of the committee," he said. "It's a long process