MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s Republican Party decided Saturday against a rule meant to silence a young party leader who supports gay marriage, even though the party doesn’t share her view.
Stephanie Petelos, chairman of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, created a furor in the party when she supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and said more young people would take the position if they didn’t fear a backlash from party leaders.
After passionate comments from both sides Saturday, the State Republican Executive Committee cast a lopsided voice vote to reject a proposed rule change aimed at Petelos’ remarks. It said that no member of the party’s steering committee may publicly oppose any resolution passed by the party’s executive committee. Petelos serves on the 21-member steering committee because of her College Republican position.
She said she hopes the vote inspires more young people to get involved in the party and make their voices heard. “I really hope this doesn’t scare or shy people away from the party,” the University of Alabama senior said.
The 450 members of the executive committee meet twice a year to set party policy. The 21-member steering committee is the party’s top committee and meets more often to handle administrative matters.