‘Inclusive’ Resolution Vote Inconclusive During Massachusetts Republican Party State Committee Meeting

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/06/10/inclusive-resolution-vote-inconclusive-during-massachusetts-republican-party-state-committee-meeting/

The Massachusetts Republican Party’s state committee has approved a version of a resolution designed to affirm acceptance of homosexuals in the party but is still wrangling over portions of it.

The State Republican Committee met in person Wednesday night for the first time since the coronavirus emergency began. Committee members approved several resolutions, including reaffirming its support for Israel and for voter ID laws, opposing universal mail-in voting post-pandemic, and urging the state’s governor to entirely lift the state’s mask mandate and change it to a voluntary mask advisory.

The resolution that garnered the most attention came from state Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk), in response to comments made by state committeewoman Debbie Martell of Ludlow to an openly homosexual Republican Congressional candidate in the central part of the state. Martell told Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, a homosexual Republican running in the Second Congressional District, via email that she was “sickened” that he and his civil-law spouse adopted two children. Her reason:  “Children deserve a mom and a dad. That’s how God designed marriage and the family,” according to email messages provided to The Boston Globe.

For several days after the Globe first reported the story last week, party chairman Jim Lyons refused to condemn Martell’s remarks or call for her to resign from the committee, as some in the party demanded.

Dooley, an ally of Governor Charlie Baker who narrowly lost a bid to replace Lyons as party chairman this past January, was one of 29 GOP state representatives last week who called on Lyons either to call for Martell’s resignation or resign as party chairman himself. Neither has happened. Instead, Lyons last Friday night affirmed Martell’s right to express her Catholic understanding of human sexuality without having to step down from the state committee.

For the quarterly state committee meeting last night, Dooley proposed a resolution affirming the party’s commitment to diversity:


WHEREAS the undersigned members of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee stand unified in support of an inclusive party and celebrate the diversity of its members.

WHEREAS all forms of hatred including racism and bigotry are completely inconsistent with the Republican Party’s platform that states “all Americans stand equal before the law” we proclaim that those putting forth an agenda of hate and intolerance have no place in the Republican Party of Massachusetts.

WHEREAS we recall that the Republican Party was founded in the struggle against hatred, bigotry, and racism and that we affirm, as did the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

WHEREAS the Republican Party subsequently led the fight to assure all human beings have equal standing before the law, promoting instead the foundational idea that each person be judged as an individual on merit and by no other measure; Whereas the struggle to affirm the equal moral status of each individual regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexuality, etc; while maintaining and nourishing our union as a single people, continues to animate the Republican Party today, especially in these times of tension when the Massachusetts GOP needs to come together rather than divide.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Massachusetts Republican Party welcomes each citizen committed to the struggle both for equality among individual human beings and for a more perfect union among all the people in our Commonwealth and our Country

RESOLVED that the Republican Party continues its historical struggle for individual rights and empowerment and rejects intolerance, prejudices — including the policies and promoters of same;

RESOLVED that subscribing the philosophy that a person’s gender, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexuality, etc. should determine one’s standing, rights, opportunities, or duties within our Party or as a citizen of the United States is not consistent with the philosophy of the Massachusetts Republican Party.


Late Wednesday night committee members approved most of the resolution, but tabled the final two paragraphs for the time being. According to the MassGOP twitter account, “The final two paragraphs of the original resolution have been referred to the bylaws committee, in order to ensure unified language.”

It’s not clear when that might happen.

Members of the party who want Martell to resign aren’t happy with the results of the meeting.

MassGOP vice chairman Tom Mountain is among them.

“It went horribly,” Mountain told Politico. “Right now we’re facing our biggest crisis in probably two decades on the state committee, because of the actions of one rogue committeewoman.”

Mountain also said that he thinks Martell is a bad look for the party.

“What she said reinforces every negative stereotype about Republicans, that we’re backwards, we’re intolerant, we don’t accept people of other persuasions,” he told NBC 10 Boston.

Additionally, Dooley told Politico he’ll take what he can get as far as the resolution goes, but said he isn’t fully satisfied with the vote.

“I still feel it is important that we create consequences for people who violate these basic tenets of decency,” Dooley said, referring to Martell.

Several committee members who are backing Lyons expressed satisfaction with the meeting.

State committeeman Dennis Galvin (First Middlesex, Westford) said he was happy the party showed a commitment to free speech — even if he is unhappy with many GOP members of the Massachusetts Legislature.

“Last evening the Massachusetts Republican Party, under extreme pressure from progressives both outside and inside the party, to walk away from the fundamental principle of free speech, chose to reaffirm one of our nations most fundamental and cherished values, freedom of speech,” Galvin told NewBostonPost in an email message. “There were interests within and outside the party that wanted us to throw Deborah Martell to the mob. The party stood strong and with support from both conservatives and liberals, who comprehended the critical issue at stake, a united resolve took shape to reaffirm our desire to be an all-inclusive party, but also affirmed the importance of free speech and due process.   What is extremely disappointing is the reaction of the Republican legislative delegation.  With the exception of state representative Marc Lombardo, they all caved in to pressure and abandoned critical principles displaying a cowardly willingness to sacrifice one a party member for political expedience.  Their conduct under this circumstance was reprehensible and will not be forgotten.”

State committeewoman Caroline Colarusso (Fifth Middlesex, Stoneham) was out-of-state and wasn’t at the meeting. However, she also provided NewBostonPost with her perspective on the Martell situation.

“Stop telling people that if they don’t agree with the LGBTQ community that they are homophobic and haters,” Colarusso wrote in an email message. “This is a false narrative being pushed. Those of us that follow Jesus’s biblical reaching have a right to maintain our deeply held religious beliefs and love our neighbor at the same time.”

State committeewoman Amanda Orlando Kesterson (First Essex & Middlesex, Gloucester) spoke to NewBostonPost about the meeting by telephone on Thursday morning and said that all things considered, the party made some progress in its goal to unite.

“It was the first time we met in-person since before COVID. It was important. I think people respond better and are more conciliatory and compromising in person without the buffer of technology in front of us which tends to aggravate situations,” Orlando said. “We came to some compromises on hardline positions people came into the meeting with.”

“I hope there will be more party unity and that meeting four times in person each year will restore civility and positive constructive discussions. Going into an election year, that unity can be difficult, but that’s when we should be most unified in our goal to defeat Democrats,” she added.

As for why the party didn’t pass the last two paragraphs of the Dooley resolution last night, Kesterson said that the party wants to strike a balance between letting people stand for their principles, protecting free speech, and not attacking fellow Republicans.

“Sometimes it’s lousy to listen to other people’s perspectives, but that’s the conversation:  how much do we censor people out of principle and how much do we defend free speech even when we don’t like it,” Kesterson said.

Kesterson also said she stands by Lyons, saying she thinks he has been unfairly vilified by some people, including members of the Massachusetts legislature.

State committeewoman Kathy Lynch (First Middlesex, Westford) was pleased with the amount of common ground the committee found when it came time to pass resolutions.

“I was very happy to see, last night, that the Massachusetts Republican Party was united around four important resolutions,” Lynch said. “We stood united in our urging of Governor Baker and the legislature to oppose mail-in voting, to support a requirement for proof of citizenship ID at the polls, and to lift the governor’s odious mask mandate in its entirety including for those unvaccinated, children in K-12 schools, transportation, etc. We also stood in unison regarding Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist attacks by Hamas. We can accomplish much together and should keep on this track to grow the Republican Party, be the voice our constituents need, and improve the political situation in Massachusetts.”

Lyons also said he felt the meeting went well.

“Republicans are free to disagree on plenty of things and have plenty of different opinions, but our collective resolve to stand in solidarity behind important issues like election integrity and supporting our nation’s most loyal allies is unmatched,” Lyons said in a press release issued by the party. “There are those that spend so much time trying to sow chaos within the Massachusetts Republican Party, as shown by recent media coverage, but I’m proud tonight to say that Massachusetts Republicans State Committee members found common ground on several positions that matter most.”


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.