Congressional challenger Richard Tisei skipped Saturday’s state Republican convention in Boston to protest his party’s stance on gay marriage, the 6th District candidate said.
Tisei, who is gay and married, is running against Democrat John Tierney in a closely watched race for the 6th District seat. He lost to Tierney by less than 1 percentage point in a race for the same seat in 2012.
Tisei said his decision to skip the convention originated in an anti-gay marriage platform the Republican State Committee recently voted to endorse.
“I think that the party is taking us in a direction backwards rather than going forward, by including language in the platform that limits people’s freedoms,” he said. “I think there are a lot of people in the Republican Party who feel the way I do.
“The state party should be moving in the direction of adopting platforms that promote freedom,” he added. “I think that would attract a lot of people.”
Tisei said the party doesn’t need to completely reinvent itself, just rediscover its roots in defending freedoms and restraining government reach, Tisei said.
“I’m a Republican,” he said. “My philosophy is the government should get off your back, out of your wallet and out of your bedroom.”
Tisei further illustrated his stance during a speech last weekend at the Northeast Republican Conference in New Hampshire, during which he said his party’s national leadership needs to “promote freedom or risk dying.”
“Millions of young people — wary of big government — should be the next generation of Republican leaders,” Tisei said. “But they’re not. And you know why? It’s because we’ll never be a 21st-century party if our platform is stuck in the 19th century. ...
“The Republican Party needs to promote freedoms in our personal lives, and among other things that means the freedom to marry the person that you love.”