The Massachusetts Republican State Committee is looking more like the snake eating its own tail than a leadership body.
The squabbling between conservative and moderate members of the committee came to a boil over the weekend, when some members pushed a proposal to boot Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Republican leaders on Beacon Hill from the party’s Executive Committee – the body that, until now, had decided who to endorse in a Republican primary.
That proposed bylaw change has now been replaced by an amendment to require two-thirds of the entire 80-member State Committee to vote to endorse on those endorsements, rather than just the Executive Committee.
The squabble only grew when Baker and many in the party called on MassGOP Chairman Jim Lyons to oust State Committee member Deborah Martell after she said she was “sickened” by the fact a gay Republican, Congressional candidate Jeffrey Sosa-Paquette, and his husband had adopted children.
Baker called her comments “disgraceful” and all the Republicans in the Massachusetts House except one said Lyons should resign if he was “unprepared or unwilling” to ask Martell to resign, according to State House News Service.
Lyons was mum, initially, so MassGOP vice chair Tom Mountain said, “I told her you must resign, it’s over, goodbye,” according to NBC Boston.
Mountain said what Martell did in circulating emails expressing her disgust at a gay couple adopting children was “immoral. We don’t have any room in the party for such things.”
Mountain said he spoke out because Lyons wouldn’t. Mountain was asked if he talked with Lyons about this. “No. He never returns my calls and I am the vice chair,” he told NBC Boston.
Keeping track of who is calling on whom to resign is almost a full-time job. It’s even more difficult if they don’t return your calls.
So far, Martell’s homophobia wasn’t enough to get her booted. On Monday Lyons said he would neither step down nor call for Martell’s resignation, citing her First Amendment right to free speech.
“I acknowledge that she wrote in a manner that was offensive,” Lyons said in a statement. “However, Massachusetts Republican Party bylaws are clear: freedom of speech and religious liberty are values that are unbending and uncompromising. My hope is that both individuals involved in this controversy can and will unite behind our shared values.”
The question might be whether those involved can even agree on those “shared values.”