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With the Republican Party passing a platform at their convention in Tampa, Fla., last week that explicitly disapproved same-sex unions, the contrast couldn’t be more stark on the issue.

Mr. Wolfson accuses the Republican Party of being on the wrong side of history, carving out a position to the right of former President George W. Bush, who approved civil unions for same-sex partners, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is openly lesbian and who supports full marriage privileges for same-sex couples.

But Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, applauded the GOP for adding the plank and ignoring Republicans who want to shirk social issues and concentrate the party’s focus only on economic policies. Mr. Bush’s and Mr. Cheney’s positions on gay marriage never reflected those of a majority of Republicans, he argues.