As Republicans gather in Tampa, Florida, for the Republican National Convention this week, it's easy to lump them into the same gun-loving, contraception-hating, freedom-touting bunch. But as GOP delegates prepare to pass what has been called the "most conservative platform" in modern history on Tuesday, it seems fair to point out that there are several Republican lawmakers in this country -- some of whom will be at the convention itself -- who do not agree with several of its controversial planks, but are still standing tall with the party.
The 2012 election cycle has been characterized by an almost obsessive focus on women's reproductive rights, as contraception joined "abortion" in Republicans' list of dirty words. But, amid the chaos, there is still more than one party heavyweight that believes the party's position on women's medical decisions needs to catch up to the modern age.
The former governor of Florida has emerged as the GOP's voice of reason this election cycle, following a presidential primary that appeared to be a contest in who could lean the farthest to the right. During an appearance on NBC'S "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Bush acknowledged that some conservatives' rather extreme rhetoric on some issues relating to women and minorities is understandably repelling those two groups from the Republican Party.
"I'm concerned about it over the long haul for sure. Our demographics are changing and we have to change not necessarily our core beliefs, but how we -- the tone of our message and the message and the intensity of it, for sure," Bush said.
Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts
Brown, currently facing a tough re-election in one of the most liberal states in the country, has stressed his moderate stance on abortion (he acknowledges Roe v. Wade is the law of the land) and gay marriage on the campaign trail. His Republican colleagues have largely stayed silent on Brown's centrist take on social issues, even if he did pen a letter to the RNC last week rejecting its platform draft language on abortion.
"If we are to grow and succeed in all parts of this great nation, we must be a 'big-tent' party," Brown wrote. "There are people of goodwill on both sides of the abortion issue, and we need to send a message to voters that there is room in the Republican Party for differing perspectives."
Auditing the Federal Reserve
Rep. Bob Turner of New York was the only Republican to vote against Rep. Ron Paul's "Audit the Fed" bill, which would allow for increased scrutiny of the agency.
"While I have serious concerns about the Fed's actions during the financial crisis in 2008 and the monetary easing since then, Congress should not attempt to politicize what should be an independent institution," Turner told WNYC in July, explaining his break with the party.
Women in Combat
The RNC platform calls for an end to "social experimentation" by backing the current ban on women serving in direct ground combat units, as the Obama administration moves toward dismantling the policy.
Sen. Scott Brown is one of the most vocal Republican supporters of allowing women to serve in combat, something he has touted in at least one op-ed in recent months.
Mitt Romney himself has previously supported plans to open combat jobs to female service members, saying during a February primary debate that he believes, "women have the capacity to serve in our military in positions of significance and responsibility, as they do throughout our society."
The Republican Party may still operate on a firmly pro-marriage (that is, heterosexual marriage) basis, but -- like the abortion issue -- a growing number of conservatives realize the GOP needs to drop its hardline defense of so-called "traditional" marriage or risk isolating a new generation of voters.
Sen. Scott Brown
The senator has consistently said he believes gay marriage is the settled and accepted law in Massachusetts, and opposes a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.
It's difficult to think of the former vice president as bipartisan on any level, but earlier this year Cheney (whose daughter Mary is gay and married to a woman) took a stand in favor of recognizing same-sex marriage at the state level, saying "I think freedom means freedom for everyone."
Mayor Jerry Sanders
This year, Sanders - the mayor of San Diego, Calif., -- appeared in an advertisement urging the RNC to adopt marriage equality in its platform.
"History is going to judge us and people will say they're the ones who didn't think everybody should be equal," Sanders said in the video.
It should be said that it's hard to determine just how seriously the public should take the RNC platform -- which is completely non-binding -- in the first place. Plus, it's hard to put much faith in a platform that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus himself said should not be interpreted as representing the views of Mitt Romney, who as presidential candidate is the de-facto leader of the Republican Party.
"This is the platform of the Republican Party, not Mitt Romney," Priebus said.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...