by Heather Beaudoin
On October 25, I spoke at a press conference to announce the release of a report that shows Republican state legislators are sponsoring death penalty repeal bills at record levels. While this is exciting news, the growing conservative opposition to capital punishment started several years ago, and the change extends far beyond state capitols.
In June 2010, I helped establish a statewide network in Montana called Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty. It was a coalition of conservatives who believed that capital punishment violated our principles of valuing life, fiscal responsibility, and limited government.
Our launch at the Montana GOP Convention was the first time that many Republican activists had been exposed to the numerous reasons why conservatives should rethink the death penalty. We enjoyed a wonderful reception, and the following year, we nearly repealed Montana’s death penalty. One of the bill’s sponsors was a well-known Republican named Roy Brown. At the time, he was one of a super minority of Republicans who sponsored repeal bills in the U.S. That’s quickly changing.
By late 2012, with interest extending far beyond Montana, activists asked that I establish a national Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty (CCATDP). I was excited to help, and in 2013, CCATDP officially launched at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Some of our earliest supporters were conservative icons, including Jay Sekulow, Richard Viguerie, and Dr. Ron Paul. Our network has been growing ever since.
It was once considered unusual for a Republican, like Roy Brown, to sponsor a death penalty repeal bill. Yet, it has become commonplace today. Since our launch, Republicans have been sponsoring legislation to end capital punishment at record rates. In 2013, there were 20 GOP repeal champions, and in 2016 there were 40, accounting for more than 30% of all of the country’s death penalty repeal sponsors.
We created CCATDP in response to Conservatives’ desire to share their views on this life or death issue. In response, CCATDP helped fan the flames of a national discussion that has led to this powerful leadership from the right.
SOURCE: Christian Post