The North Carolina state Republican Party voted on Saturday to formally censure Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) for supporting and backing policies around LGBTQ+ rights, immigration and gun reform that it considered to be insufficiently conservative.
The vote — which took place behind closed doors at the party’s annual convention in Greensboro — comes as Tillis has faced criticism from North Carolina state Republicans for some time now for, to their mind, working too closely with Democrats and signing on to and supporting some Democratic-led bills.
Tillis — who has been in the Senate since 2015 — was a part of the bipartisan group who successfully passed the Respect For Marriage Act last year, which repealed the Defence of Marriage Act and required states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriage.
The senator, who opposed same sex marriage earlier in his career, lobbied Republicans in Congress to vote in favor of the bill. That effort attracted the attention of the North Carolina GOP.
Party delegates also criticized Tillis for demonstrating insufficient support for former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and for supporting a measure that provided funds for red flag laws, allowing state courts to authorize the temporary removal of firearms from people who they believe might pose a danger to themselves or others.
A state party delegate told CNN that Tillis’ support for the same-sex marriage law as well as efforts on the immigration proposal were among the reasons cited by delegates for the censure.
Tillis spokesperson Daniel Keylin defended the senator’s voting record in an email to the Associated Press, listing Tillis’ support for a number of GOP priorities including the Trump tax cut, “introducing legislation to secure the border and end sanctuary cities, delivering desperately-needed funding to strengthen school safety and protecting the rights of churches to worship freely based on their belief in traditional marriage.”