Former Massachusetts Representative Richard Tisei served 26 years in the Massachusetts legislature. In 2012 he ran for Congress against Rep. John Tierney, and lost. Now he's challenging Tierney again. What sets Tisei apart in Massachusetts is that he's a Republican, and what sets Tisei apart in the Republican Party is that he's openly gay.

Tisei will not attend the Mass. Republican Party's convention on Saturday. Tisei cites the newly-adopted state GOP platform, which does not endorse gay marriage. The platform also specifically condemns abortion. Charlie Baker — candidate for governor in 2014 — has come out in support of both gay marriage and abortion rights.

Richard Tisei joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Boston Public Radio to talk about skipping the 2014 convention.

Questions have been edited and condensed, and Tisei's responses have been edited where noted (...).

Why are you boycotting the convention?

The platform that the Republican state committee adopted ... is a huge step back for the party.

I wouldn't say boycotting, but I'm not going. The reason why I'm not going is because the platform that the Republican state committee adopted I believe is a huge step back for the party, rather than moving the party forward. (...) I feel as though if I go I'm giving tacit approval to that platform, and just don't feel comfortable being there. 

What parts of the platform are you most troubled by?

On the social issues, I think Republicans can agree to disagree. And in the past our platform hasn't really taken a side either way. But the platform that was adopted this time pretty much came out against marriage equality, and also on the abortion issue took more of a pro-life stance.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Massachusetts who want smaller government, they want less taxes, they want to see small businesses succeed. They would agree with the Republican agenda, but on these issues they really drive people away rather than bring people to the party. The only way we're going to move up as a party is, we need a bigger tent, and we need diversity of opinion within the Republican party. I just think the party's making a mistake and, again, taking a step backwards.

So, prior to this the GOP simply hadn't taken a side on some issues?

It was neutral four years ago on that. When the platform was drafted for this convention, obviously they put a stake in the ground, and I just think it's a mistake for the party. As somebody who's gay and married, [who] strongly supports marriage equality, I don't want to give tacit approval to that platform by going to the convention.

So, is Charlie Baker giving tacit approval to the platform? He's pro-gay marriage, pro-choice.

I support Charlie [Baker] 100 percent. He does support marriage equality, he is pro-choice.

I'm running for Congress. I don't need to be nominated by the convention. Charlie does. I support Charlie 100 percent. He does support marriage equality, he is pro-choice. We see eye-to-eye on all these issues. I would like to go to the convention to see him give his acceptance speech. I hope he does really well. (...)

You want to go to Congress, and likelihood is good that leaders of the GOP embrace a similar platform to the Mass. GOP's. How do you reconcile that?

The problem in Washington right now is that people have forgotten why they're there. More people have a love of party than love of country. If I'm lucky enough to become congressman from the Sixth Congressional District, I'm going to represent the people and do what I think is right. I have no problem standing up when issues come up I don't agree with. (...) I have a pretty good track record of standing up and going my own way, when I believe in what I'm doing. In this case, I'm going to be representing the people of the Sixth Congressional District, and not taking marching orders from [House Speaker] John Boehner, [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi, or anybody down there. (...)

>> To hear more of Richard Tisei's BPR interview, listen below.