The Republican Party is keeping its 2016 platform for this November’s elections – including its opposition to same-sex marriage and support for ‘gay cures’.
The Republican National Committee has voted to leave the 2016 platform totally unchanged.
That means leaving in condemnation of marriage equality and wording against same-sex families with children. It also retains a section that indicates parents should be able to send their LGBT+ children for dangerous and futile ‘conversion therapy’.
However, both conservatives and moderates are worried about the decision.
Neither faction won the argument
Jerri Ann Henry, is the former executive director of Log Cabin Republicans who resigned last August when the board endorsed Trump for re-election.
She said the National Committee’s decision effectively upholds ‘one of the worst platforms in terms of LGBT issues’.
Instead she had hoped for a simpler, condensed platform. She told Politico she wanted a platform that ‘harkens back to the party’s big principles and not the minute detail of every microscopic policy’.
By contrast, conservatives see the platform as an opportunity to hold the Republicans and Trump to their promises over the next four years.
Unsurprisingly, they vigorously opposed the idea of abridging the platform to leave out commitments against LGBT+ protection, abortion and rights.
Indeed, Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, wanted to update the platform to make more promises to conservatives.
In particular, he wanted it to oppose efforts to defund law enforcement in the light of Black Lives Matter. Moreover, he also wanted the platform to pledge not to allow transgender minors to undergo gender confirmation treatments.
He said: ‘We can’t go into 2020 with the same platform we had in 2016. By limiting the ability to make changes you run the risk of having a stale platform. It will be tone deaf.’
Attacking rainbow families
Of course, some argue that the party’s platform makes little practical difference to the election battle. Few voters will read it and many local battles will be fought on specific local platforms.
But by retaining the 2016 version, the Republicans risk alienating both sides.
As well as containing 35 mentions of abortion, opposing a woman’s right to choose, the platform specifically attacks same-sex families. It says:
‘Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.’
It also goes on to attack the US Supreme Court for legalizing marriage equality. The justices made the decision in the Obergefell v Hodges case in 2015. It says:
‘In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
‘The court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition.’
Moreover, it makes clear the Republican party does not support rainbow families.
The platform says ‘the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman’. And it concludes ‘every child deserves a married mom and dad’.
Backing ‘conversion therapy’ and discrimination
LGBT+ issues are also hinted at elsewhere.
In particular, the platform backs businesses’ turning away LGBT+ customers on the basis of their faith.
It says: ‘We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities.’
Moreover, it also indicates the Republicans oppose banning ‘conversion therapy’ on LGBT+ minors. That is despite the fact that leading medical bodies, including in the US, have condemned the dangerous ‘cures’. The platform says:
‘We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.’
In reality, LGBT+ voters will judge Trump and the Republicans on their record.
Last week, Trump mounted the latest attack on the trans community by erasing health protections.
Meanwhile the administration’s lawyers argued in the Supreme Court against federal protections for LGBT+ employees. Fortunately the justices ruled on Monday that bosses can’t discriminate against their workers or fire them on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.
Furthermore, a report out at the start of the year found Trump’s administration was becoming more anti-LGBT+ as he prepares for re-election.