The GOP isn't changing its platform from 2016. That sends a clear message to LGBTQ people.
On Wednesday evening, the executive committee of the Republican National Committee voted to scale back its nominating convention and to leave its platform unchanged.
The GOP is keeping the strongly transphobic and homophobic platform it released in 2016.
The president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that represents LGBTQ conservatives, said in a fundraising email in 2016 that he was "mad as hell" about the platform. Gregory Angelo said it was "the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history."
Only 336 delegates will attend the Republican National Convention when it's held on Aug. 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina, instead of the 2,500 originally slated to be there.
The 2016 GOP platform includes planks opposing marriage equality, supporting discrimination against transgender people, and effectively endorsing conversion therapy, although it does not use those actual words.
Five years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality and Donald Trump called it "settled law," Republican leaders are keeping a platform that seeks to undermine the right of same-sex couples to marry.
The 2016 platform refers to "traditional" or "natural" marriage, stating, "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 insists, "Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. ... Every child deserves a married mom and dad."
Dismissing same-sex marriage, same-sex households, and single parents as counter to "American values," the platform explicitly condemns the landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges that extended the constitutional right to marry to same-sex couples.
"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 platform says.
Although the words "conversion therapy" do not appear in the platform, its broad language on parents' rights to control aspects of their children's lives effectively supports the practice: "We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children."
The American Psychiatric Association calls conversion therapy, a process of so-called treatments presumed to result in changes to a person's sexuality or gender, a "harmful and discriminatory practice."
"The American Psychiatric Association does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed, and efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change," the organization said in 2013.
By standing by its 2016 platform, the Republican Party also makes it clear to transgender people that it supports discrimination against them in federally funded education programs and activities. It supports the states that sued the Obama administration in 2016 in response to its guidance for public schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and other facilities corresponding to their gender. The GOP platform says that Democrats are trying to "impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories."
The platform says that transgender equality "has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power." People who oppose discrimination against transgender people, it says, are trying to "reshape" society and schools to "fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions" and calls the Obama-era guidance, which Trump has already rolled back, "dangerous."
The Republican National Committee's decision to keep its 2016 platform comes as hate crimes against LGBTQ people have increased across the United States. The most recent FBI Hate Crime Statistics Report found that the number of hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ community in 2018 rose by nearly 6% over the 2017 figure. Hate crimes against gay men increased by nearly 7%, and hate crimes against transgender people increased 34% over the year before.
The Trump administration continues to propose and finalize rules that would harm the LGBTQ community. These would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people in health care, in homeless shelters, and in employment.
The organization GLAAD has tracked the administration's anti-LGBTQ actions and found a total of 136 attacks on LGBTQ rights to date since Trump took office.
The Republican National Committee published a post on its website Thursday with the headline, "President Trump Has Taken Unprecedented Steps to Protect the LGBTQ community." It cites as evidence mention of LGBTQ rights in his acceptance speech at the nominating convention and his promise to protect LGBTQ people.
But Trump's vague remarks about LGBTQ people in 2016 have to be considered in the context of his actions since he took office; his party's 2016 platform; and the fact that that platform is being revived, unchanged, in 2020.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.