Inside the Very Anti-LGBTQ GOP Party Platform — From 2016!

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention, in Charlotte
President Donald Trump in Charlotte, North Carolina, on August 24, at the opening of the Republican National Convention.
Reuters/ Chris Carlson for the Press Pool

Are they trying to Keep America Great? Or are they still trying to Make America Great Again?

We know one thing for sure: They’re intending to keep America homophobic and transphobic.

Four years after Donald Trump narrowly eked out an Electoral College victory despite losing the popular vote by nearly three million votes, the Republican Party has opted to push the same platform as 2016 rather than make an attempt to rally new voters around the incumbent president’s re-election bid and vision for a second term.

In fact, in advance of the convention’s opening on Monday, the Republican Party stated that any motion to amend the 2016 platform “will be ruled out of order” and the party will wait to adopt a new platform until 2024.

Therefore, the party led by the man described by Ric Grenell, the out gay former acting director of National Intelligence, as “most pro-gay president in American history,” is explicitly maintaining a platform of bigotry.

Lazy Republicans, unable to cobble together a new agenda, maintain opposition to marriage equality, same-sex adoption, healthcare rights

“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,” the GOP says in its 2016-turned-2020 platform. “We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a ‘judicial Putsch’ — full of ‘silly extravagances’ — that reduced ‘the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.’ 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.”

To that end, the party platform states that Republicans “urge” the “reversal” of the Obergefell ruling “whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”

The anti-LGBTQ themes of the platform do not end there. In line with the president’s actions so far, the party is advocating for the rights of adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex prospective parents. The party is also expressing its support for bigoted business owners who wish to carry out their business — which are public accommodations, to which nondiscrimination laws apply — in accordance with their regressive views on LGBTQ rights, which are claimed to be religiously motivated.

“We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” the party noted in its platform.

Attempts by Republicans to push that bill through Congress have, to date, been unsuccessful.

The lack of changes to the platform since 2016 also means that the re-adopted initiatives are embarrassingly outdated. One portion of the platform says “bureaucrats” and “the current president of the United States” — meaning former President Barack Obama — are trying to “impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redfining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and other categories.”

The Supreme Court, not Obama, wound up making the final determination on that issue. In a lopsided 6-3 vote this past June, the court affirmed that sexual orientation and gender identity are indeed defined as sex discrimination in employment under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court’s majority opinion in that case.

The Trump team that controls this year’s convention did not even have the energy to amend the 2016 document to condemn the president’s Supreme Court appointee on that score.

Vague references in the old platform also appear to invoke conversion therapy and more explicitly stand up for medical providers who refuse to treat LGBTQ patients. The section about “protecting individual conscience in healthcare” states that the party supports the ability of “all organizations” to “provide” healthcare coverage “consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty” and further states that “we support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.”

The party also uses vague language to blast Obama for his leadership of the US military during an era that saw the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which banned gay and lesbian service members from serving openly.

“We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept or continue attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness,” the GOP platform stated. “We believe that our nation is most secure when the president and the administration prioritize readiness, recruitment, and retention rather than using the military to advance a social or political agenda. Military readiness should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.”

By July of the following year, President Trump announced a ban on transgender troops from serving in the military, reversing a policy from the final year of the Obama administration that called for opening up such service opportunities.

The party platform is, unsurprisingly, filled with rhetoric blasting abortion rights and the use of taxpayer dollars to support reproductive health initiatives. Among the goals of the platform include limiting the timeframe under which an individual can receive an abortion and opposing school-based clinics that provide contraception.

And while the platform is outdated, Republicans provided one small update: To express the GOP’s ongoing support of a president who has carried out an extensive anti-LGBTQ agenda during the years since the 2016 platform.

“The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today,” the party said in a resolution regarding its lack of a 2020 party platform.

The Democrats, meanwhile, put forward a fresh, 91-page platform — written this year! — featuring numerous queer rights initiatives such as redirecting efforts to protect LGBTQ people in healthcare settings, boosting funding for people living with HIV/ AIDS, restoring protections for trans students, ensuring government identification documents accurately reflect an individual’s gender identity, addressing violence against Black trans individuals, and more.

The Republican National Convention kicked off at 9 a.m. on August 24 and is slated to conclude on August 27. Expect to see a lot of Donald Trump each night, along with family members. No niece, however, is slated to appear.

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