The Log Cabin Republicans criticized the platform put forward for the Republican National Convention as the “most anti-LGBT … in the Party’s 162-year history” in a Tuesday email.
“Opposition to marriage equality, nonsense about bathrooms, an endorsement of the debunked psychological practice of ‘pray the gay away’ — it’s all in there,” wrote Gregory T. Angelo, president of the nation’s largest gay GOP group, in a message to supporters.
“This isn’t my GOP, and I know it’s not yours either,” said Angelo. “Heck, it’s not even Donald Trump’s! When given a chance to follow the lead of our presumptive presidential nominee and reach out to the LGBT community in the wake of the awful terrorist massacre in Orlando on the gay nightclub Pulse, the Platform Committee said no.”
On Monday and Tuesday, Republican delegates met in Cleveland to discuss updating the official platform for the party, which is debated every four years. Early speculation suggested that the party would soften its stated opposition to LGBT rights.
Rachel Hoff, the party’s first openly LGBT delegate, pushed language that would bring the GOP to the middle. Her proposals would have acknowledged the party’s “diverse and sincerely held views” around equality, championed the “stability of all families” (with the implication that this included same-sex couples with children), and urged “a thoughtful conversation” around same-sex unions.
Republicans voted in language that argued children are served best by a “traditional two-parent household” and that transgender people should not be allowed to use the public bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. The platform states that the Obama administration’s policy supporting trangender students' access to the facilities of their choice is “illegal, ominous and ignores privacy issues.”
The GOP also passed a resolution in support of overturning the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality by appointing judges to the bench “who respect traditional family values” and vote to keep the definition of marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman.
Delegates also tipped their hats toward the support of "ex-gay" conversion therapy “by saying that parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference,” as the Times reported. Use of the practice on minors has been outlawed in several states.
In an interview with Time, Hoff added that the GOP platform was an indication of “just how far this committee is willing to go to avoid a single positive reference to the LGBT community.”
Angelo is nonetheless hopeful about the Republican Party’s progress on equality. Unlike four years ago, the Log Cabin president said, there was an actual debate on the subject. “LGBT issues were being discussed in almost every platform subcommittee,” he told Time. “Even if the votes didn’t necessarily go our way, every Republican on the platform committee is at least now aware that LGBT issues go far beyond marriage.”
It may, however, be another four years — or much longer — before the party heeds Hoff’s words. During debate, she addressed the committee, arguing for the dignity of LGBT people.
“We are your daughters,” Hoff said, brought to tears during an emotional speech. “We are your sons, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues, the couple who sits next to you in church. Freedom means freedom for everyone, including gays and lesbians … and all I ask today is you include me and those like me.”